If you have the ability to speak Spanish you could find yourself with a lot of career opportunity here in United States. That is because Spanish is the second most spoken language after English. And we’re talking all industries, not just those specific to linguistics. Speaking Spanish gives you a competitive edge to employers, and you can expect good monetary compensation for your language skills.
The most demanding career choice for a bilingual (Spanish/English), is working as a Translator. A Translator is also commonly known as an Interpreter. Agencies, especially in Government, have much need for Interpreters to aid in communication with clients. From agencies within the legal system, such as all levels of courts and the prison systems, to Departments of Motor Vehicle and Social Security and Human Service offices, translators are a necessity.
Of course, you will need a proper education to prove your expertise. A bachelor’s degree is a good start. You may choose to major in a particular language or major in linguistics, to keep your approach broad. Either way, you will need excellent English writing skills and a heavy load of coursework done in the communications department of your college choice. Computer proficiency is a given, as monthly reports and emails with clients and employers will be needed.
Another helpful pursuit is spending time in a foreign country and immersing oneself in another cultural experience.
Licenses and Certifications
The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators offers certification specifically for court interpreting.
The U.S. Department of State also offers a three-test series for prospective Interpreters.
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters and the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters also offer certifications for translators working within medical and healthcare fields.
According to the Title VI 1964 Civil Rights Act, which is the legal foundation for providing language services in Government agencies, it states:
No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
That explains why limited English proficient (LEP) patients are given the right to language assistance in non-profit healthcare facilities as well as the Department of Health and Human Services. Of course, the true need is proper communication. Having it a law on the books is good news for translators interested in working within these agencies, as work can almost always be found.
Translators might work for a private or public company offering in-person, telephone or written services. They may be reimbursed as an Independent Contractor or as a Freelancer.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median income for Interpreters is $45,430. This may be one of the fastest growing fields DegreeQuery.com has ever seen! According to the BLS, employment for Interpreters and translators is projected to grow 46% from 2012 to 2022, much faster than other occupations.
This growth shows how increasingly diverse the United States population is getting. We can expect to see this high and stable demand to remain if not rapidly increase in the foreseeable future. Computers may be able to do some of the tasks, but at this point the human translator has not been matched by computer automation in efficiency as well as production.