Become a Professional Interpreter

Professional Interpreters use their knowledge of languages to help others communicate. Often, they are the keys to communication for vulnerable immigrants and their families. If you are bilingual and want to assist others as they acclimate to life in a new country, this 100% online course will prepare you to thrive as a Professional Interpreter in either public service or other language-related opportunities.

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Job Outlook for Professional Interpreter

  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates a 20% increase in demand for Interpreters and Translators between now and 2029. This is much faster than average growth for all jobs. The BLS attributes this strong growth to an increase in the number of non-English speaking people in the US. 
  • According to, professional interpreters and translators earn $44,001 per year, on average. Salaries for early-career interpreters and translators range from $27-68,000, with an average of $42,082 in the first 1-4 years of their careers.

Professional Interpreter Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Jobs Are Available for Professional Interpreters?

Professional Interpreters work in schools, hospitals, courtrooms, meeting rooms, and conference centers. Some work for translation and interpretation companies, individual organizations, or private clients. Many also work remotely as independent contractors or freelancers.

Are Professional Interpreters Licensed?

Although individual state or local governments may require their own licensure, interpreters can generally work based on their language fluency and interpretation skills. Successful completion of this course results in a Certificate of Completion, which means that you will be a "trained interpreter," not certified in any designation, specialty or location.

What Is the Difference Between an Interpreter and a Translator?

Interpreters work with spoken language, often in real-time conversations or official meetings or proceedings. They help clients understand the flow of conversation, often easing their clients' burden of stress in difficult situations. Translators work with documents such as contracts, converting written text from one language to another.

Course Objectives

  • Become an effective communicator
  • Master listening skills
  • Learn how to transfer information in multicultural situations
  • Develop interpreting-specific skills such as short-term memory retention, shadowing, note-taking, sight-translation, consecutive interpreting, and more
  • Complete the course and be listed for free in an employer-searchable directory
  • Make a difference in the lives of people in need of communication/translation services
  • Spend time in rewarding multicultural situations
  • Gain the confidence and skills needed to kick off your career as a public services interpreter

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Prerequisites and Requirements

Must have a high school education (or equivalent) and be bilingual.


Course Introduction

Understand what language interpreting is and the role of an interpreter. Learn the requirements needed to become an interpreter, and the difference between a certificate, certification, and license in the field.

Basic Concepts of Language Interpreting

Master the fundamental concepts of interpreting. Learn about interpreting remotely, in-person, or over the phone. Review the evolution of interpreting and how interpreters exist within the public service field.

Interpreting Skills and Techniques

Develop your interpreting skills by practicing active listening, cultural awareness, and memory retention.

Ethics and Standards

Understand the professional code of ethics that interpreters need to abide by; you'll cover how to accurately interpret while remaining ethical and honest.

The Business of Interpreting

Learn about interpreting as a business and what it takes to succeed. Understand what it means to work as a freelancer versus what it takes to work as a full-time interpreter.

Preparing for the Workforce

Conclude the course by preparing yourself to begin searching for jobs. You'll learn how to create an interview video, build a solid resume, and write a cover letter. Additionally, you'll discuss different professional associations that could be beneficial for networking.


Rocío Txabarriaga, MA

Rocío Txabarriaga, MA is vice president of Content Development and co-founder of the Virginia Institute of Interpreting. She is responsible for course planning, development, validation, and maintenance. Ms. Txabarriaga has over 20 years of experience in language services and international business management ranging from independent consulting to senior executive positions, and business ownership. Her extensive experience spans operations, ISO-quality processes, interpreter recruiting and training, qualitative and quantitative research and analysis, as well as in-depth involvement with several language technology platforms. Ms. Txabarriaga has several degrees, including a master's degree from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, has earned many certificates, and speaks five languages fluently. Ms. Txabarriaga is also a NASBITE-Certified Global Business Professional and an accomplished writer and public speaker.

Registration and Enrollment

This course is open enrollment. You can enroll and begin anytime.

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