Interpreter & Translator Career

interpreter-500Interpreters and translators take information from one language and change it into another language so that communication can be shared between different groups of people. Interpreters perform this in spoken or sign language while translators do this work in written works.

If you choose to be an interpreter or translator, you will need to be good at changing concepts from one language to another language so those concepts are understood in a similar way. You may spend time pulling together information and terms into databases so they can be more easily accessed.

Interpreter & Translator Career Snapshot

As an interpreter or translator, you may work in professional, scientific, and technical services; educational services; healthcare and social assistance programs or for the government. You have an opportunity to be self-employed as about 20 percent of translators and interpreters were self-employed in 2014.

Further details on a career as an interpreter and translator are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly pay for interpreters and translators.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Bachelor’s degree while 26% have a Master’s degree.

Interpreter & Translator Education

Most people working in this field have a bachelor’s degree with about one-quarter earning a master’s degree as well. A small percentage can practice with associate’s degrees. Education in multiple languages is a must.

Interpreter & Translator Job Duties

In this country, translators and interpreters must speak, write and read fluently in English and at least one other language. Besides understanding word-for-word translations, you will need to be able to relay the style, tone, mood and message of the original communication. You will need to be able to understand and transmit the original communication clearly and quickly. Some interpreters work in sign language, converting information between one person who can hear and speak to another who cannot.

Interpreter & Translator Salaries

The median pay for translators and interpreters in May 2015 was $44,190 with those making $23,160 at the bottom end of the pay scale and earning $78,520 at the top end of the spectrum (according to data).

Interpreter & Translator Job Outlook

Job growth for this line of work is projected to grow 29 percent from 2014 to 2024, which reflects an increasingly global and diverse U.S. population. Frequently translated languages include French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. If you are a translator or interpreter who can work in Arabic and Middle Eastern languages or in Chinese, Japanese, Hindi or Korean, you may also find a high demand for your services.

Interpreter & Translator Skills & Traits

Interpreter & Translator Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Interpreter & Translators:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Speaking
• Reading Comprehension
• Writing
• Critical Thinking
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Speech Recognition
• Speech Clarity
• Written Comprehension
• Audio mixing consoles
• Headphones
• Microphones
• Desktop/notebook computers
• Radio frequency transmitters or receivers
• Explaining information to others
• Getting information
• Working with the public
• Using relevant knowledge
• Communicating with people

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