Become a top interpreter

Have you finished your studies in language interpretation and don’t know what to do next? After so many exams and hours of study you finally DID it! Now it’s time for you to jump feet first into the labour market. But do you feel that you simply don’t have any idea where to start from? Don’t worry. There’s no reason to feel overwhelmed because you have before you a multitude of attractive career opportunities. Hopefully this blog will give you some ideas and advice about getting started in the world of interpreting services.

First of all, it’s very important for you to have a clear understanding of which of the possible fields of language interpretation you are interested in. Since there is a wide range of professional settings where professional interpreters are needed nowadays. Such as business, journalism, film, television and multimedia (dubbing, subtitling), the tourism sector, social assistance, health care, international organisations and institutions, translation and interpreting agencies, language teaching (schools, colleges, academies…) etc. Each sector works in its own way and some require specific qualifications.For example, if you are interested in working for the public service you will need to get the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI). Federal court interpreters have to pass two different tests and go through a process that takes at least two years.

In general, the next step should be to get work experience, as nobody is going to hire someone that doesn’t have any experience right? For interpreting, like the majority of jobs, the trick is to start off small.

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Internships and volunteering

One option, and the one chosen by most recent graduates, is to do some working experience with a company. Internships and placements aren’t necessarily paid, but it is valuable experience nonetheless.

Another interesting choice would be to do some volunteer work in your community. Hospitals, charities, social organisations… there are many places where you will be able to give someone a hand while obtaining some good work experience.

Aside from getting experience, joining a professional association for translators and interpreters will be useful. The most recommended thing to do is to join an association based in the country you live and work in, so you can attend meetings and enjoy the benefits they offer you as a professional interpreter.

Also it’s advisable to join an association in a country of your working language(s). This will allow you to keep up to date with developments happening in that country and language and will give you contact with professors and other professional interpreters who can provide more opportunities for work in the language interpretation field.

Finally, it’s very important to remember that knowledge is never enough. Keep learning by taking training courses on the specialisms, techniques, or any other aspects related to the interpreting world that you would like to know more about. The more qualified you are, the more opportunities you will have to become a top interpreter!