What does an Interpreter do?

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

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

An interpreter is a person who translates spoken or sign language into another language.

Interpreter job duties include:

  • Confer with clients to obtain and provide information
  • Convert spoken or written messages from one language to another
  • Listen to, understand, and interpret speech or other communication in order to facilitate communication between parties
  • Read aloud or translate written material such as books, magazines, newspapers, letters, documents, and contracts
  • Translate concepts in the source language into equivalent concepts in the target language
  • Explain nuances and differences between the languages which may affect the message being conveyed
  • Edit, rewrite, or interpret spoken or written material in order to improve clarity or accuracy
  • Research legal, medical, or technical terminology to find the most appropriate translation
  • Stay up-to-date on developments in their field by attending conferences, reading professional journals, and taking continuing education courses

Interpreter Job Requirements

An interpreter is a person who translates spoken or sign language into another language. There are different types of interpreters, including those who interpret for the deaf, those who interpret for people who speak different languages, and those who interpret for people with disabilities. To become an interpreter, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. You will also need to complete a training program and pass a certification exam. Some states require interpreters to be licensed. In addition to these requirements, interpreters should have excellent communication skills and be able to work in a fast-paced environment.

Interpreter Skills

  • Bilingual
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Note-taking
  • Memory
  • Concentration
  • Focus
  • Patience
  • Flexibility
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Empathy

Related: Top Interpreter Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an Interpreter

An interpreter is a person who translates spoken or written words into another language. They may work in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, courtrooms, or businesses.

To become an interpreter, you will need to have fluency in at least two languages. It is also helpful to have a degree in interpretation, linguistics, or a related field. Many interpreters also have certification from professional organizations.

Interpreters must be able to listen carefully and accurately translate what is being said. They must also be able to speak clearly and concisely in both languages. In some cases, interpreters may also need to provide written translations of documents.

Interpreting can be demanding work, as it requires split-second decisions and constant concentration. But it can also be very rewarding, as you help people communicate and connect with each other.

Related: Interpreter Resume Example

Related: Interpreter Interview Questions (With Example Answers)