A Beginner's Guide To Become an Interpreter

The world of language interpretation and translation is a vast and exciting one. It can be a full-time career that allows you to travel all over the world and work in a variety of environments. Interpreters are an integral part of everyone's life and most of us have acted as an interpreter with our friends or family in a situation where we found ourselves communicating with a person who doesn't share our same native language. 

It can also be a very rewarding job in terms of money, quality of life, flexibility and the satisfaction of helping and connecting people utilizing pure human skills. The novelty of being able to communicate in two languages may be extremely satisfying.

Become an Interpreter: A career that is on-demand!

Interpreter career

Now, everyone, including small companies, is aiming high, and ideas are becoming more global and travel-oriented. As a result, businesses are growing worldwide and attracting new consumers by bridging cross-border limitations. Interpretation services are more than needed to support businesses and organizations in expanding and successfully communicating their aims and goals during meetings. 

If you're interested in working as a remote interpreter but don't know how to get started, this is a wonderful place to start!

Who are interpreters?

Interpretation is a service that happens at the moment and Interpreters also referred to as translators, provide a voice for those who don’t share their language.

To put it simply, An interpreter is a person specially trained to convert oral messages from one language to another. It is delivered live, simultaneous to or immediately after the original speech, without help from scripts, dictionaries, or other reference materials. Professional interpreters need to transpose source language within context, preserving its original meaning but rephrasing idioms, colloquialisms and other culturally specific references in ways that can be understood by target audiences.

An interpreter's only resources are experience, a good memory and quick reflexes. Interpreting services could involve different environments that push interpreters to step out of their comfort zones, like international business conferences and meetings, medical appointments, legal proceedings, live TV coverage and sign language for media.

We at OUispeak believe a great interpretation is like a chef's recipe book: It comes across as effortless because he knows what belongs in his recipes and what doesn’t! 

We're proud we can count on our team of top language enthusiasts and interpreters who we think of as the finest chefs in their field! Head to: How to Become an Interpreter?

Why Become an Interpreter?

Why interpretation job

Interpreters play a very important role in society and the world. They help people communicate with one another and allow people to express themselves freely by eliminating linguistic barriers. 

Starting a career as an interpreter can be a very rewarding and fun profession and a great way to earn a living and work in a diverse and exciting field. If you are interested in languages and cultures and want to learn more about the world, becoming an interpreter might be a great choice for you. 

It is a job that helps people communicate and better understand each other and also allows people to express themselves freely by eliminating the linguistic barriers. This profession has been through so many years since history and the demand for the job seems to grow exponentially throughout the years. But what makes interpretation an ideal job for many people?

One of the most important factors in the demand for the job is globalization. As countries are learning to collaborate with others, there seems to be a need for people who are proficient in other languages to make sure everyone is communicating well with each other. This is where interpretation services come in!

What are the requirements to work in the interpretation industry?

Is there a specific profile of a typical interpreter? Well, the answer is no, and there is no one way to become an interpreter either. There are, however, some common threads that run through all interpreters: a strong passion and love for the language and country they work in, a love for the language they are working in, and an open mind. The very traits that make a consummate interpreter also make them good friends and colleagues. Interpreters are often the first point of contact for people visiting a new country. Their job is to facilitate communication and understanding, and they do it without the help of a dictionary or a grammar book!

As an interpreter, you're deploying your skills in two arenas at the very same time. It's important to be able to follow both speech patterns and div language effectively because if you're not able to communicate then it could lead to miscommunication. Make sure that you're always on your A-game for these two purposes. 

What are interpreting skills?

skills to become an Interpreter

A lot of people want to know what it takes to become a professional Interpreter. It is a career path that is highly sought after, and there are a lot of skills that you will need to attain a career as a professional Interpreter. 

If you want to be a successful Interpreter, you must first learn the skills that are required to be one. Here are the skills that you will need to become an Interpreter:

Listening skills:

Being able to listen to your customers is very important when you're interpreting for remote workers. If you're able to listen to them, then you'll be able to have a complete understanding of their needs. Your customer service skills will benefit by being able to listen to your customers, which will help you provide better service to your customers.

Excellent communication skills: 

In the target language(s). This requirement includes clear diction, voice projection, and discourse structuring.

An interpreter should be able to speak just as well, and preferably better, than a native speaker. Superior grammatical knowledge and the ability to interpret idioms, nuance and metaphors in conversation is essential to effective communication 

Excellent memory and note-taking skills

Interpreters need to develop their skills in gathering and organizing information from several different sources at once and be able to concentrate and pay close attention to all of them at the same time. Dealing with different personalities and situations is also important. However, the ability to speak both languages fluently and without an accent is the most important trait any interpreter can have.

Troubleshooting and attention to detail are also essential because it's the responsibility of the interpreter to make sure the message is delivered correctly and completely.

Culture aspects:

culture aspects of career

Interpreters should take into consideration the cultural aspects of the language they are interpreting. Cultural aspects are the behaviours, beliefs, values, and action systems that are commonly practised within a given group or place. These aspects can range from the way people greet each other to how they dress. Knowing these aspects will help to convey the message of the speaker to others.

For example, one word in English may have a completely different meaning than another word in Italian, French, or Chinese. It is vital to understand the cultural aspects of various languages. Many nonverbal cues are used to convey different meanings in different languages. For example, hand gestures are very important in Japanese and Italian culture, and they can be overlooked if the interpreter doesn't know what they mean. One of the most important aspects of being an interpreter is the ability to read nonverbal cues.

