What does an Interpreter do?

Interpreters convert material from one or many languages to another, usually their native language. They may specialize in various fields including literature, science, or medicine and ensure the translated versions stay close with the original text. Interpreters convert concepts in source languages to equivalent concepts in the target language and compile information and technical terms into glossaries and terminology databases used in their translations.

Interpreters speak, read, and write fluently in at least two languages, one of which is usually English, and relay the style and tone of the original language. Interpreters convert information from one spoken language into another, intending to have people hear the interpretation as if it were the original language. They must read the original language fluently to translate it into a new language. Interpreters need a bachelor's degree in communication and fluency in two languages.

What responsibilities are common for Interpreter jobs?
  • Provide full level interpretation services for patients, families, associates and staff.
  • Mentor junior interpreters during pre-arranged training sessions with focus on helping them to becoming linguistically and culturally responsive.
  • Assist small groups when needed (spelling, reading math, etc.).
  • Provide interpreting services in consecutive interpretation and sight translations.
What are the typical qualifications for Interpreter jobs?
  • Bachelor's Degree in education or American Sign Language.
  • Solid language skills, including mastery of English and foreign languages and/or American Sign Language.
  • Requires good manual dexterity.
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.5 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.1 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

Interpreter Salaries

Average Base Pay

£36,571 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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£23K
Median: £37K
£59K
See More Insights
Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Interpreter Career Path

Learn how to become an Interpreter, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

L1
Interpreter I
£36,571/yr
L2
Interpreter
£36,571/yr
L3
Interpreter III
£35,897/yr
L2

Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
33%
2 - 4
13%
5 - 7
3%
8+
51%
Not including years spent in education and/or training
See Career Path

Interpreter Insights

Read what Interpreter professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
US ArmyUS Army
Cryptologic Linguist
1 Jun 2020

“Obviously the insurance and educational benefits are some of the best reasons to take a job with the DOD”

LanguageLine SolutionsLanguageLine Solutions
Interpreter
25 Nov 2021

“Good place to start your career localization industry and switch jobs after year or preferably less.”

Cyracom InternationalCyracom International
Interpreter
14 Jul 2020

“Good thing to show on your resume if you want language to be part of your career and personal development.”

Suffolk County Community CollegeSuffolk County Community College
Bilingual Assistant
13 Aug 2020

“I have experienced racial profiling which is unfortunate but not representative of the school as a whole.”

AA Global Language ServicesAA Global Language Services
Interpreter
5 Jan 2022

“Not much work (at least for my pair of languages) although during interview I was told otherwise.”

LanguageLine SolutionsLanguageLine Solutions
Spanish Interpreter
6 Mar 2022

“This is a great company that gives you the opportunity to lean as much as you want to learn.”

Cyracom InternationalCyracom International
Spanish Interpreter
10 Aug 2020

“Not best place to have career... best to just work and earn enough money to pay bills until you can find something better!”

Cyracom InternationalCyracom International
Interpreter
12 Jul 2021

“You know he's giving clients a great deal and a little above minimum wage is all he can pay his employees.”

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Interpreter Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of interpreters

In a typical day, interpreters translate spoken words from one language to another while preserving as much of the original meaning as possible and remaining unbiased. An interpreter may specialize in a field like medicine or law. Interpreters work in settings like courtrooms, offices, and schools.

Yes, interpreting is a great career for strong communicators who are fluent in several languages. The profession requires creativity, concentration, and an understanding of the cultural norms entwined in the spoken languages. One of the best parts of working as an interpreter is the potential opportunity to travel for work.

There are some difficult aspects to being an interpreter. They need to switch between spoken languages while remaining unbiased and nonreactive to the content of the conversation. Listening and interpreting require concentration and a good memory. Becoming an interpreter means shouldering the responsibility for accurately portraying what each party is saying, which requires focus.

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Interpreter jobs