What Qualities Makes a Good Interpreter?

There are many ways of making money today. If you can speak different languages, you can make good money by becoming an interpreter. Being an interpreter gives you a good opportunity of interacting with foreigners, giving them life-changing ideas. Furthermore, different industries need language interpreters. However, being an interpreter needs more than just language speaking skills. It is a combination of language skills and other personal characteristics. So, what qualities make a good interpreter? Here are some of the major ones.

  • Great Language Skills

This is the first quality that an interpreter needs to have. Of course, you need to have a good knowledge and grasp the language you want to interpret. For instance, if you interpret the English language, you need to master the English language. Your vocabulary should be extensive and possess both written and verbal communication skills. In short, your language speaking skills should be better than those of a native speaker.

  • Accreditation

Accreditation from a well-recognized institution is another quality that shows that the interpreter is well-trained and well-versed with the language they interpret. It is an indication that the person has the capability of doing the interpretation job well. They learn the language as well as codes of ethics that interpreters should have. So, if you want to become one of the greatest interpreters, it is vital to have certification. The other good thing about an accredited interpreter is that it is not easy to make mistakes.

  • Great Personality

A great interpreter is not just the one who has a good mastery of a language. It is someone who has a great personality and willing to help people beyond interpreting for them. They are compassionate and good listeners. Interpreting a language or situation to non-native speakers can be a bit intimidating. The work of the interpreter is to make the situation comfortable for them. These skills help such professionals to connect with different people, and such connections can be invaluable.

  • Cultural Understanding

Great interpreting is also not just about learning the language. The professional must understand the cultures of the languages they interpret. This helps in detecting customs and cues that certain people specifically use. This way, the professional will not pass the wrong message to the non-native speakers.

  • Empathetic Listener

As mentioned earlier, an interpreter should not just possess language skills. Being a good listener is also part of the job. Such a skill lays a good foundation for them and helps them to understand what their clients want.

  • Specialization

Most language translators work in specific fields. This helps them to understand the terminology and vocabulary used in the setting. For instance, a person who knows law may not interpret or understand different vocabularies used in a healthcare setting. Therefore, a great translator has specialized in a particular field like legal, healthcare, military, and such.


These are six qualities that make an excellent interpreter. If you are planning to be one, you must know that it takes more than language skills. You also need other interpersonal skills to become a great language specialist.

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