Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters


What they do?

Translators and translator-revisers perform some or all of the following duties:

A. Provide consultative services to translators, interpreters and technical writers preparing legal, scientific or other documents requiring specialized terminologies.

Interpreters perform some or all of the following duties:

A. Interpret oral communication from one language to another aloud or using electronic equipment, either simultaneously (as the speaker speaks), consecutively (after the speaker speaks) or whispered (speaking in a low whisper to one or two persons as the speaker is talking)

B. Provide interpretation services in court or before administrative tribunals

C. May interpret language for individuals and small groups travelling in Canada and abroad

D. May interpret for persons speaking a Native or foreign language in a variety of circumstances

E. May train other interpreters.

F. Translators, terminologists and interpreters specialize in two languages, such as French and English, the official languages of Canada. They may also specialize in another language and one of the official languages. The main areas of specialization include administrative, literary, scientific and technical translation. Interpreters may specialize in court, parliamentary or conference interpretation.

Sign language interpreters perform some or all of the following duties:

A. Translate sign language to a spoken language and vice versa either simultaneously or consecutively.

B. Translate a variety of written material such as correspondence, reports, legal documents, technical specifications and textbooks from one language to another, maintaining the content, context and style of the original material to the greatest extent possible

C. Sign language interpreters work in French and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) or in English and American Sign Language (ASL).

D. Localize software and accompanying technical documents to adapt them to another language and culture

E. Revise and correct translated material

F. May train and supervise other translators.

Terminologists perform some or all of the following duties:

A. Identify the terminology used in a field of activity

B. Conduct terminological research on a given subject or in response to inquiries for the preparation of glossaries, terminology banks, technological files, dictionaries, lexicons and resource centres, and add to terminological databases

C. Manage, update and circulate linguistic information collected from terminological databases

Where they find work?

1. Other professional scientific and technical services - 47.0%
2. Public administration - 17.0%

What education do I need?

1. In general, to be a translator, terminologist or interpreter, you usually need a university degree with specialization in your related field such as translation, terminology or interpretation. You also need specialization in two languages, one of which should be an official language of Canada.

2. A university degree in a related field such as languages or linguistics plus courses in linguistic transfer and two years' experience as a translator or five years' experience as a translator may substitute for a specialized university degree.

3. To be a translator, terminologist or interpreter, you may need certification by dossier or exam from the Canadian Translators' and Interpreters' Council and membership in your provincial/territorial association. You usually need to be fluent in three languages to obtain work in an international context.

4. To be a sign language interpreter, you usually need a college training program or university certificate in sign language interpretation. You may also require a certification in LSQ or ASL and/or membership in a provincial/territorial association of sign language interpreters.

5. Most recent entrants have an undergraduate university degree.

High School Subject that will help:

  1. Social Studies
  2. English (Communication)
  3. A Second Language

What can you expect to make:

The average hourly wages for Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters is $21.34/HR, which is close to the average for occupations in the art, culture, recreation and sport sector and are below average for all professional occupations. These wages grew at an average rate from 2002 to 2004.

Average Wage

Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters wages

Expected Wage by Age

Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Wage By Age


5% of Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters are unemployed. This rate is above the average for professionnal occupations.


Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Unemployment

Trends in Unemployment

Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Trends in Unemployment

Current Job Outlook:

The job outlook for Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters is considered Average because:

1. Employment grew at an average rate.

2. Hourly wages ($21.34) are close to the average ($18.07), and the rate of wage growth is close to the average.

3. The unemployment rate (5%) is close to the 2004 average (7%).

Future Job Prospects:

Your job outlook will continue to be Average because:

1. The employment growth rate will likely be average. However, the government should continue to require translation work.

2. Although the retirement rate will likely be average, the number of retiring workers should contribute to job openings.

3. The number of job seekers will likely exceed the number of job openings.

Highest Concetration:

The highest concentrations (per 10,000 people) of Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters are found in Quebec and Ontario while the lowest concentrations are in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.

Unionization Rate:

The unionization rate (46%) is close to the average (32%) for all occupations.

Useful Experience:

1. Communication skills

2. More than one language

3. Specialized terminology

Part Time Workers

Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Part Time Workers

Part time workers:

33% of Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters are employed only on a part-time basis. There were 12,700 workers employed in these occupations in 2004, a decrease of 9% since 1997.

Age Demographics

Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Age Demographics

Age Demographics:

The retirement rate to 2009 will likely be average reflecting the age/retirement structure of the occupation.

Self Employed

Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Self Employed

Self Employed:

Roughly 49% of Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters are self-employed. This is considered Above average for the industry as a whole.

Men vs Women

Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Men vs Women

Men vs Women:

71% of the individuals employed as Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters are women. Compared to other industries, this is Above average .