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Interpreter or Translator

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Life As an Interpreter or Translator

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

What Do Interpreters and Translators Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Read written materials, such as legal documents, scientific works, or news reports, and rewrite material into specified languages.
  • Train and supervise other translators or interpreters.
  • Travel with or guide tourists who speak another language.
  • Adapt translations to students' cognitive and grade levels, collaborating with educational team members as necessary.
  • Discuss translation requirements with clients and determine any fees to be charged for services provided.
  • Refer to reference materials, such as dictionaries, lexicons, encyclopedias, and computerized terminology banks, as needed to ensure translation accuracy.

What an Interpreter or Translator Should Know

Interpreters and Translators state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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.

Other Interpreter or Translator Job Titles

  • Superior Court Interpreter-Spanish/English
  • Russian Language Interpreter and Translator
  • Hourly Sign Language Interpreter
  • Diplomatic Interpreter/Translator
  • Staff Interpreter

Are There Job Opportunities for Interpreters and Translators?

In the United States, there were 68,200 jobs for Interpreter or Translator in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 17.7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 12,100 new jobs for Interpreter or Translator by 2026. The BLS estimates 7,800 yearly job openings in this field.

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The states with the most job growth for Interpreter or Translator are Colorado, Utah, and Idaho. Watch out if you plan on working in Wyoming, Montana, or Delaware. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Interpreter or Translator Salary

The typical yearly salary for Interpreters and Translators is somewhere between $27,230 and $90,610.

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Interpreters and Translators who work in District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Interpreters and Translators in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $40,510
Alaska $52,990
Arizona $46,100
Arkansas $34,260
California $58,180
Colorado $70,050
Connecticut $47,560
Delaware $53,860
District of Columbia $93,730
Florida $49,300
Georgia $55,670
Hawaii $45,580
Idaho $37,650
Illinois $46,320
Indiana $41,700
Iowa $37,840
Kansas $40,190
Kentucky $49,690
Louisiana $40,440
Maine $63,210
Maryland $70,530
Massachusetts $55,600
Michigan $41,450
Minnesota $52,730
Mississippi $52,110
Missouri $62,610
Montana $37,910
Nebraska $43,760
Nevada $52,150
New Hampshire $49,970
New Jersey $74,750
New Mexico $58,700
New York $68,940
North Carolina $59,310
North Dakota $35,250
Ohio $58,380
Oklahoma $35,240
Oregon $50,090
Pennsylvania $50,100
Rhode Island $50,380
South Carolina $44,950
South Dakota $37,650
Tennessee $43,550
Texas $58,650
Utah $43,830
Vermont $46,270
Virginia $70,770
Washington $48,560
West Virginia $38,590
Wisconsin $50,750
Wyoming $48,750

What Tools & Technology do Interpreters and Translators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Interpreters and Translators:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Hypertext markup language HTML
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Extensible HyperText Markup Language XHTML
  • Voice over internet protocol VoiP system software

Becoming an Interpreter or Translator

Are there Interpreters and Translators education requirements?

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How Long Does it Take to Become an Interpreter or Translator?

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Where Interpreters and Translators Work

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Below are examples of industries where Interpreters and Translators work:

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References:

Image Credit: Susana Freixeiro via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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