Interpreters and translators convert information from one language into another language. Interpreters work in spoken or sign language; translators work in written language.
Interpreters work in schools, hospitals, courtrooms, and conference centers. Some work for translation companies or individual organizations, and many translators also work from home. Self-employed interpreters and translators frequently have variable work schedules. Most interpreters and translators work full time during regular business hours.
How to Become an Interpreter or Translator
Although interpreters and translators typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, the most important requirement is to have native-level proficiency in English and at least one other language. Many complete job-specific training programs.
Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 29 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by increasing globalization and by large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the United States. Job prospects should be best for those who have professional certification.
This occupation supported 63,600 jobs in 2012 and 61,000 jobs in 2014, reflecting a decline of 4.1%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 46.1% in 2022 to 92,900 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 69,400, compared with an observed value of 61,000, 12.1% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 27.5% in 2024 to 78,500 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 98,700 jobs for 2024, 25.7% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.