Speciality Knowledge: 

There is a wide range of industries and situations in which it is desired to know several languages. If you are not familiar with the terminology used in any particular industry, you will find it hard to provide services that meet the client's expectations. For this reason, it is important to be familiar with the specific industry you want to work for even if you are an expert in multilingual communication. Researching the terminology of the industry and studying the culture will help you get a head start on both of these things.

What are the main challenges?

Interpreting is a big responsibility built on the concept that an interpreter should be able to manage every circumstance in a discussion, negotiation, presentation, dispute, and so on. 

You have to understand two different cultures, two different languages, two different mindsets. And then, you have to understand the nuances of different situations. 

Interpreting gear you should have:

Interpreter gear

Interpretation equipment comes in many shapes and sizes to suit the needs of the user. Small microphones with receivers are used often at small conferences with two or three interpreters. For larger events requiring multiple interpreters, it may be necessary to use a booth where they can stand together at their workstation with all of their materials close immediately at hand. Specialized equipment is needed if you plan on using teleconferencing for your conference as well as other large gatherings that require multilingual simultaneous interpretation.

How to start your career as a remote Interpreter? 

You are not alone in your desire to work as an interpreter. Many people, like you, are interested in working in the profession of interpreting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this sector is predicted to expand at a pace of 24% from 2020 to 2030, which is significantly faster than the average for all occupations.

This is considerably quicker than the average rate for other professions! If you're just getting started, you might be wondering how to get started.

Education and formal training: 

There is no particular degree in something to start a career in remote interpreting. However, if you plan on working in government, for example, you will most likely be asked to provide some kind of certificate, preferably a formal training program. Many students choose to major in their language, while others specialize in communication or business administration. Some postsecondary schools offer formal programs that prepare prospective interpreters with the skills required on the job.

Acquire experience:

To expand your interpretation career, try gaining experience in the field through workshopping during your free time. Aspiring interpreters can also contact local opportunities such as hospitals, non-profit organizations and companies to participate in real-world projects and gain a wider perspective on how things work.

There are also courses on language interpreting online that will help you on your journey to becoming an interpreter. These courses can be taken at any time and they are relatively inexpensive. The courses must be accredited because it will make it easier for you to find a job in this profession down the line.

Pursue formal interpreter training:

Interpretation training & education

Many postsecondary schools offer formal training for aspiring interpreters. These programs often offer certification programs or even an associate degree specifically designed to prepare interpreters with the skills they will need on the job.

Professional organizations offer interpreters training, access to jobs and networking opportunities with other professionals in the field. Some professional organizations include:

Certification programs:

Acquiring a certification can also help you to demonstrate your proficiency with languages and interpreting. Both the government and state departments offer a series of tests that can verify your competency. The American Translator's Association or Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters offers examinations or certifications. While the tests may not always result in a certification, they still verify to employers that you have significant skills.

Tips to be a great interpreter: 

What does it take to be a good interpreter?

Interpreting is a challenging, multicultural career with a high degree of responsibility that is designed to support individuals, organizations, and the community. In addition to being a very stressful job most of the time, it can also put you in a variety of challenging situations that few people have to handle. 

To be a good interpreter, you must be able to separate yourself from situations where emotions are running high, and the only way to do that is to have a strong grasp of your native language. It's also important for interpreters to have a firm understanding of the culture they're interpreting for, which is why it's a good idea to immerse yourself in this culture. You can go to their religious, social, and cultural events to get a better understanding of the people you might be interpreting for

It is also critical for interpreters to have excellent computer literacy abilities so they can use technology to prepare for difficult assignments ahead of time. Taking on translation projects that interest them or localizing information into their language might help an interpreter develop their abilities.

Finding jobs:

In the United States, the demand for interpreters is growing faster than the supply of qualified people. The number of jobs has increased from 18,000 to 27,000 in just a decade.

There are many different ways to find jobs in this niche industry but finding interpreting jobs can be difficult because of the lack of job ads. Unlike other remote jobs where you can find them on famous sites like LinkedIn or Indeed, remote interpretation requires a different set of skills and usually doesn't generate enough job ads.

The best way to list out the names and contact information of all the interpreting companies you know so you can easily refer them to prospective employers if they need an interpreter.

Find interpreter jobs

You can also peruse job listings on remotely-focused sites like Remote.co and RemoteOK.com.

For remote interpreting jobs, networking is your ticket to success. It's important to make friends with other interpreters you might meet at conferences or events, as they will likely have many connections on their side. After you've gotten to know people in the industry (and after they've gotten to know you), it's important to make a concerted effort to network with other professionals. 

It is generally easier to find paid work through personal connections, and networking is worth the time and effort. One good way to do this is by getting involved in translation-related organizations such as ATA (American Translators Association) or other interpreting associations where you can meet face-to-face with others who have the same interests as you have.

Another way is to follow the traditional method that we use when applying for a job application to find work as an interpreter:

  • Use keyword searches on Google for 'interpreters' or 'translation' to find companies that interest you.

  • Make a list of firms that offer interpretation services that you are interested in.

  • Make a list of all the interpreting firms you know, including their names and contact information, so you can easily reach out to them. 

  • Create a resume. 

  • Make sure your portfolio is ready.


We are so excited to help you on your journey to becoming a professional interpreter. 

We love to hear from our readers and always want to ensure we provide you with all the support you need to be successful.

To contact the OUispeak, please send us an e-mail

Learn more about the OUispeak community of interpreters.