Interpreters and Translators

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Also known as:
American Sign Language Interpreter, Court Interpreter, Deaf Interpreter, Diplomatic Interpreter, Language Translator, Translator

ABOUT INTERPRETER OR TRANSLATOR CAREERS
Video transcript

If you are fluent in more than one language, you might qualify to join an elite workforce. Interpreters and translators are needed for work in business, government, the military, the media, social services, the judicial system, in travel and tourism - anywhere cultures intersect. Simply speaking a second language is not sufficient, however.

Employers in these various fields look first for people with college degrees as foreign language majors. One use for which the need for these professionals is growing rapidly is the interpretation of medical and legal information in hospitals and legal settings, especially in the inner cities with large immigrant populations.

The opportunities can be exciting, with jobs that take you to top-level meetings and exotic destinations. Or you could work at home, translating operating manuals. The need for precision is paramount, as you are the link between those who wish to convey information and those who need to understand it.

A sensitivity to how cultural differences affect communication can help you get the message across and avoid embarrassing glitches for you and your employer.

SNAPSHOT
Interpret oral or sign language, or translate written text from one language into another.
Leadership
LOW
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Educate students, parents, staff, and teachers about the roles and functions of educational interpreters.

Check translations of technical terms and terminology to ensure that they are accurate and remain consistent throughout translation revisions.

Compile terminology and information to be used in translations, including technical terms such as those for legal or medical material.

Identify and resolve conflicts related to the meanings of words, concepts, practices, or behaviors.

Refer to reference materials, such as dictionaries, lexicons, encyclopedias, and computerized terminology banks, as needed to ensure translation accuracy.

Listen to speakers' statements to determine meanings and to prepare translations, using electronic listening systems as necessary.

Follow ethical codes that protect the confidentiality of information.

Translate messages simultaneously or consecutively into specified languages, orally or by using hand signs, maintaining message content, context, and style as much as possible.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Foreign Language Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
TOP SKILLS
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Learning Strategies Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.