The global economy provides just one reason for the explosive growth in jobs as a translator or interpreter. The fact is that at no point in the history of the world has the job of interpreter or translator ever been in such high demand. There are many people in the U.S. who claim that the influx of illegal immigrants into America is serving to take away good jobs from legal citizens. This is utterly ignorant, of course; how many middle management types do you know who speak only Spanish? Indeed, illegal immigration actually has served to create many high-paying jobs for American citizens who speak Spanish. From the courtroom to the television studio (and that is becoming a shorter trip every day), Spanish-to-English translators are in high demand. Portable translator is also becoming hype today for business people who often travel to different countries.
In fact, it is not only inside the courtroom where many illegal immigrants wind up needing an interpreter. They also need to someone to speak for them within the health care industry. Especially in border states and other states where illegal immigrants migrate, hospitals are finding the need to keep a full-time Spanish translator on staff. The potential for medical malpractice following a bad interpretation or a translation that comes too late is creating a virtual cottage industry within the larger world of translators. The American Translators Association has experienced a boom in business like never before. In fact, due to the increased need for interpreters in the financial arena across the globe the American Translators Association asserts that the translator/interpreter job has made its way from a niche area to a full-blown necessity across the spectrum of all big business. Translation has itself evolved into a big business.
In addition to the obvious need for Spanish-language interpreters, of course, those who speak other languages are in high demand. For most of the 90s it was determined that Asian language specialists would be highest in demand. The hot language today are the Arabic languages. This comes on top of the stunning revelation that Pres. Bush invaded Iraq with only a handful of top-level Arabic-speaking interpreters. The quagmire in Iraq and Pres. Bush recent revelation that it is his intent to see a permanent presence in Iraq certainly means a wide-open job field for those with Arabic language skills. Even the overwhelming majority who understandably would have little desire practice their translation skills in the region will still be able to find jobs in safer places among industries such as banking, oil, and contracting to clean up Bush’s mess.
One very interesting–not to mention educational–job that is open to interpreters is as a foreign language translator for television. The use of the SAP function almost every show on American television includes a Spanish-language audio option. Who do you think they hire to read the news in Spanish or lend a Spanish voice to Martha Stewart? Clearly, they aren’t professional actors; they are hired for their ability to understand the language and place emphasis and inflection where it should go in the Spanish language rather than the English language.
Interpreters inside the courtroom typically require some form of certification. Normally, certification to interpret inside a courtroom will necessitate the passage of an exam that certified you have both the ability to comprehend and speak both languages, as well as a general knowledge of the law. You aren’t expected to be an attorney, of course, since you will only be translating the language, but the exam will prove that you at least possess the basic understandings of the legal system.
Now for the money. What can you expect to make as an interpreter or translator? Of course, the actual salaries vary according to the type of business in which you are working, but a full time interpreter should expect to make anywhere from $40,000 to $75,000 a year. Obviously, some make less, while others make more. Another good thing to keep in mind is that you always have many options to do freelance translation work outside of a full time job. It is not unusual for someone working this way to make a combined salary of over $90,000.