Work Tasks

INTERPRETERS interpret what one person has said into a language that others can understand. Simultaneous interpreters interpret a speaker's words into a second language while they are still being spoken. Consecutive interpreters wait until a speaker pauses, then interprets what has been said up to that point. Sign language interpreters interpret the spoken word into sign language for people who cannot hear, and interpret the sign language of the deaf into oral or written language for people who can hear but do not understand sign language. They may interpret television news and other broadcasts for deaf viewers.

Salary, Size & Growth

Entry Requirements

Although not required, most foreign language INTERPRETERS have at least a bachelor's degree. Fluency in another language is essential, and travel abroad is helpful. A bachelor's degree in a language, passing a test, and skill in 3 of the 6 official United Nations languages are minimum requirements to work for the United Nations. Certification is required to interpret at U.S. Courts, the United Nations, and the State Department. Those who want to be a sign language interpreter should complete an interpreter education program given at local agencies, adult education at public schools, and colleges and universities.