An interpreter translates spoken passages of a foreign language into another specified language. The job is often designated by the language interpreted, such as Spanish or Japanese. In addition, many interpreters specialize according to subject matter. For example, medical interpreters have extensive knowledge of and experience in the health care field, while court or judiciary interpreters speak both a second language and the "language" of law. Interpreters for the deaf, also known as sign language interpreters, aid in the communication between people who are unable to hear and those who can.

There are approximately 49,650 interpreters and translators employed in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Community Interpreters, Conference Interpreters, Consecutive Interpreters, Court Interpreters, Escort Interpreters, Guide Interpreters, Interpreters for the Deaf, Judiciary Interpreters, Medical Interpreters, Oral Interpreters, Sign Language Interpreters, Simultaneous Interpreters, Trilingual Interpreters
Duties Translate a conversation into another language
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions, especially major urban centers, such as New York City, as well as overseas in cities such as Geneva and Tokyo
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Master's Degree
School Subjects
  • English
  • Foreign Language
  • Speech
Experience One to five years experience
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Problem-Solving
  • Talkative
  • Foreign Language
  • Interpersonal
  • Public Speaking
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Owner of Interpreter Business
  • Interpreter Supervisor
  • Chief Interpreter
  • Interpreter
  • Interpreter Services Associate