Interpreter Job Description

Interpreter Job Description, Skills and Salary

Are you searching for an interpreter job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an interpreter. Feel free to use our interpreter job description template to produce your own interpreter job description. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as an interpreter.


Who is an Interpreter?

In our world today, there are a lot of languages that cannot be numbered, the services of an interpreter are needed around the globe because there are a lot of language barriers that cut across different countries of the world. An interpreter is also known as a translator. He or she is an individual who interprets verbal communication from one language to another and acts as a cultural mediator where the language barrier is prevalent. Sometimes, interpreters translate a written document from one language to another. They can work in the healthcare, education, legal, and insurance industries.

Private meetings, conferences, lectures, seminars, medical consultations, and court hearings. In all these globalized activities people of diverse cultures together interact with one another to achieve their objectives. Interpretation is the key to successful communication.

To become an interpreter, you must be proficient in more than one language but that is just a little part of your job. An interpreter is a linguist who understands a language in-depth to be able to translate it both written and verbally. An interpreter is also a professional who masters some strategies or methodologies to convey information from one language to another. Whenever you are in the business of translating from one person to another, it is paramount for you to make adjustments. Sometimes, it is very difficult for you to translate words to a language directly because different cultures have their specific grammatical structure. A professional interpreter’s work involves complex cognitive efforts to actively listen to the source of the language, analysis, the speaker’s understanding of the speaker’s intention, short-term memory, and how to convey the message to the audience in a short duration such as in a matter of seconds.


The Role of an Interpreter in the Modern Society

The major role of an interpreter is to enable communication between two or more individuals with different cultural background but in the modern world today, there are certain roles an interpreter play and they are:



An interpreter plays a crucial role in the health sector. For instance, if someone gets sick in another country and there is nobody that speaks his or her language. The services of an interpreter will be demanded. To avoid misunderstanding and communication gaps in the health sector; healthcare provider employs the services of a Healthcare Interpreter when performing their duties. The interpreter must understand healthcare terminologies to be able to pass across the patient health status. Proper communication will also help the treatment process and recovery of the patient. Communication is the only means possible by an excellent interpreter providing intercommunication among healthcare professionals, the victim’s family, and the victim.


Legal Setting

An interpreter that works in the legal industry is known as a legal interpreter who provides specialized interpreting services in the courtroom or a legal paralegal setting. The interpretation role he or he plays may involve communication with law enforcement agents, interpretation of legal or courtroom proceedings, and interpretation between counselors and clients. Legal interpretation involves both spoken and written communication. Legal interpretation and translation are paramount to administering jurisdiction in a multi-lingual environment.

In addition, an interpreter also enables communication in the courtroom. To achieve this, legal interpreters must employ specialized skills. They help all the individuals in the courtroom comprehend legal proceedings by curtailing the language barrier. A legal interpreter must be highly skilled because people depend on these skills to get a quality justice system.

To be proficient in a courtroom proceeding, a courtroom interpreter must know legal terminologies to be able to translate them to another language. He or she must translate every word accurately to the hearing of the judge, victim, lawyers, and other witnesses present.

Most importantly, no one relies on family members or those people who are not qualified for interpretation because it can cause conflicts and misunderstandings which can manipulate the final verdict of the court. Therefore it is the sole responsibility of the court to hire a legal professional that will ensure that all parties can comprehend the legal proceeding translation.


Community interpretation

A community interpreter performs the responsibility of transmitting information between individuals who speak different languages. These interpreters enable service providers in diverse health, social, and community interpretation with service setting members. A community interpreter performs the role of facilitating communication between two or more groups of people who speak different languages. This form of interpretation can either be a spoken or a written one. A community interpreter sometimes may have to use signs to convey a message. A community interpreter’s responsibility is to convey a message to the target audience in a different language.


Intercultural Mediator

Every language speaker takes his culture to any part of the world he finds himself; their traditions, customs, and values are showcased in their language. An interpreter serves as a bridge between the two languages and they also act as a bridge between the two ways of looking at the world. This is the sole reason why an interpreter is looked upon as an intercultural mediator. In to be proficient in carrying out this task, it is important to know the two languages involved and it is also very important to know the two cultures. An interpreter to a linguist might be called an “extra-linguistic” because they interpret more than one language. Conferences and event interpreters also know the details of their work on stage before a cameraman while remote interpreters know how to skillfully utilize software and video conferencing platforms.

Language is one of the most essential components of culture and two communities do not share the same language and culture. The challenge an interpreter may encounter as an intercultural mediator is to make adjustments in the discourse so that communication will be very possible while preserving the richness of both cultures. Their responsibility involves laying down the bridge without causing any possible friction between the worldview of the person speaking and the one listening to facilitate mutual understanding.


