Interpreter & Translator Interview Questions & Answers

Interpreters and translators convert information from one language into another language.

Interviewers look for candidates that demonstrate excellent skills such as:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Business skills
  • Speaking skills
  • Dexterity
  • Writing skills
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Concentration
  • Reading skills
  • Listening skills

In this blog, we discuss commonly asked interview questions during job interviews for Interpreter & Translator positions. We also discuss the qualities that interviewers look for in successful candidates. In other words, we’re here to help you out!

Also, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.

Skills Interviewers Look For In Successful Candidates

Below we discuss the skills you can highlight in your answers to demonstrate that you’re qualified for the job.

Business skills

Why interviewers are interested in your business skills:

Self-employed interpreters and translators need general business skills to manage their finances and careers successfully. They must set prices for their work, bill customers, keep records, and market their services in order to build their client base.

Concentration

Why interviewers are interested in your concentration skills:

Interpreters and translators must be able to concentrate while others are speaking or moving around them.

Cultural sensitivity

Why interviewers are interested in your cultural sensitivity:

Interpreters and translators must be sensitive to cultural differences and expectations among the people whom they are helping to communicate. Successful interpreting and translating is a matter not only of knowing the words in different languages but also of understanding people’s cultures.

Dexterity

Why interviewers are interested in your dexterity:

Sign language interpreters must be able to make quick and coordinated hand, finger, and arm movements when interpreting.

Interpersonal skills

Why interviewers are interested in your interpersonal skills:

Interpreters and translators, particularly those who are self-employed, must be able to get along with those who hire or use their services in order to retain clients and attract new business.

Learn more about interpersonal skill interview questions and how to answer them!

Listening skills

Why interviewers are interested in your listening skills:

Interpreters must listen carefully when interpreting for audiences to ensure that they hear and interpret correctly.

Reading skills

Why interviewers are interested in your reading skills:

Translators must be able to read in all of the languages in which they are working.

Speaking skills

Why interviewers are interested in your speaking skills:

Interpreters and translators must speak clearly in all of the languages in which they are working.

Writing skills

Why interviewers are interested in your writing skills:

Translators must be able to write clearly and effectively in all of the languages in which they are working.

(source: bls.gov)

Interpreter & Translator Job Interview Questions & Answers

During a job interview, the hiring manager wants to discuss several things. Think of your:

Below you find a list of commonly asked interview questions.

Examples Of General Interpreter & Translator Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. How would you describe yourself?
  3. Why do you want to work here?
  4. What interests you about this position?
  5. Walk me through your resume.
  6. What motivates you?
  7. Why are you leaving your current job?
  8. Describe your work ethic.
  9. What is your greatest strength?
  10. How does your experience qualify you for this job?
  11. What is your greatest weakness?
  12. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  13. Tell me about a challenging work situation and how you overcame it.
  14. What are your expectations for this position?
  15. What are your career goals?
  16. Why should we hire you?
  17. What did you like most about your last position?
  18. What did you like least about your last position?
  19. How do you handle stress?
  20. What is your greatest accomplishment?

Learn how to answer these common job interview questions!

Examples Of Specific Interpreter & Translator Behavioral Interview Questions

Learn more about answering behavioral interview questions by using the STAR interview technique.

  1. What do you consider your area of specialization as an interpreter or translator? Can you give me an example?
  2. Tell me what actions you took to improve your skills last year? Do you partake in any specific training programs?
  3. Give me an example of a time you had to work with a difficult client. What made it so difficult, and what did you learn from the situation?
  4. Tell me about a time you faced an ethical dilemma in your work. How did you deal with this situation?
  5. Give me a recent example of a time you successfully translated and shared a difficult piece of information.
  6. Tell me about a time you demonstrated the ability to adapt to a rapidly changing situation.
  7. What do you consider a communication barrier in interpreting? Can you explain how you overcome these barriers?
  8. Describe a time you had to interpret or translate profanity or unpleasant information. How did you handle this situation? Did it affect you?
  9. Give me an example of how you prepare for an interpretation or translation session.
  10. Describe a time you made a mistake in translation or did not understand a specific part or phrase. How did you handle that situation? What did you learn from it?

Learn more about questions to ask the interviewer during your job interview.