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If you are interested in working as a Translator, Terminologist, or Interpreter in Canada, you will be pleased to know that the job outlook for your occupation in Canada is extremely positive.

You can use this overview of the Canadian employment prospects in your field to start planning your immigration and settlement in Canada.


Important statistics for this occupation:

  • The recent growing demand for information has resulted in an increase in employment in this field. As this trend is expected to be maintained, the number of translators, terminologists, and interpreters will continue to increase significantly in the coming years.
  • Many job opportunities in this field will arise from the need to replace translators, terminologists, and interpreters who are retiring, as the proportion of those aged 55 and over in 2006 was much higher than that of all occupations (22% compared with 15%, according to census data).
  • Other job opportunities will arise from employment increases and from positions vacated by people being promoted to management or leaving this profession for journalism, writing, teaching or other positions.
  • This field is very accessible to immigrants who meet the occupational requirements, as exemplified through the high percentage of immigrants in this occupation in 2006 (22% compared with 12%, according to census data).
  • The median yearly income in this field is $50,000 in Canada, with high incomes reported in the range of $73,000.

Duties for Translators, Terminologists, and Interpreters

Translators translate written material from one language to another. Interpreters translate oral communication from one language to another during speeches, meetings, conferences, debates and conversation, or in court or before administrative tribunals. Terminologists conduct research to itemize terms connected with a certain field, define them and find equivalents in another language. Sign language interpreters use sign language to translate spoken language and vice versa during meetings, conversations, television programs or in other instances. Translators, terminologists and interpreters are employed by government, private translation and interpretation agencies, in-house translation services, large private corporations, international organizations and the media, or they may be self-employed. Sign language interpreters work in schools and courts, and for social service agencies, interpretation services, government services and television stations, or they may be self-employed. 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 work in French and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) or in English and American Sign Language (ASL).

Description of Main Duties

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

  • 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
  • Localize software and accompanying technical documents to adapt them to another language and culture
  • Revise and correct translated material
  • May train and supervise other translators.

Terminologists perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Identify the terminology used in a field of activity
  • 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
  • Manage, update and circulate linguistic information collected from terminological databases
  • Provide consultative services to translators, interpreters and technical writers preparing legal, scientific or other documents that require specialized terminologies.

Interpreters perform some or all of the following duties:

  • 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)
  • Provide interpretation services in court or before administrative tribunals
  • May interpret language for individuals and small groups travelling in Canada and abroad
  • May interpret for persons speaking an Aboriginal or foreign language in a variety of circumstances
  • May train other interpreters.

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

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

Example job titles for Translators, Terminologists, and Interpreters:

  • Community interpreter
  • Conference interpreter
  • Court interpreter
  • Interpreter
  • Legal terminologist
  • Literary translator
  • Localiser
  • Medical terminologist
  • Sign language interpreter
  • Terminologist
  • Translator
  • Translator adaptor
  • Translator-reviser

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