Interpreter Kaiwhakawhiti Reo ā-Waha

Interpreters convert what people say from one language into another.

Interpreters can register with the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI).

Interpreters may do some or all of the following:

  • listen to speakers over the telephone or face to face, and repeat what is said in the required language
  • interpret simultaneously (while the person is speaking) or consecutively (after the person has spoken)
  • travel with and interpret for tourist or business groups
  • consult dictionaries and other reference materials to find the accurate meaning of words and terms
  • research specialist areas or subjects to prepare for different types of interpreting jobs.

Physical Requirements

Interpreters need to have good hearing. They also need stamina, as they often have to work long and irregular hours.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for interpreters includes:

  • work with people from different cultures, or new migrants
  • work in professional sectors such as law enforcement, scientific, legal, technical or medical environments
  • living and working overseas – for example, going on a student exchange programme
  • language study.

Personal Qualities

Interpreters need to be able to: 

  • concentrate for long periods
  • relate to people from a range of cultures and make their clients feel comfortable
  • listen, process information and speak at the same time
  • react quickly and work well under pressure
  • cope with a wide variety of subjects and situations
  • keep information private
  • summarise and analyse information quickly
  • work in a team.

Interpreters also need to have a good memory and good comprehension skills.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for interpreters includes:

  • work with people from different cultures, or new migrants
  • work in professional sectors such as law enforcement, scientific, legal, technical or medical environments
  • living and working overseas – for example, going on a student exchange programme
  • language study.

Interpreters can earn around $35-$80 per hour per hour.

Interpreters may progress to set up their own business. With further training, interpreters may move into translation work (converting written material from one language to another).

Interpreters may specialise in:

  • sign language interpreting
  • te reo Māori interpreting
  • interpreting in particular languages
  • legal/court interpreting
  • medical interpreting
  • community interpreting
  • commercial interpreting
  • diplomatic interpreting.
Interpreter

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