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Interpreters and Translators Career

Career Description

Interpret oral or sign language, or translate written text from one language into another.

What Job Titles Interpreters and Translators Might Have

  • Interpreter
  • Medical Interpreter
  • Sign Language Interpreter
  • Translator

What Interpreters and Translators Do

  • 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.
  • Listen to speakers' statements to determine meanings and to prepare translations, using electronic listening systems as necessary.
  • Compile terminology and information to be used in translations, including technical terms such as those for legal or medical material.
  • Read written materials, such as legal documents, scientific works, or news reports, and rewrite material into specified languages.
  • Identify and resolve conflicts related to the meanings of words, concepts, practices, or behaviors.
  • Check translations of technical terms and terminology to ensure that they are accurate and remain consistent throughout translation revisions.
  • Refer to reference materials, such as dictionaries, lexicons, encyclopedias, and computerized terminology banks, as needed to ensure translation accuracy.
  • Train and supervise other translators or interpreters.
  • Educate students, parents, staff, and teachers about the roles and functions of educational interpreters.
  • Compile information on content and context of information to be translated and on intended audience.
  • Proofread, edit, and revise translated materials.
  • Check original texts or confer with authors to ensure that translations retain the content, meaning, and feeling of the original material.
  • Discuss translation requirements with clients and determine any fees to be charged for services provided.
  • Adapt translations to students' cognitive and grade levels, collaborating with educational team members as necessary.
  • Adapt software and accompanying technical documents to another language and culture.

What Interpreters and Translators Should Be Good At

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

What Interpreters and Translators Should Be Interested In

  • Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

What Interpreters and Translators Need to Learn

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Median Salary: $46,120

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.