How to become an interpreter
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- applying directly
- specialist courses run by a professional body
You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in:
- interpreting studies
- languages and interpreting
- translation and interpreting
You'll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
You can find voluntary or paid work through councils or other organisations offering community interpreting services.
A community interpreting qualification will help you get work in the local community. Colleges and some universities have more information on this.
You may be able to get into this job if you have a non-language degree, providing you're fluent in English and a second language.
You can take a Chartered Institute of Linguists course like the Certificate in Bilingual Skills or the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting to help you to get a job in public service interpreting.
To be fluent, you should:
- be able to communicate quickly, smoothly and accurately
- know and understand informal speech, slang and regional differences
- understand the culture of the country or countries where the language is spoken
Professional and industry bodies
You can join an industry association to help with your professional development and to build up your network of contacts. Organisations include:
- Institute of Translation and Interpreting
- International Association of Conference Interpreters
- Chartered Institute of Linguists
- National Register of Public Service Interpreters
You can find out more about training and working as an interpreter from the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.