What Does a Certified Spanish Interpreter Do?

K. Testa
K. Testa
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A certified Spanish interpreter verbally translates communications in two languages, Spanish and another language, and he or she can usually perform one of two types of interpreting — simultaneous or consecutive. Certified Spanish interpreters have often undergone additional training in order to advance their interpreting skills as well. They might work with individuals or groups, and they might also work in general fields such as international relations, or in specific legal or medical settings.

Spanish interpreter certification typically involves specialized training and an assessment, usually in the form of an exam, to demonstrate one's proficiency. In the U.S., certification is available from a variety of organizations. Certification from the American Translators Association, for example, could help with any general job search; on the other hand, some people pursue particular positions with the U.S. federal, state, and municipal courts, which generally have their own criteria and testing methods. Other credentialing bodies include the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters, for court interpreting, and the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters.

Usually, a certified Spanish interpreter needs to be familiar not just with words, but also with possible variations in meaning and differing contexts. Interpreting Spanish or any other foreign language requires excellent listening and comprehension skills in addition to possessing knowledge of the subject matter in order to help avoid any confusion between the communicating parties. A certified Spanish interpreter should also be able to read someone's body language or other signals that might clarify what the speaker is trying to communicate.

In addition to having general interpreting skills, a certified Spanish interpreter specializing in a particular field might need additional education. For example, legal interpreters need similar skills to those of a court reporter, and those working in a healthcare setting often perform duties related to those of medical transcriptionists. Like other professionals in various fields, a certified Spanish interpreter is normally expected to maintain confidentiality, depending on the situation. Court interpreting, for example, can require working with sensitive information that is not shared outside the job setting. Furthermore, interpreters are also usually obligated to adhere to any relevant ethical codes, which they can normally stay informed about by taking advantage of continuing education opportunities in their particular fields.

A certified Spanish interpreter can often be found working in a geographic area with a large Spanish-speaking population. His or her skills are usually in high demand in hospitals and other medical settings, for instance, along with urban areas and other locations with large immigrant populations. In many places where the demand for interpreting services is steady or increasing, Spanish interpreter jobs are plentiful.

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