The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) recently published a ‘Career and Qualifications Insights Report’ as part of its commitment to produce research which allows both members and organisations within the language services industry to understand the upcoming challenges faced by the profession.
It is the second in a series of four reports investigating how people enter the industry and become professional linguists. It also captures the career aspirations of students currently studying languages. The CIOL intends to use the findings to work towards presenting the languages profession as a more attractive career option, to influence government policy so that more children have the opportunity to take up languages, , and to support its members in evolving their skills to meet changing future requirements.
Although the report focuses on linguists generally and not just public service interpreters, the findings proved very insightful while developing our new TLS career development website. Most striking was that no respondents planned to follow a career path into interpreting following their current course of study, opting instead for a career in translation. We believe that this needs to change. Public service interpreting needs, and deserves, a much greater profile and recognition if critical skills gaps are to be filled for organisations like the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and NHS, and we hope that our new website will go some way to achieving that.
Another point of interest emerging from the findings for TLS was the linguists’ motivation for pursuing a career in linguistics, with passion for languages and helping people scoring much higher than salary. This highlights what a rewarding career choice public service interpreting can be – something we hope to be able to shout about a lot more.
Unsurprisingly as the research was conducted with CIOL members, most respondents were highly qualified individuals. However, it struck us that there does not appear to be a culture of ‘lifelong learning’ within the industry, with most people entering into the profession and completing qualifications at quite a young age. Our aim is to offer a clear pathway for anyone at any stage in their career or life into, and throughout, a career journey to the highest levels of public service interpreting. Our message is that gaining your qualification doesn’t have to be too costly or time consuming, and it is never too late to gain the skills to get into the profession.
Considering a career in public service interpreting? Find out more.