If you know another language and like the idea of helping people communicate with each other, then a career as an interpreter or translator may be perfect for you. As an interpreter or translator, you'll help break down communication barriers. Translators are responsible for taking written material in one language and transforming it into another language in written form. Interpreters, on the other hand, convert information from one spoken language into another.

If you're interested in using your language skills, you may find a position where you are required to both translate and interpret. However, in many positions, you will work exclusively with either written or spoken language. To succeed as a translator or interpreter, some of the skills you'll need include in-depth cultural knowledge, excellent research and analytical ability, and good attention to detail. Interpreters who work with the spoken word also need to be adaptable and able to think on their feet.

Most translators and interpreters have at least a Bachelor's degree. However, the most important requirement to work in this field is to have advanced language skills in at least two languages.

What Does an Interpreter And Translator Do

There are certain skills that many interpreter and translators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed business skills, concentration and cultural sensitivity.

Learn more about what an Interpreter And Translator does

How To Become an Interpreter And Translator

If you're interested in becoming an interpreter and translator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 55.1% of interpreter and translators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 14.6% of interpreter and translators have master's degrees. Even though most interpreter and translators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become an Interpreter And Translator

Interpreter And Translator Career Paths

Average Salary for an Interpreter And Translator

Interpreter And Translators in America make an average salary of $43,870 per year or $21 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $70,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $27,000 per year.
Average Interpreter And Translator Salary
$43,870 Yearly
$21.09 hourly

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Roles and Types of Interpreter And Translator

The role of an interpreter and translator includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general interpreter and translator responsibilities:

  • Chinese mandarin linguist will conduct open source research
  • To gather information on trends, behaviors, events
  • General dynamics mission systems (gdms), a market leader

There are several types of interpreter and translator, including:

Interpreter

Role:

An interpreter works with words or signs and translates between two parties who do not speak each other's language. Interpreters often work at conferences or events, in educational or healthcare institutions, or in a courtroom or government setting. Most of their work is translating verbal communication in real-time, but sometimes they translate texts and documents as well. They assist clients on missions or act as a liaison between two parties foreign to each other.

Professional interpreters usually speak more than three languages. Performing real-time interpretations is an extremely demanding task, so language professionals usually team up and work, rotating each other in 20-minute shifts, in order to avoid a breakdown.
  • Average Salary: $42,008
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Translator

Role:

Whether your dream is to land freelance gigs from your neighborhood or coffee shop, or you enjoy doing regular work for an employer or agency, pursuing a career as a translator may help you land that dream job. Generally speaking, a translator is a person who converts the written word from one language to another, retaining the meanings possibly clear. Usually, translators convert text from the source language into the target native language.

Being a translator is one of the most exciting and prevalent roles on a large scale. A career as a translator brings you an opportunity to build a bridge between the entities of two different cultural backgrounds and languages. Not only that, but a career as a translator brings you plenty of excellent opportunities for career progression.

Translation is a highly meritocratic field, which means there are no fixed career structures nor artificial barriers to promotion, and so if you've got the talent and drive to succeed - the sky is the limit. In addition to this, being a translator offers you versatile and varied work options, high wages, multicultural experience, flexible schedules, and quick career progression.

Becoming a translator, you don't necessarily need a degree - if you've no relevant qualifications but a proven record of excellent language skills, you may still be able to gain translation work. However, getting a bachelor's degree or equivalent certification in specific languages may help boost your resume. To be successful in this role, you must have a keen eye for detail, excellent proofreading skills, and be fluent in at least two languages in addition to your native language.

Familiarity with translation tools and additional certification in linguistics is a big plus. Depending on the setting and type of your assignment, you may have variable working schedules. For in-house jobs, typically, you'll work for full-time office hours. If you work as a freelancer remotely, your hours can be flexible, but you might need to organize your time to meet fixed deadlines. Part-time work or short-term contracts are available too.

Another outstanding benefit of being a translator is that it provides a remarkable opportunity for those who want to work independently or enjoy operating independently. Being a translator, you may take freelance or agency work that offers a chance to build a stable career that isn't reliant on the whims of supervisors or vagaries of the job market.

You may also start your career working as an in-house translator for a translation agency, company, industrial organization, local or international bodies. Whatever the work setting, translators are always in-demand over the globe and earn a competitive salary. While working in a company or organization, generally, you get an average yearly salary of $43,000.

Freelance work may also grant you a handsome amount along with bonuses. Further, with an enthusiasm for learning multiple languages and a willingness to build a strong professional career, you may transform your profession into a fully established company.

  • Average Salary: $44,278
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Medical Interpreter

Role:

Medical interpreters are tasked with providing accurate translations for healthcare providers and patients. They help to bridge the gap between a doctor and a patient, serving as the communication link when needed. They also endeavor to create a warm and positive environment so that patients can feel relaxed. Medical interpreters earn a median sum of $43,000 annually or $21 per hour. Medical interpreters are professionals with the expertise and passion for participating in continued training to stay on top of new medical information.