Interpreter Job Description

What is an interpreter job description? An interpreter job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of an interpreter in an organization. Below are the interpreter job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write an interpreter job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The following are the duties and responsibilities of an interpreter:

  • Listen carefully when someone is speaking with the sole purpose of interpreting
  • Acts as an interpreter between a wide range of people cut across different voices, accents, speaking tempos, and personalities
  • Provide parties with clear and exact translations of written materials, and interpretations of verbal communication
  • Render sight translations of documents and other written materials
  • Provide interpretations of questions, answers, statements, explanations, arguments, and other forms of verbal communication
  • Comply with applicable ethics and standards
  • Complete daily activity logs and other documentation
  • Interpret with no omission or addition
  • Impart thought, purpose, emotions, spirit, and tone of speakers from one source language to the target audience
  • Inform relevant parties of factors that can deter your performance
  • Submit translations to appropriate management for review as demanded
  • Convert dialogue and convey and intent of the original speaker, understanding that many idioms and slang terms do not translate exactly between language
  • Translate a question or request clearly and accurately, conveying phrasing and intention as it relates to the subject
  • Provide comfort and familiarity to those from other countries who have a little-to-no understanding of the native language



  • A bachelor’s degree in English Language, Linguistics, French, Spanish, Communication,and any other relevant field
  • A valid certificate of accredited interpreting training
  • Excellent bilingual and communication skills both verbal and written
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Proficient computer skills
  • Proficient with the use of office equipment
  • Ability to pronounce words distinctively with a pleasant professional voice
  • Proficient understanding of cultural sensitivity, and ability to collaborate with people from diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Interpersonal Skills and a good gesture


Essential Skills

  • Fluency: An interpreter must be highly proficient in more than one language. He or she should master many languages and should be proficient in the least two languages. Every language has its grammatical structure and vocabulary; an interpreter must know a lot of words or have words at his or her disposal. He or she must also know how to construct grammatically accurate sentences in languages he or is proficient in. he should also know proverbs, idioms, and hard sayings in the language he or is proficient in.
  • Communication: Successful interpreters must have communication skills both verbal and written. He or she must be a very good public speaker and he must know how to communicate across different cultures in the media. He or she must not be a stammer or someone who finds it difficult to pronounce words. An interpreter should not have any speech impediments or speaking defects.

In addition, it is not enough to interpret when someone is speaking; an interpreter should also possess the writing skills of translating documents into another language. It is very easy to translate spoken words than written words. An interpreter must be highly proficient in a particular language to translate a document.

  • Clarity: An interpreter must be able to pass across an idea that cut across cultures clearly or vividly. People can misunderstand or misinterpret you once they cannot get your message. An interpreter must use words that the layman can understand; an interpreter should avoid complex vocabulary when interpreting. He or she should interpret in such a way that the learned and the semi-learned can understand. A good interpreter carries everyone along when interpreting.
  • Technological Proficiency: an interpreter should be familiar with digital communications and other online applications used for communication such as live chat, email, and text messages. These platforms can help an interpreter to pass a message across. For instance, an interpreter can switch to different languages when using apps like Facebook.
  • Interpersonal Skills: An interpreter must be someone that has a friendly attitude and is highly accommodating to strangers. For instance, if someone visits another country with a different language; a good interpreter will create a friendly and comfortable atmosphere for the individual. A good interpreter will make visitors feel at home in a strange land.


How to Become an Interpreter

  • Acquire a Bachelor’s Degree

To become an interpreter, a high school diploma can be accepted by some employers but most employers prefer someone with a bachelor’s degree who is highly knowledgeable. You can acquire a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics, Communication, English Language, and any other relevant discipline to qualify for the role of an interpreter. For instance, someone that studies French at the university will have a lot of French vocabulary at his or her disposal and will be able to interpret as expected.

  • Get Certified

You can get certified in certification courses meant for interpreters because some employers will not demand a degree but these certifications.  You can get certified as a diploma in public service interpreting or a diploma in translation both awarded by the Chartered  Institute for Linguistics. In the United Kingdom, sign language interpreters are usually mandated to have a level 6 diploma in sign language. If your interpreting work focuses on children, you may be mandated by your employer to undergo an advanced disclosure or barring service. All these certifications can give you enough skills and make potential employers seek you out.

  • Start Interpreting For Small Events to Gain Experience

Start your interpretation career by interpreting for small events in your locality such as church gatherings, local fundraising, meetings, or other small gatherings held in your locality. Interpreting for small events helps you to master the art of interpreting which will open more doors for you to interpret for bigger events. You can also get experience by working closely with someone that has been interpreting for a long or a professional in the field of interpretation.


Where Can an Interpreter Work?

An interpreter can work in the following places:

  • Translation and interpretation agencies
  • News services
  • Local, national, and international governments and bodies such as United Nations
  • Public Sector bodies such as the Judiciary and Healthcare
  • Charities and Non-governmental organizations
  • Self-employed


Interpreter Salary

  • In Nigeria, a person working as an interpreter earns a salary of 290,000 NGN per month. The salary includes other benefits such as housing, transport, and other benefits
  • In the United States, a person working as an interpreter earns an average annual salary of $42,276.  A United Nations interpreter earns a yearly salary of $77,026. The salary varies based on the experience and geographical location of the interpreter.


Job Description

Leave a Reply