How Do I Become a Personal Interpreter?

Nick Mann
Nick Mann
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A personal interpreter translates spoken language for a client. Some individuals are employed by companies, while others work as freelancers and are self-employed. To become a personal interpreter, it's important to receive the proper training and be completely fluent in at least two languages. Following five guidelines should help most individuals to become a personal interpreter and find job placement. These include gaining an understanding of reading and writing multiple languages, earning at least a bachelor's degree, getting certified, undergoing an internship program and finding a mentor.

Gaining a thorough understanding of reading and writing in multiple languages is perhaps the most important guideline for prospective personal interpreters. No matter how extensive an education a person has, nothing can substitute for having a complete comprehension of the languages he plans on using. Ideally, a personal interpreter will grow up bilingual. If not, he needs to take the time to master two or more languages before attempting to become a personal interpreter.

Another important part of breaking into this career is getting at least a bachelor's degree. Majoring in either a foreign language or translation studies are both viable options. While it's not always necessary to have a bachelor's degree, it tends to be quite helpful for establishing credibility and finding job placement. If an individual wants to open even more doors and potentially earn more income, getting a master's degree is another option.

Getting certified is also strongly recommended to become a personal interpreter. While this isn't a necessity either, it looks great on a resume and can make it easier to find clients when freelancing. To obtain certification, an individual can take an exam from the Translators and Interpreters Guild on the languages of interest.

Another way to get into this industry is by undergoing an internship program. These types of programs are generally geared toward college students, and can help a person gain insight into personal interpretation while gaining firsthand experience. Basically, these programs allow students to learn and receive advice from professionals who have been working as interpreters for years. Some internship programs also offer monetary compensation, which is a plus.

In addition, it's often beneficial to find a mentor before looking to become a personal interpreter. This is especially recommended for a person who plans on becoming a freelance interpreter. Not only will a mentor demonstrate the duties of this position, he can also demonstrate other parts of the profession, like finding clients, marketing and money management.

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