What Does an Interpreter Do?
Interpreters typically work for courtrooms, global corporations, schools, government agencies and hospitals, but they may also be self-employed. They use their expert knowledge of one or more languages to oversee effective communication between two or more individuals. Their job is to listen to spoken statements from one individual before processing that statement and translating it as accurately as possible to the other person(s) present. They may also provide comfort and familiarity to those from other countries who have a little-to-no understanding of the native language.
Interpreter Skills and Qualifications
An Interpreter should have a variety of skills and qualifications including:
- Communication: Successful Interpreters will have a variety of skills and qualifications. Most important in this role is the ability to communicate across cultures in a variety of media. Communicating clearly in both written and verbal capacities is an important part of interpreting.
- Fluency: An interpreter must have native-level proficiency in a minimum of two languages.
- Technological proficiency: Familiarity with digital communication avenues, including live chat, email and text.
- Sufficient education: A bachelor’s degree in a second language or linguistics is often a minimum requirement for this position.
- Clarity: The ability to clearly relay ideas across cultures is integral to the role because phrasing can be interpreted differently between languages.
Interpreter Salary Expectations
The average Interpreter salary is $20.70 per hour. Higher rates are standard with more technical positions and government jobs. Hourly rates may also depend on the scope of requirements for a specific position.
Interpreter Education and Training Requirements
A bachelor’s degree is encouraged for anyone interested in becoming an Interpreter, but native-level language proficiency in at least two languages is sometimes an acceptable prerequisite. Fluency in written and verbal communication is also important in this role because communication in both areas is integral to the position. Federal and state positions require certification from a university or other accredited institution.
Interpreter Experience Requirements
Typical work experience requirements for the Interpreter role include previous positions involving verbal and written translations of business correspondence. Work history that includes email communication, explaining policies and regulations and business-specific jargon related to a company’s interests is often desired by employers.
Internships and volunteer positions with documented use of translation services in the desired industry are also recommended if other work history is not adequate.
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