By: Klaidi Shehi
In today’s linguistically diverse world, the demand for language professionals like interpreters and translators is steadily increasing. This industry offers an excellent outlook for opportunities and advancement while giving you the ability to leverage the languages you speak into a career. Whether you’re interested in different cultures, have a passion for languages, or possess strong communication skills, a career as an interpreter can offer promising opportunities. Becoming an interpreter offers you the opportunity for a stable career with substantial opportunities for growth. It’s also a great source of side income for bi-lingual students or working professionals in other industries. It allows you to leverage your knowledge of other languages into an additional income stream. Interpreting jobs can also be done remotely and part-time, giving you the ability to juggle your full-time career without the stress of long-term commitment and conflicting work schedules. However, the path to becoming an interpreter requires dedication, continuous learning, and critical skills to help you excel in the field.
In this blog, we are going to dive into how you can start your journey as an interpreter in just five simple steps and provide some essential resources to get you started.
Before we get into how to become an interpreter, it’s essential to give some background on the interpretation industry and how it’s blooming with opportunity. In the United States, employment for interpreters and translators is projected to grow by 20% from 2021 to 2031, which is much faster than the average for all other occupations. In Canada, language professional job openings are expected to total 8,100 between 2021-2031, while only 7,700 job seekers are estimated in that same period, highlighting a demand for the profession. Salaries in Canada vary by factors such as your experience, qualification, location and industry and start at around $20 per hour. This amount increases exponentially with specializations in specific fields of interpreting.
Overall, the interpreting industry is poised to grow substantially in the coming decade. With increases in key industries that are supported by interpreters, such as immigration, international conferences, social services, and healthcare, the opportunities for a career are promising.
Step 1: Identifying Your Language Abilities and Specializations
The first step in becoming an interpreter is to determine your language combination. Consider the languages you are fluent in or have a strong background in and assess the demand and market opportunities for those languages. Additionally, specializing in a specific field can help you establish yourself as an expert within it and open the door to unique opportunities.
Specializing in specific interpreting fields, such as medical, legal, or conference interpreting, offers several advantages when it comes to finding jobs and earning higher pay. It also allows an interpreter to increase their market value, provide better services for individuals with special interpretation requirements, and provide opportunities for referrals from previous niche clients.
Step 2: Enroll in a Formal Education
While not mandatory, interpretation training can significantly increase your skills and chances of finding work. One can pursue a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a language, interpreting, or a related field and accrue thousands in tuition costs. There are other options however such as certified interpreter training programs from agencies like MCIS that will guide and educate you on a career as an interpreter in the growing language industry.
MCIS offers a wide range of training programs oriented to the translation and interpretation fields. Our training programs are renowned for their rigorous curriculum, experienced instructors and practical hands-on approach. Whether interpreters are looking to specialize in medical, legal, or community interpreting, have no previous training and want to begin their journey as an interpreter, or expand their interpreting expertise/skills, MCIS provides specialized training catered to everyone. Through a combination of classroom instruction, interactive workshops and real-world simulations, participants gain a deep understanding of the interpreting process, ethics and best practices. The best part, enrolling in our training programs is easy, flexible and affordable with online and remote self-paced programs. Our training programs range from 2-120 hours to get certified and cost between $50 to $850, depending on the duration and amount of content of the respective training program. Our commitment to excellence and focus on fostering cultural competency ensures that graduates are well-prepared to navigate diverse linguistic and cultural settings. With our top-notch training programs, MCIS empowers interpreters to deliver accurate, reliable, and culturally sensitive language services to prospective clients in any industry.
Step 3: Develop Your Language Professional and Interpreting Skills
To become a successful interpreter, you must have exceptional language skills or work towards improving them. Continuous work is needed to improve your fluency, vocabulary, grammar, and idiomatic expressions in all your working languages. Engaging in activities like reading books, newspapers, blogs and watching TV shows in other languages can help improve this or, even better, conversing with native speakers of that language to pick up on slang and dialects. Interpreting is also a skill that requires practice, practice, and more practice. Begin by practicing consecutive interpretation, which involves listening to a speaker and delivering the message in the target language. Focus on note-taking techniques, memory retention, and improving your delivery. As you progress, move on to simultaneous interpretation, where you interpret in real time while the speaker continues to talk. Utilize resources like practice materials, online videos, and language exchange programs to refine your skills.
Step 4: Gain Additional Experience
To gain practical experience, consider volunteering, interning or shadowing experienced interpreters. Look for opportunities at local organizations, schools, hospitals, or international conferences. Building a network of professionals in the field can also provide mentorship, valuable insight and job opportunities as well. The beauty of MCIS’ training programs is that we offer several continued competence programs for interpreters who are experienced or just starting out. These CC programs range from remote interpretation training to help improve language professionals’ ability to deliver their services online to more sensitive topic related programs like interpreting for survivors of human trafficking and sexual violence and anti-oppression training.
Step 5: Continuous Learning
The field of interpreting is dynamic and constantly evolving. Stay up to date with industry trends, new technologies, and emerging terminology. Attend workshops, webinars, and conferences to expand your knowledge and skills. Signing up for language industry related newsletters like MCIS’ quarterly newslettercan also help you stay up to date with industry trends, opportunities and networking events that can help advance your career. MCIS organizes and sponsors a variety of language related events, many of which are funded by the Social Benefit Initiative Fund (SBI). From conferences and workshops to webinars and panel discussions, MCIS offers engaging and informative events that cover a wide range of topics relevant to interpreters, translators, and language professionals. With the support of our SBI fund, these events often feature distinguished speakers, subject matter experts, and industry leaders who share insights, trends, and best practices. Whether attending in person or virtually, these events provide valuable opportunities for professional growth and foster a sense of community among language professionals while giving you the perfect opportunity to learn and gain more insight into the world of interpreting and how to get started. To learn more about the SBI, past events and new ones coming up, check out our Social Impact and Social Purpose page.
Becoming an interpreter is an exciting and fulfilling career choice that offers numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth, a strong industry outlook and the ability to help others in your community. By following the five steps outlined in this blog, you can start your journey toward becoming a successful interpreter. From identifying your language abilities and specializations to enrolling in formal education programs, developing your language skills, gaining practical experience, and continuously learning and adapting, each step plays a crucial role in your path to success.
With MCIS’ comprehensive training programs and sponsored events, we provide invaluable resources and support to aspiring interpreters. Remember, with dedication, perseverance and a commitment to excellence, you can embark on a rewarding career as an interpreter; making a significant impact by bridging language and cultural barriers. Becoming an interpreter is an enriching and fulfilling career choice for those who are passionate about languages and communication. Get started today by visiting the MCIS Training Page today and request a free information session to learn more about our programs and get any questions you have about the program answered.