What does a Spanish Interpreter do?

Learn all about Spanish Interpreter duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Spanish Interpreter.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

A Spanish interpreter is a professional who translates spoken or written Spanish into another language, and vice versa. They may work in a variety of settings, such as businesses, schools, hospitals, and government agencies.

Spanish Interpreter job duties include:

  • Translating documents from Spanish to English and vice versa
  • Attending conferences, meetings, and court hearings to provide interpretation
  • Conveying messages accurately and clearly
  • Listening carefully to ensure understanding
  • Speaking fluently in both Spanish and English
  • Quickly thinking on your feet to provide spontaneous interpretation
  • Collaborating with other interpreters
  • Keeping up to date on current affairs, industry-specific terminology, and cultural nuances
  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Adhering to ethical standards

Spanish Interpreter Job Requirements

There are no formal education requirements for Spanish interpreters, although most have at least a bachelor's degree. Certification is available from several organizations, although it is not required. Experience is the most important qualification for Spanish interpreters.

Spanish Interpreter Skills

  • Bilingual: Spanish and English
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to listen and comprehend complex information
  • Ability to effectively convey information in both languages
  • Strong research and analytical skills
  • Cultural competence and sensitivity
  • Patience and flexibility
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Time management skills

Related: Top Spanish Interpreter Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Spanish Interpreter

There are many reasons why someone might want to become a Spanish interpreter. Perhaps they have a love for the Spanish language, or maybe they want to help others who speak Spanish as their primary language to communicate better with those who don’t. Regardless of the reason, becoming a Spanish interpreter can be a very rewarding career. Here are a few steps to take if you’re interested in becoming a Spanish interpreter:

1. Get a degree in Spanish or interpretation. While it’s not required that you have a degree to become an interpreter, it will give you a leg up on the competition. If you’re interested in becoming a certified interpreter, most certification programs also require that you have a degree.

2. Become fluent in both Spanish and English. This is probably the most important step to becoming a successful interpreter. You need to be able to understand both languages perfectly in order to accurately interpret what is being said.

3. Take some interpretation classes. While not required, taking some interpretation classes can help you learn more about the profession and hone your skills.

4. Get some experience interpreting. The best way to learn how to interpret is by actually doing it. Try volunteering at local events or community organizations where there is a need for interpretation services.

5. Consider getting certified. While not required, becoming certified can show potential employers that you are serious about your career as an interpreter and that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job well.

Related: Spanish Interpreter Resume Example

Related: Spanish Interpreter Interview Questions (With Example Answers)