So, you know that you want to be an interpreter, but you aren't sure about how to get started. First off, know that all interpreters don't follow the same path. There are a number of ways into the career field and any path enabling you to professionally meet the needs of the job is a good one. However, even if you are as ready as you think you can be, there are still a few tips to help you get started.
1. Get practice as often as possible
Interpreting itself often feels like a ton of practice, but there is a value to giving yourself time to work with your language skills at your own pace and to critically study at your speed and accuracy. One way to do this is by getting all of your news through foreign language sources including reading news websites, reading newspapers, listening to news broadcasts, and watching televised news in your second language. This will maintain fluency and keep you up-to-date with current affairs in both your home country and the countries where your second language is dominant.
2. Learn the profession
Interpreters are created and not born. Acquaintance with foreign languages and cultures is simply not enough, although it's a great start. Before you can begin to work as a professional you must master interpretation methods, techniques, and jargon, possibly by attending appropriate college level courses or a training programs. Keep current with the profession by visiting the websites of organizations and associations within the field, reading interpreter blogs, and, perhaps, pursuing certification.
3. Avoid a Free for All Marketplace
A common entry point to the field for new interpreters is the public, online marketplace. On these platforms, interpreters and clients find one another, often through bidding opportunities. A client will place a job on a public list, board, or other platform option and interpreters will bid for the job, often with the lowest bid garnering the job. In addition, experience with the site often carries great weight and that can make it difficult for new interpreters to get jobs. If you are new to the field and interested in underselling your skills, avoid these sites.
4. Only Accept as Many jobs as You Can Handle
Because growing a practice depends upon reputation as much as it does skill, it is important to make sure that you do superlative work on each job you attain. This can be difficult if you accept more jobs than you have time to do your best work. One advantage to working with an agency, like Ablio, is that you define the amount of time you have and all clients are screened so you know that all your energy is directed to valuable clients, who are clear about the job they need done and the compensation they will offer. Determining those two things alone makes breaking into interpreting far easier.
5. Realize that you are not alone
Starting out, especially if you are working in relative seclusion at home, can feel isolating. When your life and your work become difficult, you need a support system. Because you don't want your clients or your business to suffer due to mounting personal stress, look for an agency such as Ablio that connects you to both clients and other interpreters. This provides a sense of community. In addition to the connection with other interpreters, Ablio connects you with a coach who can guide you through issues that may develop. It is better to turn to someone with expertise that to try to go it alone.