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Employment: Interpreters and Translators




Interpreters and translators held about 24,000 jobs in 2002. Because of the large number of people who work in the occupation sporadically, however, the actual number of interpreters and translators is probably significantly higher. Reflecting the diversity of employment options in the field, interpreters and translators are employed in a variety of industries. Nearly 3 in 10 worked in public and private educational institutions, such as schools, colleges, and universities. About 1 in 10 worked in healthcare, many of which worked for hospitals. More than 1 in 10 worked in other areas of government, such as Federal, State and local courts. Other employers of interpreters and translators include publishing companies, telephone companies, airlines, and interpreting and translating agencies.

More than 2 in 10 interpreters and translators are self-employed. To find work, these interpreters and translators may submit resumes to 100 or more employment agencies, and then wait to be contacted when an agency matches their skills with a job. After establishing a few regular clients, interpreters and translators often hear of subsequent jobs by word of mouth; or, they may receive enough work from a few clients to stay busy. Many who freelance in the occupation work only part time, relying on other sources of income to supplement earnings from interpreting or translation.