Question by Spider in the Salt: How do you become an Interpreter?
Just wondering what might be the nessecary credentials you would need to become an Interpreter? What university programs should you be in, as well, which languages are a) needed to translate officially b) more readibly needed. What are the job opportunities? Is it hard to work for the UN, or other government organisations?
Just curious because I’ve always wanted to explore the career option, and half way through college seems like a good enough time to figure it out lol
Answer by Frauke
Do you really like talking to people? Do you enjoy conversation? Would you feel comfortable not interfering into matter, no matter how much you would like to say something yourself? Do you like studying and learning and looking things up? Do you have presentation skills?
If you answer yes to all these questions,
-read an introduction to interpreting, whatever your library has. Realise it is going to be a long time until you will be able to do simultaneous.
-keep trying to improve you native language, keep looking for new words. Whenever something is mentioned that you are not completely sure what it is, look it up. Repeat. expand your vocabulary.
-learn a foreign language, I do not think it matters which one. If you really want to become an interpreter, you have to be extremely ambitious anyway. you have to become one of the best there are, otherwise you do not earn enough money. In my opinion, even the tiniest languages need interpreters. If you really can chose anything, consider Chinese. Large demand and a lot harder simultaneously because there is less resemblance.
Whichever language, go live in a country where it is spoken for at least two years. try to work there as well.
If you want to know more about the demand where you are, contact a professional interpreter organisation. they should not be hard to find. it also depends what work you would like to do. do you want to do public service interpreting? then maybe spanish, working for immigration might be a good idea, depending on where you want to live. do you want to do business liaison interpreting? Maybe Japanese? it depends. find inspiration in the book on interpreting you read.
-read the news in both languages every day
-do not smoke (smelly interpreters are bad interpreters and non-smokers often find smokers smelly)
-do not have a criminal record
-if you can afford it, do an Interpreting MA. For example in Bath, UK or in Queensland, AUS or in California.. or wherever your language combination is available.
As about job opportunities, you either work in-house or freelance. most people specialise on a subject area (law, medical..)
And of course it is hard to work for the UN. Only the best make it there, and most of them have years of experience. But it is a good place to want to go. You are aware it means you have to understand more than most of the speakers at the UN in order to interpret what they are saying? Background knowledge is the key, otherwise you screw up.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!