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How Do I Become an Army Interpreter?

By Jennifer Leigh
Updated May 17, 2024
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Army interpreters are in high demand because of the skills and knowledge that they can offer the military. In many countries, you can become an army interpreter either by joining the army or working as a civilian. This job can potentially lead to a career as an interpreter in government agencies, educational institutions, and organizations that work abroad. Specific requirements vary depending on where you live, but generally include knowledge of a foreign language and army training.

If you are proficient in more than one language, you are one step ahead in your goal to become an army interpreter, though it is also possible to become an army interpreter without this knowledge. You can utilize your language skills by passing a test that shows that you are fluent in multiple languages. There are many possible combinations of languages that are in demand within the army, as the army collects information and intelligence from all over the world.

In many places, an individual who is not fluent in multiple languages can take a test to show that he or she has the aptitude to learn languages. This requires you to learn languages relatively quickly compared to the rest of the population. If you have had success learning languages in the past or feel that being an army interpreter is something you would enjoy, you can attempt to get a good score on the exam to prove it. Individuals living in most countries have to go through this process to become an army interpreter.

It is generally necessary to obtain army training in order to become an army interpreter, but the exact type of training varies depending on the country where you live. In the US, for example, becoming an army interpreter involves attending basic combat training for soldiers before attending advanced individual training in language and culture. Other aspects of training might include understanding cultural differences, contract negotiations, and how to provide medical support.

After working as an interpreter for the army, many people go on to have careers in the private sector. Due to the advanced level of training that most armies provide, there are a lot of jobs available for individuals with these skills. Government agencies often hire individuals who have worked as an army interpreter because of the security clearance that being an interpreter for the army provides, which means that you can handle classified information.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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