Interpreting Careers

Public service interpreting is a highly-skilled, complex, rewarding and important role that can have a significant impact on peoples’ lives and society as a whole.

If you speak both English and another language(s) fluently and have a good understanding of the cultures associated with those languages, you could pursue a career as a public service interpreter in the UK. However, being bilingual or multilingual isn’t the only attribute you need. Interpreting itself is a skill that needs to be developed and honed, and there are certain personal characteristics and lifestyles that may make you more suited to the role.

Public service interpreting work ranges from roles in settings such as hospitals, providing one-on-one support to patients communicating with medical professionals (see more on ‘working in the NHS), to assignments in settings like courtrooms, using simultaneous interpreting to immediately and accurately communicate legal terminology (see more on ‘working in the Justice sector). For all types of work, including face-to-face, telephone and remote video interpreting, the right qualifications and experience for the specific assignment are essential. However, professionalism, impartiality, resilience, flexibility and a general knowledge of the setting and context are also necessary.

It is vital that anyone seeking to work as a public service interpreter gains a relevant qualification to qualify for work opportunities. Many also seek membership of professional bodies to gain credibility and recognition. It is also recommended that they invest in ongoing learning and development to keep their knowledge and skills up to date and ensure they are providing services of the highest quality.

Whatever stage you are at in your public service interpreting career, find out how to get the most out of it using the icons below:

Starting a career as a public service interpreter with an entry level qualification.

Progressing a career as a public service interpreter with further qualifications and experience.

Developing your career as a professional public service interpreter through CPD.