What are the Different Interpreter Jobs?

Darlene Goodman

The increase in global communications has also increased the demand for language interpretation. There are several areas where a multilingual person can find interpreter jobs. Governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations around the world are looking for skilled interpreters to help in a variety of ways. Interpreter jobs usually involve interpreting spoken words rather than translating a written language.

Sign language interpreters translate spoken language into sign language for the deaf or hearing impaired.
Sign language interpreters translate spoken language into sign language for the deaf or hearing impaired.

Interpreters are often needed at conferences, especially those where there are a large number of attendees from different countries. Conference interpreters are usually required to perform their jobs in large group settings where they sit in sound proof booths and interpret the speaker's words into microphones. The signal is then broadcast to the audience members via headsets. Interpreters who are fluent in more than two languages often have an advantage in securing conference interpreter jobs.

Another job for a language interpreter is as a guide or escort. This type of interpreter accompanies visitors during their stay in a foreign country, helping them to navigate business and personal interactions. The guide will either meet the visitors when they arrive, or accompany the travelers from their home country. These interpreter jobs may require willingness to travel and put in long hours, sometimes for weeks at a time.

Other common interpreter jobs can be found in professional fields such as law and medicine. Legal interpreters may be called on to interpret legal proceedings in venues ranging from full courtroom settings to attorney-client meetings. Medical interpreters interpret for patients and healthcare professionals in hospitals, pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities. Legal and medical interpreters should have a grasp in both languages of the technical terminology of their respective fields.

Sign language interpreter jobs require a hearing individual to interpret spoken language into sign language for the deaf or hard of hearing. Each country has a standard sign language. American Sign Language (ASL) is the standard in the United States. Fluency in the regional sign language is as important for being a sign language interpreter as it is in spoken interpreter jobs.

There are two main ways that interpreters do their job. First, they may be required to use simultaneous interpretation which involves listening and speaking in two or more languages simultaneously. Second, they may have to use consecutive interpretation where they wait to give the interpretation until the speaker pauses between phrases or sentences. Simultaneous interpretation is most often used in large group settings like conferences, while consecutive interpretation is useful in small groups or one on one communication.

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