How Do I Choose the Best Interpreter Courses?

D. Nelson

To choose the best interpreter courses, you first should determine which kind of interpretation you would like to study. While it often is assumed that interpretation simply is the act of translating one language into another, there actually are different contexts in which interpreters can work. A medical interpreter, for example, might have responsibilities that are very different from those of a military or government interpreter. Some other factors to consider when it comes to choosing the best interpreter courses are the potential to earn certification, qualifications, cost, and ease of access.

Foreign language books can help you prepare for your interpreter class.
Foreign language books can help you prepare for your interpreter class.

If you are interested in becoming a medical interpreter, then the best interpreter courses might be those offered by an academic institution. These classes often are open to any individual who communicates with patients in a medical context. Receptionists, medical technicians, and nurses commonly take medical interpreter courses to better serve patients who do not speak a native language. In some cases, certification earned by taking these courses can enable individuals to become professional medical interpreters.

Some interpreter courses are designed for individuals who would like to work for a government or military. Aside from learning a language, individuals in these courses also are expected to pick up on the meanings of various intonations and multiple significances of words. Individuals who take these kinds of courses and earn certification might, for example, assist a military in interpreting conversations held by enemy combatants.

If you are interested in becoming a professional interpreter, it can be important that you take interpreter courses that allow you the potential to earn certification. These courses often are recognized by official organizations, such as the American Translators Association (ATA) in the United States. For medical interpreter courses, it might be best to investigate offerings of local universities with medical or nursing programs.

In most cases, individuals must pass proficiency exams prior to enrolling in interpreter courses. If you feel that you are not proficient enough in a language or if you fail an exam, you might benefit from further preparation. Language classes, online tutorials, and foreign language software and books can be helpful tools for preparing for the right interpreter course.

For many people, cost and ease of access are important factors. Research enrollment fees prior to signing up for an interpreter course so that you financially are prepared to take classes. You also may want to choose courses that are near your home or place of work. In some instances, online courses, which can be accessed from any location where there is reliable Internet service, might be available.

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