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Career and Education Opportunities for Interpreters in Chicago, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for interpreters in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 1,060 working interpreters in Illinois; this should grow 23% to 1,300 working interpreters in the state 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 per hour or $32,890 yearly on average in Illinois and about $18 per hour or $38,850 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Interpreters work in a variety of jobs, including: conference translator, bilingual secretary, and deaf interpreter.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including twenty-four within twenty-five miles of Chicago 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 studying 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 Chicago 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

Indiana University-Northwest - Gary, IN

Indiana University-Northwest, 3400 Broadway, Gary, IN 46408-1197. Indiana University-Northwest is a small university located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,794 students and an admission rate of 80%. Indiana University-Northwest has 2 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

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

Northeastern Illinois University - Chicago, IL

Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N Saint Louis Ave, Chicago, IL 60625-4699. Northeastern Illinois University is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,193 students and an admission rate of 71%. Northeastern Illinois University has 3 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • Linguistics, bachelor's degree and master's degree.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 14 students in 2008.

Chicago State University - Chicago, IL

Chicago State University, 9501 S. King Drive, Chicago, IL 60628-1598. Chicago State University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,820 students and an admission rate of 61%. Chicago State University has a bachelor's degree program in Spanish Language and Literature which graduated twelve students in 2008.

Roosevelt University - Chicago, IL

Roosevelt University, 430 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605-1394. Roosevelt University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,708 students and an admission rate of 43%. Roosevelt University has 2 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures, bachelor's degree.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree and master's degree.

Trinity International University - Deerfield, IL

Trinity International University, 2065 Half Day Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015-1283. Trinity International University is a small university located in Deerfield, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,654 students and an admission rate of 63%. Trinity International University has a master's degree program in Ancient Near Eastern & Biblical Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics which graduated three students in 2008.

Dominican University - River Forest, IL

Dominican University, 7900 W Division St, River Forest, IL 60305. Dominican University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,413 students and an admission rate of 85%. Dominican University has 3 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

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

Saint Xavier University - Chicago, IL

Saint Xavier University, 3700 W 103rd St, Chicago, IL 60655. Saint Xavier University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,307 students and an admission rate of 71%. Saint Xavier University has 2 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree.

Wheaton College - Wheaton, IL

Wheaton College, 501 College Ave, Wheaton, IL 60187-5593. Wheaton College is a small college located in Wheaton, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,915 students and an admission rate of 62%. Wheaton College has 4 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • German Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 14 students in 2008.
  • Classics & Classical Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.

Columbia College Chicago - Chicago, IL

Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605-1996. Columbia College Chicago is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 12,464 students. Columbia College Chicago has a bachelor's degree program in Sign Language Interpretation and Translation which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago, 820 N. Michigan, Chicago, IL 60611-9810. Loyola University Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,670 students and an admission rate of 74%. Loyola University Chicago has 7 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • German Language and Literature, bachelor's degree.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Italian Language and Literature, bachelor's degree.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated five and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Classics & Classical Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated two, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Ancient/Classical Greek Language and Literature, bachelor's degree and master's degree.
  • Latin Language and Literature, bachelor's degree and master's degree.

Trinity Christian College - Palos Heights, IL

Trinity Christian College, 6601 W College Dr, Palos Heights, IL 60463-0929. Trinity Christian College is a small college located in Palos Heights, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,404 students and an admission rate of 94%. Trinity Christian College has a bachelor's degree program in Spanish Language and Literature which graduated one student in 2008.

Lake Forest College - Lake Forest, IL

Lake Forest College, 555 N Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045-2399. Lake Forest College is a small college located in Lake Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,387 students and an admission rate of 59%. Lake Forest 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 which graduated 7 students in 2008.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.

University of Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Chicago, 5801 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637. University of Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,620 students and an admission rate of 28%. University of Chicago has 10 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • Linguistics, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated two, five, and five students respectively in 2008.
  • East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated two, two, and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Slavic Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated one, four, and one students respectively in 2008.
  • German Language and Literature, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated five, four, and three students respectively in 2008.
  • South Asian Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated one, two, and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Romance Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated three, five, and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Ancient Near Eastern & Biblical Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated one and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Middle/Near Eastern & Semitic Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated three, fifteen, and nine students respectively in 2008.
  • Classics & Classical Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated one, two, and five students respectively in 2008.
  • Classics & Classical Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated one and two students respectively in 2008.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has 8 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • Linguistics, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated one, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Slavic Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated six, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • German Language and Literature, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated seven, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated four, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Italian Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Classics & Classical Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated two, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Purdue University-Calumet Campus - Hammond, IN

Purdue University-Calumet Campus, 2200 169th St, Hammond, IN 46323-2094. Purdue University-Calumet Campus is a medium sized university located in Hammond, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 9,325 students and an admission rate of 74%. Purdue University-Calumet Campus has a bachelor's degree program in Foreign Languages and Literatures which graduated two students in 2008.

Concordia University - River Forest, IL

Concordia University, 7400 Augusta, River Forest, IL 60305-1499. Concordia University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,185 students and an admission rate of 58%. Concordia University has 2 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree.
  • Ancient Near Eastern & Biblical Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, bachelor's degree.

University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607. University of Illinois at Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,709 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of Illinois at Chicago has 7 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • Linguistics, master's degree which graduated 11 students in 2008.
  • Slavic Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, master's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Polish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated eleven and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Italian Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated six, eleven, and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Classics & Classical Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Elmhurst College - Elmhurst, IL

Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect Ave, Elmhurst, IL 60126-3096. Elmhurst College is a small college located in Elmhurst, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,315 students and an admission rate of 69%. Elmhurst College has 4 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • German Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.

North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central College, 30 N Brainard St, Naperville, IL 60540. North Central College is a small college located in Naperville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,726 students and an admission rate of 69%. North Central College has 5 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • Japanese Language and Literature, bachelor's degree.
  • German Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.
  • Classics & Classical Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, bachelor's degree.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a one to two year program in Sign Language Interpretation and Translation which graduated nine students in 2008.

Benedictine University - Lisle, IL

Benedictine University, 5700 College Rd, Lisle, IL 60532-0900. Benedictine University is a medium sized university located in Lisle, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,053 students and an admission rate of 80%. Benedictine University has a bachelor's degree program in Spanish Language and Literature which graduated two students in 2008.

North Park University - Chicago, IL

North Park University, 3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625-4895. North Park University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,255 students and an admission rate of 30%. North Park University has 3 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • Scandinavian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, bachelor's degree.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.

DePaul University - Chicago, IL

DePaul University, 55 E Jackson, Chicago, IL 60604. DePaul University is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 22,554 students. DePaul University has 4 areas of study related to Interpreter. They are:

  • German Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • French Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Italian Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Spanish Language and Literature, bachelor's degree which graduated 7 students in 2008.

South Suburban College - South Holland, IL

South Suburban College, 15800 South State Street, South Holland, IL 60473-1200. South Suburban College is a medium sized college located in South Holland, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,105 students. South Suburban College has a less than one year program in Sign Language Interpretation and Translation 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: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.