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Whether specializing in Espagnol, Afrikaans, or American Sign Language, interpreters play a key role in cross-linguistic communication.
There are two types of interpreters: simultaneous (who translation while a person speaks) and consecutive (who translate only after a person has completed one or more sentences). Regardless of the mode, your basic task is to convert a spoken phrase from one language to another. However, it’s more than a direct word-for-word swap. Interpreters must also express each sentence’s full meaning, explaining cultural references, slang, and other expressions can’t be translated literally.
Interpreters work in a wide variety of fields—including the medical, legal, political, scientific, and entertainment industries. You could assist patients as a healthcare interpreter, fly around the globe to facilitate multi-lingual business meetings, sign the lines of a play for deaf audiences, or translate between government officials of different countries.
Why the job outlook is good:
The job prospects for interpreters are expected to increase by 22 percent through 2018—a rate that is far faster than average. This jump in demand is mainly due to the growth of global business partnerships and the increase of US citizens who speak English as a second language.
What training you need:
For this job, you need to be fluent in both English and another language. A Bachelor’s degree is often a requirement, and some organizations expect a Master’s degree in interpretation or translation studies. However, if you have the right language skills, many organizations will provide on-the-job training.
Show me the money!
The US Bureau Labor of Statistics puts the average salary of an interpreter between $29,000 and $52,000.
Annie Favreau works for Inside Jobs, a career exploration site that helps people discover and pursue a career that excites them. Check out the website for more information about interpreters or join in the conversation on Twitter.