What do Interpreters and Translators Do?
You will interpret sign or oral language or writing. Your responsibilities will consist of interacting directly with clients and third-parties to ensure reliable and accurate communication. The field has a wide range of potential employers and subsequent clients or partners, so personal skills and adaptability will serve you well. Across the nation, job growth is estimated at 46 percent, indicating that the prospects of finding available positions are extremely high.
Interpreters and Translators Skills and Abilities
As an interpreter you will naturally need a mastery of English and the foreign language you translate. This means you will need a comprehensive understanding of each language’s structure, including spelling, grammar and rules of composition. You will also need strong customer and personal service skills. Depending on the position, you may end up being responsible for facilitating government or legal proceedings, so be prepared to learn the necessary rules, regulations and conduct. You will depend on strong written and verbal communication skills to the point that you can inform and entertain across different media.
Interpreters and Translators Duties
Interpreters and translators are responsible for facilitating multilingual communication between parties. The bulk of your work will involve communicating with persons or publics outside of your organization and ensuring that accurate understanding exists between the communicating bodies. More specific duties can be summarized as:
- Compile technical information
- Conduct research
- Confer with clients
- Edit written documents, emails etc.
- Verify accuracy of data
- Train or supervise other translators or interpreters
- Travel with groups who speak another language
- Adapt software or technical documents to another language
- Follow ethical codes and protect confidentiality
- Interpret the meaning of verbal or written information for others
- Continued education to remain up-to-date with changes in relevant technology
- Adapt translation to recipients’ relative cognitive levels
- Address public audiences or work in public forums
- Discuss requirements and additional fees with clients
Interpreters and Translators Tools and Technology
You can expect to spend some time with computers. Typical software that you might see include databases, dictionaries, email, web platform development and foreign language programs. Many translation jobs pertain to art and design, so being comfortable with related software may be required. Aside from computers, you will also need familiarity with voice recorders, radio transmitters and receivers, audio mixing consoles and binoculars.
Education and Training for Interpreters and Translators
Typically you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate language of study. Some positions will be available with less education, but they will often pay less. Most of these positions will hire with no experience and offer on-the-job training, provided you can demonstrate proficiency with the needed language. Regardless of experience, you can expect to be periodically retrained on applicable software.
Interpreters and Translators Salary
Most jobs in this field pay from $20,000 to $80,000 a year. The national median pay is $43,600. While the bottom ten percent will be starting in the $20,000 range, being in the bottom 75 percent sees a sharp increase to $31,800 on average. The top 25 percent bring in $60,400 while the top ten percent often break $80,000. The biggest contributions to the large pay range are education and region.
Interpreters and Translators Jobs by Geography
Unsurprisingly, the regions with the most positions available are California, Texas and New York. The growth rate in these regions is 38 to 49 percent, making the translation and interpretation field excellent for getting hired. The regions with the highest pay are the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. The regions suggest that political positions are likely to pay more.