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Career and Education Opportunities for Interpreters in Fort Smith, Arkansas

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for interpreters in the Fort Smith, Arkansas area. There are currently 110 jobs for interpreters in Arkansas and this is projected to grow 27% to about 140 jobs 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.

People working as interpreters can fill a number of jobs, such as: translator, sign language translator, and bilingual secretary.

There are nine schools of higher education in the Fort Smith area, including one within twenty-five miles of Fort Smith where you can get a degree to start your career as an interpreter. The most common level of education for interpreters is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years training to become 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Interpreter Training

University of Arkansas-Fort Smith - Fort Smith, AR

University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, 5210 Grand Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72913-3649. University of Arkansas-Fort Smith is a medium sized university located in Fort Smith, Arkansas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,846 students and an admission rate of 62%. University of Arkansas-Fort Smith has a bachelor's degree program in Spanish Language and Literature which graduated one student 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith, Arkansas
Fort Smith, Arkansas photo by Infrogmation

Fort Smith is located in Sebastian County, Arkansas. It has a population of over 84,716, which has grown by 5.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fort Smith, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Fort Smith are priced at $151,400 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred one new homes were constructed in Fort Smith, down from two hundred ninety-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fort Smith are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is food, construction, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 17 minutes. More than 18.6% of Fort Smith residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fort Smith is 8.1%, which is greater than Arkansas's average of 6.9%.

The percentage of Fort Smith residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 68.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Mallalieu United Methodist Church, Loves Chapel Seventh Day Adventist Church and King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church are among the churches located in Fort Smith. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Fort Smith is home to the Fort Smith Trolly Museum and the Fort Smith Inter-Faith Community Center as well as Riverfront Park and Kay Rodgers Park. Shopping centers in the area include Laville Shopping Center, Maybranch Shopping Center and Midland Mall Shopping Center. Visitors to Fort Smith can choose from Patel P L, Westark Inn Motel and Stonewall Jackson Inn for temporary stays in the area.