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Qualities every interpreter should have

Qualities every interpreter should have

The role of interpreters and translators are two distinct roles. A person can be both a professional translator and an interpreter however not all interpreters can be translators.


Having excellent listening skills is not adequate, another quality of interpreters is having the ability to assess, comprehend, communicate, and translate the original message into the target language without any omissions, additions, or alterations. It also includes awareness of their own role in the interpreting attendance.

A good translator can also be that person who wishes to be a bridge between two individuals who have language barriers. Such translators can act as mediators between two or more people and assist from and into in their native language. Such translators can be of assistance in hospitals, courts, or education institutions where language is the barrier. 


A translator is a person who is a skilled mediator in foreign languages. By speaking and having the written ability of one or more foreign languages qualifies a person as a translator and linguist. An excellent translator has a zeal for languages and enjoys and appreciates the different ways of how ideas are organized and expressed in different cultures.

A good translator must have exceptional knowledge of the source language and command of the target language to achieve the required standard of accuracy and clarity. They must be culturally aware of phrases and local expressions, tones and types of language and dialects used in everyday speech. A good translator can always convey what is written between the lines.

Several qualities make a good translator and interpreter.

Qualities of a good Interpreter:

  • An interpreter must have active and excellent listening skills
  • Passion for Languages.
  • The ability to understand the spoken words so they can convey their meanings and accurate message.
  • Ability to communicate well with people from all backgrounds or cultures.
  • Have a broad vocabulary of multiple languages
  • Be culturally aware
  • Ability to cope with stress and to have self-control when dealing with difficult speakers
  • Show emotional strength and flexibility.
  • Ability to accept all forms of criticism.
  • Time management skills

Qualities of a good translator:

  • A translator must have a good command of the English language
  • sharp listening and speaking skills
  • Mother tongue speaker
  • Relevant subject matter expertise
  • Cultural awareness
  • Accuracy and clarity
  • Fluency in the languages
  • strong written fluency in at least one or more non-English languages
  • Having a university degree in translation, languages, or linguistics
  • Proficient with online translation tools.

Generally, people assume and expect that a person who can speak and understand a foreign language is a good translator. However, that is not essentially true. The levels and knowledge of a language can vary. 

Qualities that describe a good translator and interpreter?

Passion – A good interpreter/translator should be passionate about their profession.

They should use all their efforts and means of interpretation skills and techniques in delivering their skill. 

Translating skills – Qualities of a good interpreter/translator must have a specific linguistic education. They should not only master a spoken foreign language they work with, but also know the skills and techniques of written translation.

Inquisitiveness – A translator must be motivated and curious to keep abreast with learning new words and expressions. It is said that the learning process of a good translator is never-ending.

Fluency in vocabulary – A good interpreter translator must have a broad lexicon, not only in a foreign language but also in their native mother tongue. This makes the translation process simpler and the quality of the translation higher. 

Transparency – The goal of an excellent interpreter/ translator is to express the idea of the source language or text as clearly as possible, without vagueness. They should emphasise simple forms of expressions and tones in conveying the exact message or translation.

Quality of interpretation or translation – An excellent interpreter/translator must be obsessed with quality. A good translator must use all accessible information and  resources at their disposal.

Accurateness – A good interpreter/translator should provide an exact transfer of information verbally or in written format. the translator should not attempt to correct the source text, in trying to maintain its spirit.

Honesty – Interpreters /translators must be honest in admitting language fluency. it is absolutely normal for them not to know some expressions or words. However, they must not skip it, but they should either conduct research or note it down for future reference.

Modesty – A good interpreter/translator should always deliver a translation that they can be proud of, but at the same time be humble enough to accept possible corrections and criticisms. The most important and essential thing in the end is always the quality of the translation.

Formal education and specialised language and interpersonal skills with experience lays a remarkable foundation for interpreters. It doesn’t matter what industry they work in; interpreters must be equipped with a wide range of linguistic and language skills. 

We are a preferred interpreting and translation agency in UK that work with native-speaking translators and interpreters who live in-country and work in more than 100 languages, so we can assure you that we can simply serve your business interpretation and translation needs efficiently and accurately. Simply get in touch with Language Interpreters. We service at short notice, have a quick turnaround time, and our prices are remarkably competitive. 

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