How to become an interpreter

Plenty of bilingual people dream of being an interpreter.

A multi-faceted job

Interpreting is a demanding job that comes in various different guises. If you want to become an interpreter, you will need to work out which best suits you!

Most famous is conference interpreting, which can be done in several ways. First, there is the simultaneous interpretation which generally requires microphones and headsets for those who don’t understand the source language, plus a separate booth for the interpreter where possible. 

Conference interpreting can also be “whispered” if the event room doesn’t have the necessary equipment, or consecutive. With the

latter, the interpreter listens to the source language speaker for several minutes before there is a pause for an oral translation to be provided.

When deciding to become an interpreter, you first need to decide what type of situation you want to work in. There are many different kinds of interpreting and the context can vary wildly. For example, as an expert interpreter, you can work at a police station doing questionings or in court during trials… Or even at a town hall for weddings!

Interpreter training options

To become an interpreter, official training is recommended. In some countries, if you want to become an official sworn translator and work with the police or in the justice system, you will need to be appointed by a Court of Appeal.

In the UK, there are various different interpreter training courses. These include Master’s in interpreting at universities like Heriot-Watt, Wolverhampton and Surrey, plus the Community Interpreting Level 3 course and the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI). Other university training is also available in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

The interpreting world is famously small: depending on your location and specialism, you may come into frequent contact with the same interpreters. By training at a university, you can improve your skills, create your own network and learn how the profession works – all essential for success in this business.

Some university courses also give you the chance to specialise in sign language interpreting. Various UK universities, such as the University of Wolverhampton, Heriot-Watt and UCLAN, offer professional Master’s in this area.  

How to become an interpreter with Acolad

If you’re a conference interpreter looking for work, Acolad would be delighted to collaborate with you!

Please send your references and CV to Acolad. We look carefully at each application and will respond as soon as we have an interpreting job that matches your expertise and language combination.

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