USA Career Guide -Translator and Interpreter

Education of an Interpreter and Translator in USA

  • Fluency in English and any other foreign language
  • Bachelor’s degree in at least one language
  • High school students should pursue language courses and concentrate on computer efficiency, writing and reading comprehension, and pursue interest in other subjects if they plan to take up translation and interpretation as a career.
It is advisable that students interested in sign language interpreting take up introductory classes in American Sign Language (ASL). They can take up volunteer options to work with deaf people, and gain experience

Training Required of an Interpreter and Translator in USA

Specialized training in translating and interpreting are available in colleges and universities in the US. People who work as conference interpreters should have a master’s degree in business, finance or engineering.

Certification for Translator and Interpreter in the US

Interpreters and translators currently do no require any mandatory certification. However, those willing to work as interpreter or translator opt for a variety of tests to show their proficiency.
American Translators Association offers certification in 24 language combinations involving English.  

Federal courts give certification for Spanish, Navajo, and Haitian Creole interpreters.  Many state and municipal courts offer their own forms of certification. The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators also offers certification for court interpreting.

The National Association of the Deaf and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) jointly offer certification for general sign language interpreters.

The U.S. Department of State has a three-test series for aspiring  interpreters:
  • simple consecutive interpreting for escort work
  • simultaneous interpreting for court or seminary work
  • conference-level interpreting for international conferences—as well as a test for prospective translators
The International Association of Conference Interpreters offers certification for conference interpreters.

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters offers two types of certifications for healthcare interpreters:

  • Associate Healthcare Interpreter (AHI) for interpreters of languages other than Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin, and
  • Certified Healthcare Interpreter (CHI) for interpreters of Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin

Work Experience for Interpreters and Translators in the US

Work experience in this field is important as most organizations hire only experienced translators and interpreters. Experience of volunteering as a translator or interpreter adds value to your resume and is often treated as great experience by employers.Translation done for college and school magazines can be added to your portfolio.

Pay of an Interpreter and Translator in the US

Media and Communication Workers: $49,060
Interpreters and Translators: $43,300

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics)

Job Prospects for Interpreters and Translators in the US

Interpreters and translators can find jobs in:

  • Schools and Junior Colleges
  • Medical and Surgical Hospitals
  • Government Offices
  • Publishing Houses
  • News Stations
  • Travel and Tourism Companies
  • Export Houses
  • Universities and Institutes
  • Embassies

Industry Overview

Interpreters and translators can expect a growth in their employment opportunities by as much as 42 percent from 2010 to 2020. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
This positive growth in employment reflects an increasingly diverse U.S. population, which is expected to require more interpreters and translators in the coming years.

Demand for translators of languages, like French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish will always remain strong. Present time is also witnessing a huge demand for translators of Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages and for the principal East Asian languages: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Driven by rising use of video relay services, demand for American Sign Language interpreters is expected to rise.With the increase in international trade and global ties, demand for translators and interpreters has also risen. The need to interpret and translate languages in the military should result in more jobs as well.
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