You never stop learning and developing as an interpreter
or a translator. Throughout your career you develop hard and soft skills. The hard skills you acquire include becoming multilingual and obtaining formal education. The soft skills would be character development such as becoming impartial and culturally sensitive.
Furthering your education as an interpreter/translator is important. The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that interpreters/translators do need specialized training. Trainings are available through courses, training programs, conferences, universities and colleges nationwide.
It is common that medical or court interpreters/translators would complete certificates or job specific training programs. Normally, interpreters/translators in technical areas, such as finance or engineering, obtain a master’s degree (1).
Many interpretation/translation jobs require a bachelor’s, however, you are not often required to major in a language. Majoring in a particular field can reveal a “natural area of subject matter expertise”(1). For example, if you choose to pursue a bachelor’s in legal studies you would be able to have an exceptional understanding of legal affairs in order to interpret for government agencies (2). It is helpful to learn as much about the subject matter and industry you will interpret/translate for to get a full understanding of how to relay information to the receptive party( 3).
The United States Court emphasizes that being impartial while interpreting/translating is critical to being successful in the field. Impartiality helps you to accurately interpret or translate a message without omissions, additions or misleading information (3). You are only focused on ensuring that the primary speaker’s message is understood by the receiver. Cultural sensitivity is also extremely important.
An example is highlighted in The Language Factory website that, “If a political reference is made in one language, for example, a good interpreter will be ready to transform this into a comparable statement that the target audience can understand (4).” You would need to study the culture of the person receiving the message. What are some slang terms? What do they have in common culturally with the primary speaker?
Developing skills as an interpreter/translator requires much practice and continuous education. The development may start as formal education but it continues as you grow in the profession. You learn more about different cultures and learn to remain impartial to focus on the best interpretation/translation for everyone.
By: Kou T. Nyan
(1)Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Interpreters and Translators, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/
(2) Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Government: Degree Overview. Regent University.http://www.regent.edu/acad/undergrad/academics/degree/government/
(3) Interpreter Skills. United States Court. http://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/federal-court-interpreters/interpreter-skills
(4) The 6 Key Qualities of a Good Interpreter. The Language Factory: Translation Made Simple. http://thelanguagefactory.co.uk/6-key-qualities-good-interpreter/