Wherever you go, the world needs people who are experts at multiple languages. So, it isn’t surprising that there are a variety of business opportunities for interpreters. An interpreter works to decode a foreign language for a chosen audience. From public bodies and private corporations to political organizations, there’s a great demand for interpreters.
Here’s some information that can be of help if you’re looking to start or planning to switch careers.
Depending on the way you have been trained or want to train yourself going further, consecutive interpreting jobs might work best for you. As a consecutive interpreter, you will need to listen to a consecutive conversation for at least a couple of minutes. Once the discussion breaks every few minutes, you will be required to summarize its contents in the target language.
Unlike other kinds of interpretation, consecutive interpretation is usually time-consuming. And this is mainly because the interpreter has to set about translating major chunks of discussion after regular intervals. So, the content, in a way, is repeated. But there is a huge market for consecutive interpretation out there. There are setups where you’ll have to do such interpretation for a one-on-one discussion. In others, you may be hired to cater to a small group. Medical consultations, HR sessions, interviews and client-attorney interactions often demand consecutive interpretation.
While looking for business opportunities for interpreters, take a close look at simultaneous interpretation. This kind of interpretation is often referred to as conference interpretation. In this form of interpretation, you are expected to translate what is being said in the target language – in this case, it needs to be in real-time.
So, while the original speech is ongoing, a simultaneous interpreter continues to translate. As a simultaneous interpreter, you would typically need to work in a formal setting. You may get the opportunity to work at boardroom meetings, training sessions and lectures. Major social and political events like conventions and trade fairs also need simultaneous interpreters. On the less formal side, you could even land up interpreting for people availing a packaged travel tour.
Freelance and full-time work
So you’ve figured out the kind of interpretation work you want to do. Now is the time to decide whether you want to take this up in the form of a full-time position or work on freelance basis. Public organizations like UNESCO and UN are always in need of interpreters because of international projects and talks. However, such public organizations can be quite particular about the training and education you’ve received.
Alternatively, you could also take up work with one of the many translation agencies spread out through the world. Based on the time and commitment you can give to your work, you can either look for freelance or full-time work in an agency. If you’re already a freelance interpreter, you could start applying online for projects. Websites like Craiglist often feature job opportunities for interpreters. If you don’t have a college degree, get one immediately. Typically, interpreters without a degree and specific training find it difficult to land a job.
Become a member of the American Translator’s Association (ATA) if you’re looking around for business opportunities for interpreters. Getting a certification from ATA will not only add more worth to your CV but will also help you find interpretation jobs. Remember there are various kinds of interpretation jobs out there. Moreover, you also have the freedom to choose between a freelance and full-time role. This could be the right time to make use of your multilingual capabilities. All the best!