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7 Qualities And Success Tips – How to be a Good Interpreter

Good news! If you are fluent and have recognized certification in two or more languages, you have an excellent opportunity to be a good interpreter.  So, you can search for an interpreter position online and apply to become a professional interpreter service provider.

Sometimes people use Interpreter and translator interchangeably, but these two job positions are quite different in practice. On the job, a translator converts written text from one language into a foreign language. On the other hand, an interpreter converts oral languages in real-time for the speakers of varying language face to face or remotely.


An Interpreter job may also cover translating sign language for audiences who are deaf. To be a good interpreter involves more than translating a language orally. It is a challenging job, but its rewards pay off.

Sounds interesting, right? This article focuses on How to be a good interpreter. Check out the following section to discover more on this topic with tips for career success.

7 Qualities Of A Good Interpreter

If you want to know more about how to be a good interpreter, then you are in the right place to explore. You may ask, why do I need to become a good interpreter? It’s a good question because your expertise as a good interpreter will open the door to endless opportunities for your personal and professional growth.

Whether you want to progress in your current position or looking for a better opportunity, being a good interpreter will always create new possibilities. However, it would be best if you grew your skills continue to make the most out of your opportunities. This blog post will discuss how to be a good interpreter and give you some success tips.

1. Understand the Cultural Aspect:

Start with familiarizing yourself with the origin and culture of your target languages for interpretation. It helps understand the cultural differences and special meaning with cultural references while interpreting. Understanding the cultural environment is the key to success in the interpreting profession.

Understand the Cultural Aspect


There are small intricacies and details in every culture that will make your life easier and improve your interpreting ability as a good interpreter. For example, due to cultural variations in grammatical and language subtleties, localization skills will significantly impact your interpreting success. If you can’t follow the updates on these subtleties, you will encounter roadblocks as an interpreter.

Moreover, it will also help you better understand the person and cultural traits of the interpreting clients. Finally, it will grow you as a professional to make the speaker’s words and meaning more vibrant.

2. Continue Building Your Vocabulary:

If you want to continue improving your interpreting abilities, then you should continue growing your vocabulary.

Likewise, if you think you understand a language entirely and don’t have space to develop further, it would be a great mistake. When you aren’t practicing vocabulary, you can work on linguistic subtleties to fine-tune your interpreting expertise.

Continue Building Your Vocabulary


However, to be efficient in both languages, study vocabulary for both consistently. It is more critical when translating official documents verbally, for example, in a legal proceeding or the courtroom interpretation.

3. Listen Attentively to Be a Better Interpreter:

As a good Interpreter, listening skills are more important than any other skills in this interpretation field.  If you cannot listen carefully to every detail on the job, you will continuously face barriers and regularly deal with unhappy customers. Interpreters should be able to catch on every single word accurately in the context. It is not enough to know only the meaning of the words, but you must know the intent and the purpose.

Listen Attentively


You will quickly fall into the trap of becoming a lousy interpreter if you don’t listen well enough and follow the conversation. It would help if you practiced continuously to grow your abilities as a good interpreter professionally.

4. Take Notes and Research on Topic:

You should take notes and study the topic regarding your critical interpretation. For instance, if you are going to interpret at a conference on heart disease, it will help you obtain a copy of the conference paper or the agenda before the event.

Take Notes and Research on Topic


So, you will be able to research any words, medical terms, or concepts that are currently unfamiliar to you.

5. Develop Communication and Customer Service Skills:

In a professional interpreter service, you need to practice good communication and customer service skills. Moreover, your goal is to make the audience feel comfortable and friendly while assisting them in communicating.

Develop Communication and Customer Service Skills


Similarly, an interpreter should be able to handle various situation and be comfortable with variations. So, maybe you need to work in multiple environments, such as in a school, a courtroom, or a hospital.

6. Gain Relevant Experiences:

To be a good interpreter, you need to volunteer to gain more experience and keep your skills sharp. For example, hospitals, public sector services, churches, private organizations, and NGOs appreciate interpreting and translating volunteers’ help.

Gain Relevant Experiences


Nonetheless, you can obtain several years of experience by regularly volunteering as some jobs require that.

7. Get Professional Certifications:

Another critical step is to attain a certification that demonstrates your professional proficiency in the languages. To apply for an interpreter job, you should have some recognized certification in this industry. For example, you can have a certificate through the American Translators Association, the federal court, the state court, and the National Association of the Deaf.

Get Professional Certifications


You can also have certification from the globally recognized institution and cultural center like the Goethe-Institut for German, Alliance Française for French.


Here we will discuss the Top 7 Success Tips to be a good interpreter. Check it out below:

Top 7 Success Tips To Be a Good Interpreter


1. Keep up to date yourself with the latest technology, translation software, recording devices, and other equipment for interpreting.

2. A successful interpreter should develop good research skills to understand the people speaking other languages’ local culture and lifestyle.

3. Always be on time and allow you extra time to arrive; prepare yourself in advance, especially when you need to set up the equipment.

4. Do not panic, even if you make a mistake. As soon as you realize your mistake, relax, try not to be panic, apologize, and correct yourself.

5. Develop excellent sensory, motor, and cognitive skills to quickly grasp and respond according to the interpretation service environment.

6. Cope with your stress and control yourself when dealing with rugged speakers

7. Show high levels of resilience and control with high-profile people or difficult to witness, such as murder trials, emergency medical situations, or even deaths.


Although there are tremendous opportunities are waiting for a good interpreter. However, many of us don’t know how to be a good interpreter and be successful in this profession. It is clear that the Interpretation service is a challenging career. Moreover, developing your ability as a good interpreter takes a long time for certification, training, skills, experience, and practice. Finally, our top 7 success tips will smooth your journey to be a successful interpreter and achieve professional excellence.

For professional interpreters and expert translators, contact The Language Doctors team today. Our experienced interpreters and translators will be happy to help you. Just call 1 (202) 544-2942 or send us a message at

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