Interpreter

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Interpreters use their knowledge of languages and cultures to convert a spoken or signed language into another spoken or signed language, usually within a limited time frame and in the presence of the participants who need to communicate. FutureGrowthModerate

Interpreters convert the spoken word from one language to another. They assist people or groups who do not speak the same language to understand each other. They work as an intermediary, either over the phone or in person, between people from diverse linguistic backgrounds. They may also convert the spoken word into sign language for the deaf community, or vice versa.

Interpreters may also convert written documents or audio/visual materials into a different spoken language or sign language. They may also travel with tourist guides to interpret cultural or historical information for foreign tourists.


ANZSCO ID & description: 272412: Transfers a spoken or signed language into another spoken or signed language, usually within a limited time frame in the presence of the participants requiring the translation.
  
Alternative names: Language Interpreter, Linguist Interpreter
   
Specialisations: Court/Legal Interpreter, Medical Interpreter, Sign language interpreter, Tourism interpreter.

Interpreters usually specialise in a particular language combination (French and English, for example) and may also specialise in a particular subject area, such as commerce, law, health, science, technology or welfare.

  
Knowledge, skills and attributes

Interpreters need:

  • excellent command of English
  • fluency in two or more foreign languages
  • excellent communication and public speaking skills
  • the ability to liaise with people from a range of backgrounds
  • understanding and acceptance of different cultures
  • to demonstrate flexibility and adaptability
  • a good memory and concentration
  • able to interpret accuracy and objectivity
  • initiative and research skills
  • broad general knowledge
  • the ability to interpret sensitive material in a responsible manner
  • able to maintain confidentiality

 

Interpreter
(Source: Your Career)

Duties and Tasks

Interpreters may perform the following tasks:

  • interpret verbal or signed communications between two parties
  • provide simultaneous or consecutive interpretations of conversations or speeches
  • express the meaning and feeling of what is said or signed in another language in the appropriate tone and style within a range of settings
  • verbally translate written texts.
Did You Know?

Linguists estimate that there are approximately 6,500 languages spoken in the world today. However, about 2,000 of these languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers.

The most popular language in the world is Mandarin Chinese with over one billion speakers.

About half of the world’s languages are no longer spoken by children.

The five main Romance languages (there are many more) are Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese and Romanian. Although we all know French is the language of love, the term Romance actually comes from the Latin expression “romanice loqui”, which means to speak Roman.

Language books

Of all the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin. Dante Alighieri was the one to formalize the Italian language by combining dialects from the south with his refined Italian from Tuscany.

Castilian Spanish is not the only language spoken in Spain. There are at least 3 other major languages spoken in addition to other variations and dialects. The other major languages are Galician, Basque and Catalan.

From the 17th–19th centuries French was pre-eminent as an international language. It was eclipsed by English in the 20th Century. Nowadays more than 75 million people speak French and it is the official language of France, Luxembourg, Haiti and over fifteen African countries. It is also one of the official languages of Belgium, Switzerland and Canada.

Portuguese is spoken by over 230 million people worldwide and is the sixth most popular language in the world.
(Source: Allied Interpreter Service)

Working conditions

Interpreters work in a variety of locations and situations including courts, medical and welfare facilities, international conferences, and cultural and tourist attractions. They may also work for a range of federal, state or territory government departments that are concerned with immigration, legal issues and law enforcement.

Work hours are often irregular, and this type of work is usually part-time. Interpreters may be required to be on call. Many interpreters freelance. Interpreters may also travel around the State with tourist or business groups

Tools and technologies

Intepreters may use a pen and notepad or a laptop computer for portable note taking. When they work at conferences they may work in a booth and use audio equipment such as headphones and a microphone.
 
Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a professional interpreter you need to be fluent in the languages and cultures you wish to work in. In Australia, this is usually English and another language. Government agencies are a major contractor for these services. To work with government you will require a qualification, typically a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Interpreting or National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) accreditation to be competitive. You can work as an interpreter without any formal qualifications. However, you are more likely to improve your employment prospects if you have formal qualifications in interpreting or languages other than English.

The NAATI run workshops to assist candidates to prepare for accreditation. You do not need to be accredited by NAATI to work as an interpreter, however, employers, such as government agencies, prefer to employ interpreters who can demonstrate they meet these standards.

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Management Consultant

Officer Administrator

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Sports Administrator

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Nurse Manager

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