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Careers for Interpreters and Translators

Have you considered a career as an interpreter or translator, but are not sure if either field would be an agreeable one for you? Alternatively, are you one of many people who often assume that an interpreter and a translator are one in the same? Let us confer their distinct qualities as well as describe some specific careers in each field.

First, both an interpreter and a translator convert one "source" language to another "target" language. This is done throughout our global societies. In addition, for both an interpreter and a translator, several skills are required. They both require much more than simply translating words from one language to another language. On the contrary, both careers require translating concepts or ideas. Next, they each require a strong comprehension of the subject matter by the translator.

Furthermore, both an interpreter and a translator need to be perceptive to the cultures of the two languages involved.

Further, an interpreter and a translator require fluency in at least two languages. Some professions may require fluency in three languages. The first language is called their "active" or "native" language, and the second is called their "passive" language. Their job is to interpret their passive language into their active language; the one they know best.

When looking at the differences between and interpreter and a translator, it becomes apparent that an interpreter converts one "spoken" language to another "spoken" language. In doing so, the interpreter must use excellent analytical skills to present the subject matter from one culture to another culture. A thorough comprehension of the subject matter is required, thus prior research is often needed by the interpreter.

In addition, there are two types of interpretation. "Simultaneous Interpretation" requires a high level of concentration as the interpreter will express a sentence while the speaker is still talking. It is often used in court systems as well as at international conferences. At simultaneous interpretation events, interpreters will often work in pairs for periods of 30 minutes.

"Consecutive Interpretation" is used in person-to-person communication. The interpreter will sometimes take notes. He or she will speak after the speaker has said several words or sentences.

On the other end, a translator will transfer "written" material from one language to another. Outstanding writing skills, strong analytical ability, and fine editing skills are required of a translator. As stated before, a translator does not simply change each word in one language to another language. The practice requires the translator to perform several steps. First, he/she must read the text in its entirety. Next, unknown words must be looked up and understood in the writing’s context. More research may be required if the subject matter is unclear to the translator. When writing to a specific audience, the translator is also required to keep cultural references in mind. In addition, a translator will do several revisions before they have the final text completed.

As described individually below, Interpreters and Translators work in an array of areas such as business, social service and entertainment.

Conference Interpreter: A Conference Interpreter will work at conferences where there are non-English speaking people of multiple languages. It is often preferred that they are able to translate two "passive" languages into one "active" language. For example, they might be required to interpret French and Spanish into English.

Guide Interpreter: A Guide Interpreter will escort foreign visitors in the United States, or they will escorts United States visitors abroad. They often work in pairs in 30-minute intervals. This often involves travel, which is likely to be an advantage to someone in this field.

Judiciary Interpreter or Translator: Each of these people will work in court for non-English speaking people. They must not only be familiar with the languages, but also the United States judicial system and the judicial systems in other countries. It is essential that they remain indifferent so not to modify the content. They may also have to translate written documents and read aloud.

Literary Translator: A Literary Translator will work closely with an author to reproduce their work in another language. The focus is on reproducing the deliberate meanings of the work. They translate literature such as poetry, books, short stories, and journal articles from one language to another.

Localization Translators: A Localization Translator will completely adapt a product for use in a different language and culture, such as software, internet sites, and manufacturing. The objective is for the product to appear as though it was originated in the country where it will be sold. Knowledge of the target audience, a strong computer background, and a firm grasp of the languages to be translated are essential.

Sign Language Interpreter: A Sign Language Interpreter must be fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). They will communicate between deaf or hard of hearing people, and people who can hear. Just like foreign language interpreting, sign language interpreting requires more than replacing a spoken word with a sign. Ideas to be conveyed as well as the cultures involved, are important components in sign language interpretation.

Salary Rate for Interpreters and Translators

There is a broad variation in salary scale for an interpreter or translator. It becomes obvious that the greater demand for a specific language, the higher the earnings become. Along with language, subject matter, experience, education, employer, all play a role in determining salary. In 2008, information from the Occupational Employment Statistics reveal that the middle income earned by interpreters and translators ranged from ,940 to ,240. In addition, statistics from the National Employer Matrix tell us that the average employment growth for an interpreter or translator will grow at a rate of 22% between 2008 and 2018.

There are some downsides to having a career in these fields. One of the negative factors to having a career as an Interpreter or Translator is that the professions can be grueling and stressful. In addition, you are often working under a deadline. If you decide to freelance, you will have to manage your own finances, which could lead to a slow paying process by your clients.

Despite the drawbacks and stresses of a career in translation or interpreting, there are some major advantages as well. For example, you have the ability to control your schedule and your workload. There is a low rate of work related injuries. In addition, there is a variety of concentrations in these fields. Flexibility is also a positive factor, if you are looking for time to pursue some other interests.

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