Interpreters transfer spoken or signed languages into other spoken or signed languages, usually within a limited timeframe in the presence of the participants requiring the translation.
Provides simultaneous and consecutive verbal or signed renditions of speeches into another language.
Renders the meaning and feeling of what is said and signed into another language in the appropriate register and style in a range of settings such as courts, hospitals, schools, workplaces and conferences.
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Social Professionals, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 22% of people employed as Interpreters work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 44 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 41 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Interpreters||All Jobs Average|
Around 83% of Interpreters live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
Victoria has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
- Melbourne - South East
- Melbourne - West
- Sydney - Parramatta
- Sydney - Inner South West
- Melbourne - Inner.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Interpreters is 50 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 67% of the workforce. This is 19 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Interpreters||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||14.4||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
Formal qualifications and the ability to speak foreign languages fluently are both needed to work as an Interpreter. University and Vocational Education and Training (VET) are both common study pathways.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Community Services VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Interpreters||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||22.3||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||2.7||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Social Professionals who have good leadership and planning skills, with a strong ability to communicate.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Reading work related information.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Talking to others.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Looking for ways to help people.
43%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
43%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Teaching people how to do something.
43%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
36%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
72%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
59%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
57%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
55%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
52%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
52%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
47%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
43%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
42%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
37%History and archeology
Events of the past, their causes, how we learn about them, and how they influence the way we live today.
37%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
34%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
29%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Communicate by speaking.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Read and understand written information.
Write in a way that people can understand.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
52%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
45%Speed of recognition
Quickly make sense of and organize things you can see like letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Do two or more things at the same time.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Tell the difference between sounds.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
85%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
85%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
76%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
72%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
71%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
70%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
70%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
68%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
65%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
63%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
61%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
57%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
54%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
51%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
50%Coaching and developing others
Working out the needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping them to improve.
47%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
47%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
47%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
44%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
97%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
92%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Talk on the telephone.
Use electronic mail.
79%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
79%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
78%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
Work with people in a group or team.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
75%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
73%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
71%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
67%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
65%Disease or infection
Be exposed to disease or infections.
Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.
62%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
62%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
60%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
59%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 27-3091.00 - Interpreters and Translators.