Career outlook for interpreter
Average UK salary
Currently employed in Scotland
What's it like?
You would be helping people who do not speak the same language to understand each other. You would translate each person’s spoken words from one language to another. You could also be helping deaf and hearing people to communicate through British Sign Language (BSL) by translating spoken statements into sign language and vice versa.
You’d need to listen very carefully so you can translate accurately. You’d need to concentrate and speak or sign clearly.
There are three main types of interpreting:
- Conference / simultaneous
- Consecutive / business
- Public service / liaison
In conference interpreting you would:
- Work at national and international conferences, lectures and meetings
- Listen to speeches through headphones in a soundproofed booth
- Pass on the interpreted version through people’s headsets
If there are only one or two people who don’t understand the speakers’ language, you would whisper the interpretation to them without the use of equipment.
In consecutive interpreting you would work at small meetings with two or more people. You would interpret after each sentence or passage of speech.
In public service interpreting you would interpret for people using legal, health and local government services. After translating each sentence you’d check that they have understood.
You need to have knowledge of the field in which you are working, for example politics, economics, or trade. You’d also need to understand how native speakers use informal terms and slang.
In addition to face-to-face services, a fast-growing area of interpreting is to use telephone, video or the internet.
UK employment status
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- Positive attitude
- Verbal communication
- Attention to detail
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