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Career and Education Opportunities for Interpreters in Birmingham, Alabama

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for interpreters in the Birmingham, Alabama area. Currently, 140 people work as interpreters in Alabama. This is expected to grow by 25% to 170 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for interpreters, which sees this job pool growing by about 22.2% over the next eight years. Interpreters generally translate or interpret written, oral, or sign language text into another language for others.

A person working as an interpreter can expect to earn about $15 hourly or $32,390 per year on average in Alabama and about $18 hourly or $38,850 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Jobs in this field include: freelance translator, bilingual interpreter, and per diem interpreter.

There are four schools within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can study to be an interpreter, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Birmingham area. Interpreters usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so it will take about two years to learn to be an interpreter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Interpreter

Interpreter video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, interpreters translate or interpret written, oral, or sign language text into another language for others.

Interpreters follow ethical codes that protect the confidentiality of data. They also refer to reference materials, such as dictionaries and computerized terminology banks, as needed to insure translation accuracy. Finally, interpreters identify and resolve conflicts pertaining to the meanings of words or behaviors.

Every day, interpreters are expected to be able to understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment. They need to speak clearly. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for interpreters to check translations of technical terms and terminology to insure that they are accurate and remain consistent throughout translation revisions. They are often called upon to translate messages simultaneously or consecutively into specified languages, orally or by using hand signs, maintaining message content and style as much as possible. They also compile terminology and data to be used in translations, including technical terms such as those for legal or medical material. They are sometimes expected to proofread and revise translated materials. Somewhat less frequently, interpreters are also expected to adapt translations to students' cognitive and grade levels, collaborating with educational team members as needed.

Interpreters sometimes are asked to train and supervise other translators or interpreters. And finally, they sometimes have to translate messages simultaneously or consecutively into specified languages, orally or by using hand signs, maintaining message content and style as much as possible.

Like many other jobs, interpreters must be reliable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Music Director. Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
  • Public Relations Specialist. Engage in promoting or creating good will for individuals, groups, or organizations by writing or selecting favorable publicity material and releasing it through various communications media. May prepare and arrange displays, and make speeches.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Interpreter Training

Birmingham Southern College - Birmingham, AL

Birmingham Southern College, 900 Arkadelphia Road, Birmingham, AL 35254. Birmingham Southern College is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,458 students and an admission rate of 69%. Birmingham Southern College has 3 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • German Language and Literature, bachelor's degree.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

University of Montevallo - Montevallo, AL

University of Montevallo, Station 6001, Montevallo, AL 35115-6000. University of Montevallo is a small university located in Montevallo, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,030 students and an admission rate of 78%. University of Montevallo has a bachelor's degree program in Foreign Languages and Literatures which graduated two students in 2008.

Samford University - Birmingham, AL

Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229-2240. Samford University is a small university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,469 students and an admission rate of 89%. Samford University has 5 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • German Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 7 students in 2008.
  • Classics & Classical Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Ancient/Classical Greek Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has 3 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures, bachelor's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

National Judiciary Interpreter and Translator Certification: Achieving the credential of Nationally Certified Judiciary Interpreter and Translator (NCJIT) shows your commitment to upholding the highest standards in the profession.

For more information, see the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators website.

LICENSES

Sign Language Interpreter and Transliterator

Licensing agency: AL Licensure Board for Interpreters & Transliterators
Address: P O Box 240187, Montgomery, AL 36124-0187

Phone: (334) 227-8881
Website: AL Licensure Board for Interpreters & Transliterators

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.