They also help with patient follow-up as necessary, contacting them to remind them of appointment times, and may accompany the patients on office visits. Medical interpreters mostly earn a four-year degree in a foreign language with a concentration in interpreting studies or specialized medical interpretation courses. They are required to hold a certification or licensure in interpretation or translation and are, of course, expected to be fluent in at least a foreign language.
  • Average Salary: $43,593
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Interpreter And Translator Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active interpreter and translator jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where interpreter and translators earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Interpreter And Translator Jobs By State

Interpreter And Translator Education

Interpreter And Translator Majors

21.5 %
16.3 %

Interpreter And Translator Degrees

Bachelors

55.1 %

Masters

14.6 %

Associate

13.1 %

Top Colleges for Interpreter And Translators

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

$50,420

Enrollment

7,582

Admissions
Most Popular Majors
Education
Business
Law
Political Science
Computer Science

2. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

$13,226

Enrollment

31,568

Admissions
Most Popular Majors
Business
Economics
Psychology
Political Science
Education

3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

$8,987

Enrollment

18,946

Admissions
Most Popular Majors
Business
Communication
Psychology
Computer Science
Political Science

4. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

$14,184

Enrollment

30,845

Admissions
Most Popular Majors
Business
Economics
Computer Science
Political Science
Law

5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

$55,584

Enrollment

10,764

Admissions
Most Popular Majors
Education
Business
Law
Linguistics
Political Science

6. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

$51,354

Enrollment

7,083

Admissions
Most Popular Majors
Computer Science
Business
Education
Law
Linguistics

7. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition

$54,104

Enrollment

7,089

Admissions
Most Popular Majors
Law
Business
Political Science
Linguistics
Liberal Arts

8. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition

$14,760

Enrollment

31,451

Admissions
Most Popular Majors
Education
Business
Computer Science
Psychology
Linguistics

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

$54,568

Enrollment

8,451

Admissions
Most Popular Majors
Business
Law
Communication
Psychology
Education

10. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition

$10,610

Enrollment

40,329

Admissions
Most Popular Majors
Business
Accounting
Psychology
Political Science
Law

Top Skills For an Interpreter And Translator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.6% of interpreter and translators listed transcription on their resume, but soft skills such as business skills and concentration are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Interpreter And Translator Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Interpreter And Translator templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Interpreter And Translator resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Interpreter And Translator Demographics

Interpreter And Translator Gender Distribution

Male
Male
52%
Female
Female
48%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among interpreter and translators, 48.2% of them are women, while 51.8% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among interpreter and translators is White, which makes up 39.3% of all interpreter and translators.

  • The most common foreign language among interpreter and translators is Spanish at 29.8%.

Online Courses For Interpreter And Translator That You May Like

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1. International Organizations for Interpreters

coursera

This course is primarily aimed at students of conference interpreting, or people who wish to begin studying conference interpreting. It is based on a long-standing lecture course given by the oldest interpreting school in the world, the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting at the University of Geneva. Our course looks at organizations from a viewpoint which very few people ever get to see; international organizations seen from the interpreting booth. You will learn about the history,...

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2. Translation in Practice

coursera

This course offers you basic but valuable techniques used by a good translator in the translation between English and Chinese. We’ll discuss what is translation, what is good translation, and learn about how to produce good translations. All the examples used in this course are taken from the course instructor's own translations of various genres and topics of writing. These examples are elaborated on to show you how to understand the idea, style and tone of the writer, the historical and...

See More on Coursera

3. Machine Translation

coursera

Welcome to the CLICS-Machine Translation MOOC This MOOC explains the basic principles of machine translation. Machine translation is the task of translating from one natural language to another natural language. Therefore, these algorithms can help people communicate in different languages. Such algorithms are used in common applications, from Google Translate to apps on your mobile device. After taking this course you will be able to understand the main difficulties of translating natural...

See More on Coursera
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Best States For an Interpreter And Translator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an interpreter and translator. The best states for people in this position are Virginia, Oregon, California, and New York. Interpreter and translators make the most in Virginia with an average salary of $59,372. Whereas in Oregon and California, they would average $57,896 and $57,117, respectively. While interpreter and translators would only make an average of $57,104 in New York, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Interpreter And Translator Jobs: 39
Highest 10% Earn:
$131,000
Location Quotient:
3.75

2. Oregon

Total Interpreter And Translator Jobs: 322
Highest 10% Earn:
$97,000
Location Quotient:
12.54

3. Virginia

Total Interpreter And Translator Jobs: 94
Highest 10% Earn:
$99,000
Location Quotient:
1.61
Full List Of Best States For Interpreter And Translators

How Do Interpreter And Translator Rate Their Jobs?

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Top Interpreter And Translator Employers

Most Common Employers For Interpreter And Translator

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Google$109,690$52.7444
2Titan$74,982$36.0585
3U.S. Department of State$74,827$35.9727
4United Nations$62,284$29.9432
5TransPerfect$58,233$28.0034
6Translation$55,757$26.8155
7Language Svc Corps$55,114$26.5023
8Independent Contractor$54,888$26.3919
9Geneva Worldwide$53,789$25.8646
10United States Marine Corps$51,859$24.9321

Interpreter And Translator Videos

Becoming an Interpreter And Translator FAQs

Can You Be Both A Translator And An Interpreter?

Yes, you can be both a translator and an interpreter. However, these are separate roles with very different skill sets.

People in roles as both translators and interpreters spend their lives converting words in one language into words in another language. However, it is not very common to find individuals who provide both translation and interpretation services. This is because these are roles that are not as interchangeable as a person might initially think.

How Long Does It Take To Become An Interpreter?

It takes at least four years to become an interpreter. However, many companies seek to hire a person who is already fluent in any language they are interpreting, so the time it takes to become an interpreter is largely dependent on their own language skills.

How Much Do Interpreters And Translators Make?

Interpreters and translators make about $51,000 in a year. However, the best paid 25% generally make over $71,000 in a year, while the lowest-paid 25% only make around $38,000 per year.

The highest-paid roles in translation services are for literary translators. Literary translators earn an average of $51,000 a year. This is most likely because literature is considered the most challenging content to rewrite in a different language.

What Is The Difference Between An Interpreter And A Translator?

The difference between an interpreter and a translator is the method they are using. These are separate roles with very different skill sets.

People in both roles as translators and interpreters spend their lives converting words in one language into words in another language. However, it is not very common to find individuals who provide both translation and interpretation services. This is because these are roles that are not as interchangeable as a person might initially think.

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