The role of the interpreter involves making both the parties understand the contents of the speech or message. The interpretation can be consecutive or simultaneous.
Familiarize yourself with the contents of speech in more than one language. It should be understood that there are three different parties involved in the process:
- The speaker, who speaks in a foreign language
- The Interpreter, who converts the foreign language speech into local language which is understood by the third party/audience and
- The audience, who does not understand the speech
Learn language interpretation with an interpreter with ample amount of experience in both the domain as well as the language. It is always preferable to hand over the text of the speech to the interpreter before hand, so that necessary preparations are made in advance. The delivery of interpretation should be professional and the formation of the sentences has to be simple and accurate.
Become highly proficient in the chosen languages. Once you have chosen language interpretation as your career, you have to build a very strong base, in the source language, target language and professional subjects. In order to take up interpretation as your career, one should know at least two languages thoroughly. One of the languages will be the source language and another will be the target language. An in-depth knowledge of both the languages is very essential. It is important to take advanced courses in at least one second language. You should also take specific courses in interpretation techniques as well as public speaking to help you in facing large public gatherings.
Get a certificate in the field. This is the most common path. You receive your certificate in addition to getting a degree in another field. There are many programs which allow you to specialize in interpretation as part of studying for a second language degree, for which certificates are offered at both undergraduate and graduate levels. A few colleges and universities offer Bachelors and Masters Degrees in language interpretation. Some two-year colleges offer the first two years of study. Students can often transfer these credits to a four-year school. Independent language schools also offer training in language interpretation and translation. Their program requirements often vary with the language skills of each student. Native speakers with strong second-language skills may be able to work in interpreting without long-term formal training.
Get experience. While training is of paramount importance, there is no teacher like experience! So, you should strive to get as many assignments as you can take. This would help you in honing your skills and excelling as an interpreter.