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Home / Blog / Interpreting / The 8 Step Guide to Working as an Interpreter

Step 1: Get Qualified

In this video we explore step 1 of working as an interpreter – getting qualified.

We explain 5 of the most common accredited interpreting qualifications, how long they typically take, the skills and knowledge you will need to pass and how you can study.

Step 2: Choose How, When and Where to Work

In this video we explore step 2 of working as an interpreter – choosing how, when and where you will offer your interpreting services.

We explain the three different ways that interpreting at Level 3 occurs, and the factors that might help you to make a decision.

Step 3: Gain some Paid or Voluntary Experience

In this video we explore step 3 of how to be an interpreter; experience, and answer some of the most common questions – how important is it?  where do you get it? and what impact does it have on your job opportunities.

Step 4&5: Search for and register with LSPs

In this video we explore steps 4 and 5 of how to be an interpreter; registering for a Language Service Provider who will help you to find work opportunities.

Step 6, 7 & 8: Agree rates, accept and complete assignments

When you have done all the hard work to get to this stage, the very last thing that you want is to fall at the final hurdle. The final steps to working as an interpreter are where you agree your rates, make sure you can receive assignments, accept appropriate assignments and finally complete them!

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Level 3 is the entry level qualification for paid interpreters and is often a minimum requirement of interpreting agencies in the UK. It allows you to interpret in community settings including:

· Health
· Mental Health
· Job centres / welfare
· Social services
· Housing
· Education
· Immigration
· Local government

A community interpreter facilitates a conversation between two people who do not speak the same language (e.g. English and Polish) usually in a public service setting such as health, welfare, social services, housing, education, immigration or law.

The speakers take turns to speak with the interpreter interpreting the conversation in between. They also sometimes provide sight translation services where they read out literature in English in the ‘target’ language (e.g. Polish).

Interpreter Salary in the UK:

An interpreter who holds a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting can expect to make an average of £14.55 per hour (£28,000 per year based on a 37 hour week).

If you have a Level 6 Diploma in Public Service interpreting (DPSI) you could get rates of up to £36 per hour or more for some clients, such as legal clients, but this is not always the case. If, for example, an NHS client is paying £15 per hour the rate will be the same regardless of qualification level. Rates of pay can also depend on the language combination with ‘rare’ languages (languages with a low number of qualified interpreters) commanding higher rates.

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