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Interpreter Career

Career Description

Interpreter Career

Interpreters help in communicating ideas from one person to another. Interpreters differ from translators in that they work with spoken languages while translators work with the written word. Interpreters may interpret for two people who do not understand each other’s language and interpreters qualified accordingly also facilitate users of sign language. An interpreter career demands a lot of responsibility since the interpreter not only has to convey words but also the tone and intent of the speaker to the ‘listener’. Unlike translation, interpretation requires instant understanding and processing of the information since they have to communicate it to their client in real time.
Interpreters are qualified to work in a number of organizations and even with private clients, especially people touring to foreign lands where a language other than the ones they understand is spoken.

Earnings and Job Outlook

In May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interpreters earned a median salary of $43,300. The same source determines that jobs in this field are expected to grow by 42% (2010-2020). This is faster than average growth showing a promising future for people planning on pursuing this career.
Work Profile
Interpreters may work in a number of work settings, including, but not limited to:

  • Schools;
  • Humanitarian organizations;
  • Courts; and
  • Conference committees.

Due to the nature of their job, interpreters may also choose to work independently by offering individual services to different clients. This means that a professional with an interpreter career will often have a different schedule every working day.

Educational Requirements

People interested in a career in interpretation should at least have a bachelor’s degree and an excellent command over the languages that they interpret between. Various universities may even offer bachelor’s degrees online. Despite earlier speculations, employment opportunities in interpretation are not limited if a student has a degree from an accredited online degree. Moreover, to gain further competency in interpretation, interested candidates may also enroll in language classes online which helps them brush up their interpretation skills while they continue with their work. Some organizations that employ interpreters may also require that the employee clears a competency test in the languages he/she will be working with.


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