Being highly engaged in your line of work means that you will spend time developing your skills, even outside of work hours. Talk about this a little bit.
"I am an avid learner and really do try to take every opportunity that I can to develop my skills as an interpreter. I am a volunteer interpreter in my spare time and I also read many books to help me to further develop my communication and language skills."
It's okay to make this answer a little bit personal. You will want to show the interviewer or hiring manager that you really do love being a language interpreter.
"I have a lot of passion for this type of work. As a language interpreter I feel that my skills are incredibly important for many reasons. I love that I get to help facilitate conversations between individuals with a language barrier. I also learn a lot through these conversations. It's a very fulfilling career for me."
Longevity is important to hiring managers. Do your best to let the interviewer know that you are in this career long term. You can also talk about your previous tenure if you have a strong work history.
"Yes, I do see myself staying in this line of work for some time. I have been a language interpreter for 5 years now and continue to educate myself in a variety of languages so that I can continue to be the best in my field. This is a long term career choice for me."
Your research of the company prior to your interview will be an important factor when answering this question. What is it about this opportunity that you feel is a good fit or match for you?
"This opportunity is a perfect fit for me. The skills you require are all skills that I have perfected over the years. The flexibility in hours and the support that your company offers are all reasons why I see this as a great fit."
If you have been an interpreter for some time this will be a simple question to answer because you can draw upon your personal experience. If you are newer to the industry you should talk about the qualities and skills that you possess that align well with the desired qualities of an interpreter.
"Yes, I do feel that I have what it takes to perform the role successfully. I am an intent listener and am a strong interpreter. My skills have been proven throughout my internship and I am ready to put them to work for you."
You have likely gained your experience through a variety of avenues. Take a few minutes to tell the story of your experience as an interpreter.
"My experience as an interpreter started when my family immigrated to the US. From there, I volunteered at our local community association. Realizing that I had a talent for communication and interpreting, I enrolled in the language program at my local college. I have since been an interpreter in the private sector; now fluent in 4 languages."
Researching the company and ensuring that your skills are what the hiring manager is looking for will be an important first step before answering this question in an interview. You can answer like this: "To prepare for this position, I have done a great amount of research on your company and your clients to ensure that I am a good fit for this role. My years of experience as a public and private language interpreter also provided much preparation. Should I be given the opportunity, I know that I will be well prepared and ready."
"To prepare for this position, I have done a great amount of research on your company and your clients to ensure that I am a good fit for this role. My years of experience as a public and private language interpreter also provided much preparation. Should I be given the opportunity, I know that I will be well prepared and ready."
Accuracy is of utmost importance when you are working as a language interpreter. Be sure to show the hiring manager that you take the responsibility of your job very seriously.
"If I did not exactly understand what the person said, I would kindly ask them to repeat themselves. It is of utmost importance to ensure accuracy of words when you are interpreting a conversation. I would never assume that I understood the other party correctly."
Talk a bit about your personality when interpreting, and the type of relationship that you prefer to have with the person whom you are interpreting for.
"When I am interpreting, I do try to establish some form of connection with the person whom I am translating for. It helps me to better catch on to their dialect and 'isms' when they speak. This is not always possible but I do try to establish a connection whenever possible."
Talk about your typical client and give a solid overview of the types of interpreting jobs you have had.
"Typically, I have worked as a consecutive interpreter for business clients. I do have experience, earlier in my career, as a simultaneous interpreter in a call centre type of environment."
How you respond to stress could determine whether you are a good fit for their team or not. Be sure to back up your answer with a reference to a previous compliment or performance review.
"I respond well in stressful situations. My previous supervisor often complimented me on this fact as well. When I do find myself in a stressful situation, I am sure to take a step back. I breathe, and then assess before reacting. I am conscious to always react in a way that I would be proud of, no matter how high the stress level is."
Tell the hiring manager about your level of comfortability when it comes to heavier accents or unusual dialects. Follow this up by talking about a time that you were complimented or recognized for being strong in this type of skill.
"I feel that I am very strong when it comes to understanding a wide range of accents and dialects. Throughout my career as an interpreter, I have received many compliments on my ability to understand even the most difficult of dialects and accents."
This can be answered simply, and with an example of a time when this happened to you, if it has.
"This has happened to me previously with a person who used a lot of hand gestures. I did ask them if the gestures had a significant meaning, and if they could quickly explain to me what the meaning was so that I did not miss out on any nuances that needed to be interpreted."
Loving what you do is a really important factor that will speak to your productivity on the job. Tell the hiring manager why you feel your role as an interpreter is so special and important.
"There are many special things that come along with being an interpreter. Being able to facilitate an important conversation between two parties that otherwise could never smoothly communicate, is a really neat part of what I do."
Tell the hiring manager what it is that you feel you bring to the position that others may not. What makes you stand out?
"I am a very strong interpreter with many years' experience in the field. What I can bring to you is my strong industry reputation and the fact that I am well versed in 4 languages. In addition to my language training, I also hold a Masters degree in Business which makes me a clear match for your business clientele."
You can start near the beginning of your career when you answer this question. Essentially, you are briefly bringing your resume to life for the hiring manager. Be somewhat brief and well rehearsed to avoid rambling on unnecessarily.
Give a concise list, starting with your strongest skills and years of experience.
"I am fluent in 4 languages. English is my native language. I have spoken French and Spanish all of my life. In addition to these three, I am trained in Mandarin. I am currently taking courses in Urdu as well however I am at a beginner level in that particular language."
As an interpreter, you have likely come across many personalities and cultures. Having difficulty with a particular type of client is okay to admit but be aware to not create a negative feeling in the interview. Always bring it back to the positive.
"As a language interpreter, I have worked with all types of people - simple and difficult alike. The personality types that I find most difficult to work with would probably be they type that are not engaged listeners. It takes a lot of concentration to do what we do and if someone is not respecting my time, that can become frustrating. Luckily, I have not experienced this much. Overall, my clients have been quite incredible and easy to work with."
You may have a variety of experiences listed on your resume but the hiring manager would like to know more about your first significant experience with a mentor or in an internship type of situation.
"While attending College I was part of an exchange internship program in China. This internship was followed by another local internship with a private ESL school. These opportunities gave me a broad range of experiences which most definitely started my career off on the right foot."
You can do a recap on your resume when answering this question. Be sure to include any education, internships, co-ops or volunteer work.
"I have a total of 8 years' experience as an interpreter. I began in 2008 as a volunteer interpreter for my school's student exchange program. My formal work experience includes 5 dedicated years as a paid interpreter."
Language interpretation is the facilitating of oral or sign-language communication, either simultaneously or consecutively, between users of different languages. The process is described by both the words interpreting and interpretation.