Many people speaking more than two languages may have thought about working as an interpreter. Interpreters can enjoy a flexible working schedule, high hourly rate, and the opportunities to join interesting events and meet different people. However, being an interpreter is not always a good option for many people, even though they are bilingual and have good communication skills. After all, what makes a great interpreter? Following are some qualities a good interpreter needs to have.
Stay tuned to the cultures
Knowing the cultures corresponding to the languages can be helpful. Different cultures may have different etiquettes and modes of thinking, which would strongly affect how they interact with one another in an event. Speakers may not have a good understanding of another culture, and misunderstanding can arise when the different modes of thinking corresponding to the culture come to a conflict. With the understanding of both cultures, the interpreters may help avoid misunderstanding among the speakers. Moreover, there are quite a few slangs and acronyms in each language, and the speakers may not only use formal expression and words in communication; if the interpreters are able to stay tuned to the cultures, they would know the slangs and acronyms, so that they can better assist the clients in an interpreting session.
Good memory and stamina
Many interpreters didn’t realize that having a good memory can be so important. During consecutive interpreting, interpreters only speak after speakers stop talking. Although speaks with much experience working with interpreters would use simple and short sentences, some others might use intriguing expression and only pause after quite a few long sentences. When speakers are concentrated, they may even forget that they need to pause for interpretation. In addition, most events run for hours and it would become even harder for interpreters to recall all the points made by speakers once they get tired. Fortunately, there are skills to boost memorization, and the interpreters can exercise to build stronger stamina to work in stressful and exhausting events.
Determination to get the certificates
Holding interpreting certificates can help you get many more job opportunities. If you want to work as a court interpreter, you need to get the court certificate for that state first. Depends on the state you are in, the process of getting licensed can be time-consuming and costly. Passing written and oral exams are a must nearly for all the states, and some states set requirements on the experience you have working with legal projects. In all, it’s not easy to get the certificate, but they would definitely worth it and can set you apart from those who don’t have it once you get them.
Know how to thrive in challenging situations
Interpreters may experience a variety of tough situations. Sometimes the speakers may have accents you can’t understand well, and sometimes the topic of discussion may be too complicated for an interpreter without the background in that industry. additionally, there are circumstances the conversation is not too pleasant among the speakers during a negotiation. An experienced interpreter would always calm down in these situations and utilize all the resources on hand to help deliver all the points made by speakers and ensure no point is lost in interpretation.
Knowledge in a specific field
Many interpreting projects are for legal or medical purposes. If the interpreters to a certain extent understand the relevant concept and terminology, they can better assist the clients and the clients don’t need to waste time on clarification.
But it’s fine if you don’t learn any legal or medical terms before. If you get the opportunity to work on a legal or medical project, make sure to do adequate research beforehand. As you have more experience working on legal or medical projects, you will be more proficient in interpreting for projects of these fields even though your education background is not related to them.
Be a good listener
Ideally, an interpreter shouldn’t express any of his or her own opinion throughout the interpreting session. Instead, the main goal of interpretation is to listen carefully and then convey every single point made by speaks to one another during the conversation. A good interpreter should not intervene in the conversation unless clarification needs to be made from the speakers.