What do Interpreters do?
Interpreters understand and translate text or speech into a different language. Often, they work in real time, providing instantaneous translation between parties. They can work in settings such as business, legal, and community.
If you have great communication skills, speak another language fluently and have a passion for helping people, this could be the perfect job for you.
- Excellent language skills with extensive vocabulary
- Good communication and people skills
- Emotional intelligence, resilience, and strong cultural awareness
- Determine the needs of clients
- Provide translations (spoken and written) between parties, using appropriate language for each setting (e.g. courts, hospitals, schools, workplaces and conferences)
- Remain professional and impartial, ensure that clients are satisfied with the outcomes
Interpreter salary (average) $49,718 per year
Job growth as an Interpreter is moderate (source: Joboutlook.gov.au)
Being able to speak, listen and write fluently in your chosen language is very important. For example, if you want to be a Chinese interpreter, you would be expected to be able to speak at a conversational level and confidently read text.
How to become an Interpreter in Australia
If you aren’t fluent in a foreign language, completing a VET or university qualification is a preferred pathway to learn.
Step 1 – Study English and your language of interest at school and get good grades.
Step 2 – Study a relevant degree at university, or get a VET qualification, such as:
- WSU’s Bachelor of Arts (Interpreting and Translation)
- Monash’s Bachelor of Global Studies
- The University of Adelaide’s Bachelor of Languages
- TAFE NSW’s Diploma of Interpreting
- ACU’s Diploma in Languages
Step 3 – Immerse yourself in the culture of your chosen language, either through work experience or by travel, to deepen your understanding of the language and culture.
Step 4 – Become certified through an organisation such as the National Accreditation Authority for Interpreters and Interpreters (NAATI).
Step 5 – Upskill with short courses and continued professional development.
Find out more here –
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to become an Interpreter?
It could take between 4 and 5 years from finishing school to become an Interpreter, if you need to obtain a relevant qualification and learn a language fluently. If you speak more than one language fluently, you could start working sooner. It could still be worth considering completing a qualification; it will look great on job applications.
Where do Interpreters work?
Interpreters can work in-house for a business, as part of the media, in the community, or freelance.
Do I need to go to university to become an Interpreter?
Having a formal qualification can greatly improve your chances of finding work. VET qualifications are often sufficient and could take less time to complete.
Is Interpreter a good career to aim for?
If you have a passion for helping people and love learning different languages, a career as an Interpreter could be ideal for you.