Monday, December 22, 2008

Interpreters and What They Do

The job of interpreter is a necessity in today's world. There are so many different languages being spoken today than ever before in countries like the U.S. that make this a must. The interpreter should be able to speak at least two languages well, preferably more. The native language should be one, which is called the active language and the secondary language is called the passive language.

The language that is being interpreted is the source language and it is translated to the target language. In addition to just translating the words the interpreter will also get the ideas and theories behind the words across. The interpreter is often mistaken for a translator and they are similar but not the same.

A translator is someone who translates written material. An interpreter uses the spoken word to convert to a different language. There are also sign language interpreters who convey the spoken word to those who are unable to hear. Attention to detail is very important for this job because one missed communication and the word could be changed entirely. Memory is an asset that is extremely important to the interpreter.

The job as an interpreter begins before arriving at the place where they will be performing their job. The subject that will be discussed has to be researched and understood clearly before starting to interpret. The interpreter normally goes to the location where they will be needed. There are also some instances when the interpretation can be done over the telephone.

Because there are two different types of interpretation, telephone jobs are not very common. The first type requires the interpreters to be able to hear the speaker and sign at the same time. This is called simultaneous interpretation. The interpreter will begin to speak before the person they are interpreting finishes. This type of job is usually done by a team because of the need to concentrate so intensely.

Simultaneous interpretation is often used in courts. The use of notes is often used. This is one way of keeping up with everything that is going on and they must have a note keeping system that is short but legible to them. Some interpreters work at conferences. This type of work is one of the types available at international conferences that have no English speaking people.

The interpreters that are hired for professional work are usually able to translate from two passive languages to one active language. The typical interpreter must be able to translate from Spanish and French to English. The high ranking positions, for example, at the United Nations require interpreters to be able to do this.

Education for Interpreters

Because the knowledge of two languages is a vital part of the job, people who grew up in households that spoke two languages have a bit of an edge over those who must learn the languages. The high school student can prepare for a career as an interpreter by taking foreign language classes in school. Also helpful are computer classes and writing and comprehension classes.

Some employers require a bachelor's degree for this position. There are classes available for this type of work. Many colleges and universities teach foreign languages. The interpreters that work in specialized professions usually have a master’s degree. Others that work for court systems or other places in the community may just have taken classes on their own.

One of the most important parts of training for an interpreter position is the experience. The different companies that hire for this position normally only hire people who have had 3 to 5 years of experience. If they have a degree in translation this is another plus for the prospective interpreter.

What Are the Earnings of Interpreters?

For those who are salaried, the interpreters can earn $17.10 or more hourly. The mid-wage level is between $12.94 and $22.60. The lowest percentile earned only $9.88 or less while the highest earned more than $30.91. As with most jobs, the earnings depend upon the area of the country in which you live.

Another consideration is the level of expertise. The type of work the interpreter does is another consideration. Naturally working for an international company is going to pay more than a smaller job at a hospital or within the community. The more languages that the interpreter can speak will increase salary as well. The high demand conference interpreters can easily earn six figures a year.

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