How to become an interpreter

Translate and interpret communication between people that speak or sign a different language.


Pathways to this career

  1. Interested in sign language? Study an interpreting diploma and communicate with non-hearing audiences in Auslan.
  2. Excited to translate another world language? Complete an undergraduate language degree and help people connect across cultures.
  3. Explore our related courses or obtain an accreditation for your qualifications with NAATI.

What does an interpreter do?

Interpreters interpret and translate speech from one language into that of another. They must be fluent in the language they are interpreting to and from, and must be able to convey the meaning and feeling of material from one language to the other. They ensure clear communication between two parties that cannot otherwise fully communicate in a variety of settings.

Duties and tasks

  • Act as an intermediary in schools, courts, hospitals and other environments to convey the meaning and content of one individuals words into another language understood by the other party.
  • Evaluate recorded spoken material or transcripts of them to understand what and how things were said and translate it into another language.
  • Interpret and translate material in conferences, performances, etc. as they happen, quickly translating them into sign language or other languages.
  • Must be fluent in written and spoken language of interpretation and be familiar with local dialects of that language in order to ensure proper translation.
  • Provide accurate and precise interpretation in high-stake settings including court trials, police investigations, government matters, etc.; become certified in organisations to act as interpreter for them.
  • Travel with clients if requested to act as interpreter in a foreign country or to conduct interviews and investigations.
  • Work with clients to understand the circumstances of the situation and to accurately interpret spoken information.

Industry bodies

Related jobs

Discover related degrees

Undergraduate UNE-MDL-DIP

Diploma in Modern Languages

Available majors

  • Chinese Language Major
  • French Language Major
  • German Language Major
  • Indonesian Language Major
  • Italian Language Major
  • Japanese Language Major

Undergraduate CUR-JPN-DEG

Bachelor of Arts (Japanese)

Postgraduate CUR-APL-MAS

Master of Arts (Applied Linguistics)

Undergraduate CUR-CHN-DEG

Bachelor of Arts (Chinese)

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