If you're fluent in English and another language, you may be interested in how to become an interpreter. This is a rewarding career where you'll get to meet new people every day and facilitate connections between them. It requires specialist skills and training, as you'll need to think quickly, be aware of cultural and linguistic differences, and work to make sure that everyone understands what is being said in both languages.
There are different types of professional interpretation, which usually fall into these three categories:
In conference interpreting, you'll be working at big conferences, meetings, and lectures, providing instant translations as you sit in a booth and are connected via microphone to the speakers. All attendees will have earphones so that you all always know what is being said at any one time.
If you've ever had a dream of working in the UN as an interpreter, this is probably a great line of work for you!
In consecutive interpreting, you'll be sitting in on business meetings with a few people - probably no more than three or four. After each sentence, you'll provide a translation, then keep listening and translating as the meeting goes on. You may do this in person, or be asked to join a video or conference call.
Public Service Interpreting
In public service interpreting, you might be assisting your local government, providing your services to people accessing healthcare, legal services or public information. You'll listen to the person speaking a foreign language, translate what they want to say, and then translate the answer back into the area's official language, all while checking to ensure that everyone understands what is going on.
Starting Your Career as an Interpreter
In order to become an interpreter, whether you're working at a private agency or as a public servant, you'll need to prove your fluency in both English and another language. You can do this by earning a degree in the foreign language of your choice, receiving a professional and internationally-recognised certification, or gaining valuable work experience in the country where the language is spoken.
If you're interested in how to become an interpreter, you can start now by taking classes. You'll also need a clear speaking voice, good concentration, knowledge of the field in which you will be providing interpretation services, and a big dose of confidence.
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