Interpreter/Translator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Interpreters and Translators Career Video



Interprets oral or sign language, or translates written text from one language into another.

This career is part of the Education and Training cluster Professional Support Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Follows ethical codes that protect the confidentiality of information.
  • Translates messages simultaneously or consecutively into specified languages, orally or by using hand signs, maintaining message content, context, and style as much as possible.
  • Listens to speakers' statements to determine meanings and to prepare translations, using electronic listening systems as necessary.
  • Compiles terminology and information to be used in translations, including technical terms such as those for legal or medical material.
  • Reads written materials, such as legal documents, scientific works, or news reports, and rewrites material into specified languages.
  • Identifies and resolves conflicts related to the meanings of words, concepts, practices, or behaviors.
  • Checks translations of technical terms and terminology to ensure that they are accurate and remain consistent throughout translation revisions.
  • Refers to reference materials, such as dictionaries, lexicons, encyclopedias, and computerized terminology banks, as needed to ensure translation accuracy.
  • Trains and supervises other translators or interpreters.
  • Educates students, parents, staff, and teachers about the roles and functions of educational interpreters.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Court Interpreter -- Provides accurate and clear interpretation services in complex matters between English and the target (foreign) for the courts and probation departments.
  • Sign Language Translator -- Translates spoken words into gestures and facial expressions that convey the same meaning and may translate for individuals who are blind in addition to being deaf or hearing impaired by touching clients' hands to create tactile signs.
  • Braille Translator --