What it Takes to Be an Interpreter

Being an interpreter is one of the most rewarding career paths out there. You get to help people, learn about new cultures, and make a difference. Whether you’re helping a business deal go through, or making sure a patient understands a doctor, interpreters are extremely important. However, not many people understand how much work goes into becoming an interpreter, or what the job truly entails. But with demand for professional interpreters on the rise, it may be time to learn more about what it takes to become an interpreter.

Education and Affinity

To be a professional interpreter, it all starts at school. You need a knack for language and the desire to pursue it. Typically, professional interpreters need at least a Bachelor’s Degree to practice. Fortunately, many universities offer courses that teach important language skills to prepare you for the field of interpretation. However, a Bachelor’s Degree isn’t all you’ll need. In addition to native level proficiency in your first language, you need to be adept and experienced in any language you’re interpreting. Being able to read and write in a language is one thing, but acting as an interpreter in real-time is very different. You need to be able to understand native accents, and comprehend when the language is spoken at conventional speed.


Once you’ve become adept in at least two languages, it’s time to pick a specialty. Whether you’re working in conference rooms or courtrooms, every field has its own very specific lexicon and it’s important to understand it. There are many industries that rely heavily on interpreters, sometimes in life or death situations. Healthcare, emergency services, schools, and more employ interpreters on a daily basis and they all have field-specific jargon. Consider where your interests lie and focus on them. 


Many fields such as healthcare and law enforcement require further certification to become an interpreter. It is paramount that you get these certifications and keep them up to date. Once you’ve gotten the proper accreditation, you’re ready to work!

Additional Skills

While it takes a degree and a variety of certifications to become a professional interpreter, there are several other skills that are important to have. You need organizational skills, the ability to take notes, lead a session, and interpret a variety of topics. You need to understand the legal obligations of interpreters, and what your role will be daily. Professional interpretation isn’t for everyone, but those that do it are talented and dedicated to their craft. 


Interpreters work in a wide variety of settings and fields, from hospitals to courtrooms. There are several qualifications needed to become a professional interpreter, but it all starts with a love of language. Lots of people can speak a different language, but few can interpret or translate in real-time. At Access 2 Interpreters, we are dedicated to providing certified, professional interpretation and translation services to Ohio and across the United States. We are continuously recruiting interpreters and translators to expand our business and meet the needs of our clients. Any candidate we consider undergoes a rigorous multi-step interview process that tests their language proficiency by experts on staff and an additional third party. We know how quickly the needs of the industry can change, so we are constantly updating and growing our services to reflect that. 

We are so dedicated to properly trained and qualified candidates that we developed our own education department called Access Academy. The Academy is focused on the training and education of all interpreters and translators who we subcontract, consisting of training in ethics, legal and medical terminology, and more. This ensures that you get the best interpretation and translation services possible. If you’re interested in a career of interpretation and translation, or if you’re interested in working with us, visit our website to find out more!

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