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How to become an Interpreter

Interpreters understand and translate speech into a different language. Often they work in real time, providing instantaneous translation between parties. They can work in a huge variety of settings such as business, government, the arts, legal, and in the community. The difference between and an Interpreter and a Translator is that Interpreters work with spoken language, while Translators decipher written text.

If you have great communication skills, speak another language fluently, and have a passion for helping people, this could be the perfect job for you.

If you have these skills, you could make a great Interpreter

  • Excellent language skills
  • Great communicator
  • Friendly and approachable
  • Emotionally intelligent
  • Resilient and adaptable
  • Strong cultural awareness
  • Good understanding of body language

What tasks can I expect to do?

  • Work with clients to determine their needs
  • Provide verbal translations between parties
  • Determine appropriate language for each setting
  • Remain professional and impartial throughout communications
  • Ensure that clients are satisfied with the outcomes

Where do Interpreters work?

Depending on the kind of work you’re doing, you might work both indoors and outdoors. You might be working in an office environment, researching in museums or galleries, travelling with diplomats and government, or following camera crews to provide live translations on television and radio.

What kind of lifestyle can I expect as an Interpreter?

You will likely need work flexible hours as an Interpreter, as your services may be needed any time, including on weekends and holidays. Depending on your role, you might even have the opportunity for travel.

Most Interpreters can expect to earn an average salary throughout their career.

An important part of this job is getting along with people from all walks of life – which also means sometimes facilitating difficult conversations while remaining impartial and unemotional. But you’ll also help people’s voices be heard and make a positive difference too.

How to become an Interpreter

Even if you are already fluent in a foreign language, completing a qualification is often preferred by employers and clients.

Step 1 – Finish high school, focusing on English and your language of interest.

Step 2 – Obtain a relevant university or vocational qualification in interpreting, languages, or arts.

Step 3 – Immerse yourself in the culture of your chosen language, either through work experience or by travel, to deepen your understanding of the language and culture.

Step 4 – Become certified through an accreditation organisation or authority.

Step 5 – Upskill with short courses and continued professional development.

Find out more here:

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