An interpreter is a person who converts communication from one language to another. However, translation is only the simplest aspect of the job. Interpreters help individuals, businesses, institutions, and governments navigate unfamiliar cultural landscapes. It is a job that can take you places and offer experiences like no other.
Imagine you want to setup a branch office in a new geography. You don’t speak the local lingo, and none of the locals speak a word of English. This is where you need a little help. An interpreter acts as your cultural map, GPS, and satnav system. This is a person (not a computer program) who guides you with what to do and say, and more importantly, what not to. Speed and clarity are important requirements of the job. The interpreter translates the information your clients give into a form that you can understand. This includes their gestures, mannerisms, body language, and all forms of non-verbal communication. Interpreters certainly function as translators, but they do so much more. An interpreter’s function is not merely to convey words, but ideas.
To work as an interpreter one requires native level proficiency in both speaking and writing, in at least two languages. This includes high familiarity with the idioms, proverbs, and slangs of both. Nobody reaches this proficiency level by simply attending language school. It comes only with the prolonged experience of living inside a culture. Expect to be asked for language skill certifications if you want to work for a government agency or a large corporation. In most cases you will need to have at least a generic bachelor’s level qualification. Interpreters can be asked to act as spokespersons, and are expected to be well-versed in all forms of digital communication. They must be well-groomed, possess pleasing personalities, and have exceptional vocabularies.
Most commonly interpreters are employed by businesses. The job comes with high responsibility. Being at the center of business negotiations in packed meeting rooms can be both daunting and rewarding. It is also common for interpreters to work with hospitals, educational institutions, and NGOs. Translation and interpretation services are needed wherever an international community congregates. Such settings include conference venues, hotels, multiple tourism sectors, healthcare, law, academia, research, diplomacy, and international platforms such as the UN. Interpretation companies offer full-time employment to skilled professionals, and hire them out on a contract basis.
Finally, there are a multitude of freelance assignments available for interpreters. Unfortunately, most of these jobs have less to do with interpretation, and more to do with translation. You may find remote work writing subtitles and captions. Clients often need to translate medical or legal documents, eBooks, research papers, reports, and the like. Courts may hire qualified freelance interpreters as and when required.
Interpretation is a high growth field. Rising globalization and international travel is driving demand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, interpreter jobs are expected to grow at 19%, while the average growth rate for occupations is merely 5 percent. No prior experience or formal qualification is usually required to start working as an interpreter. The median pay is close to $25 per hour, or $52,000 per year. However, this figure can vary widely with region of employment, type of employer, and the languages involved. Globally the demand-supply gap in some languages is much larger than others. Professionally qualified and experienced interpreters can regularly earn in excess of $52 per hour.
Business interpreters have access to much privileged information and documentation, and are bound by NDAs. They can expect a good deal of all-expenses-paid travel, and a lifestyle to match. After all, interpreters act more or less as ambassadors for their employers. During your international travels an interpreter you’ll need access to local currency as much as your ninja-level language skills. Ria Money Transfer is a great choice for all your forex needs, as well as to send overseas remittances to your loved ones back home.
About the author:
Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.