How to Become an Interpreter or a Translator

Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you depends on the industry and company you apply for. Those looking for an entry positions will likely need at least a bachelors degree in interpreting, foreign language teaching, English, or second language learning. If you are looking to get into a competitive or advance position, then a master’s degree can help you stand out in the hiring process.

Start your career path today by signing up for free information from one of our accredited colleges below that offer programs to help get you started as an interpreter or translator.

How Much Does am Interpreter or Translator Make?
$45,430 (national median salary, to see salaries in your state click on the “Best Places to Work” tab up top)

Expected Growth from 2012-2020:
+34,020 additional people employed

(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS Interpreters and Translators page) 

Discover the Best Places to Become an Interpreter or Translator

The state of California leads the nation in employment for interpreters and translators, with 7,860 currently working in various capacities statewide, and earning an annual mean wage of $48,020. New York is second in employment, with 3,700 interpreters and translators occupying positions within the state, who are making an average yearly salary of $59,420.

What States are Hiring Interpreters and Translators

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in Interpreting or Translating. The associated information has been gathered from the Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Employment and Information Data for Interpreters and Translators

Why Become an Interpreter or Translator?

Employment of interpreters and translators is expected to grow 42%  from now until 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Which is much higher than average.

As the world becomes more connected through increased global trade and the continual rise of global corporations, the need for qualified interpreters and translators has increased. Whether it is in big business, local government or even international bodies such as the United Nations, understanding the complexities of other languages in government transcripts and business documents is an extremely important function in keeping international relations moving.

While many professionals perform both functions, interpreting and translating are different jobs: interpreters deal with spoken words, translators with written words.

Recommended Courses to Help You Become an Interpreter or Translator

  • Website Translation and Localization
  • Editing and Revision for Translators
  • Advanced Techniques for Court Interpreters
  • Computer-Assisted Translation
  • Orientation to Interpreting
  • Introduction to Translation
  • Standards of Practice and Skills of Interpreting
  • Beginning Skills of Interpreting

Degrees for Interpreters and Translators Careers

Professional certification programs offer the opportunity for students to learn techniques and standard practices of translation and interpretation. These programs do not teach a second language.

Bachelor’s Degree
In order to work for a professional body, or in a governmental capacity, (let’s say the United Nations) a bachelor’s degree is generally the barrier for entry. A graduate degree in translation and interpretation offers more comprehensive and in-depth of translation theory, while also addressing the more practical aspects of translation as applied to a variety of professional fields.