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Explain spoken sentences in a different language.

What does an Interpreter do?

Just like a translator, an interpreter converts words from one language to another. The big difference between these two jobs is that, as an interpreter, you focus on spoken language instead of written. You can work with any language you can think of, from Italian to Arabic to sign language.

Interpreters are useful in a lot of different situations. You can work in a courtroom as a court interpreter, in a medical office, in a school, in a government office, or for a tour company. The options abound.

There are two different styles of interpretation, and they require two different sets of skills. Because of this, most people in the field specialize in only one style. You can interpret simultaneously, which is when you translate while the person talks. Or you can interpret consecutively. This is when you let the person get a few sentences out, and when they pause, you explain what was just said.

While you’re translating, you make sure to get the person’s point across exactly, though this may require you to add or subtract certain words. This type of verbal cleanup is only done when it will make more sense for the sentence structure, or if a word doesn’t have a direct counterpart in the other language. However, you never change the meaning of what they’re trying to say.

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