A possible shortage of English language interpreters is being taken so seriously that the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Interpreting is trying to encourage more English graduates with European language skills into the interpreting profession. They have even produced a video clip on the subject, which has been launched on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA2fWvtMPDU) in addition to a selection of EU and national websites.
Technical Translations have a team of English language interpreters covering a huge range of languages and technical expertise, but it is notable that the age profile of professional interpreters has been effected by an apparent reluctance among the best graduates to enter the interpreting profession, when offers of work in engineering, chemistry or the sciences are offering greater incentives. While it’s not necessarily easy to build a career as a specialist technical interpreter the financial and lifestyle rewards for the best interpreters are significant.
It is estimated that without a significant increase in the numbers of English language interpreters graduating from interpreter schools and universities, qualified English language interpreter numbers will decline by a staggering 50% in the next ten years. It is a fact that as qualified European and English language interpreters retire, they are just not being replaced in adequate enough numbers even to maintain the status quo.
Compounding this problem is the fact that many young people growing up in English language speaking countries do not understand the need to learn another language to interpreter standard, if at all, because English is a common language used in business. So qualified European language interpreters with English as their first language are in decline, and this opens up a huge opportunity for savvy language graduates to turn to their best advantage.
If you are a scientist or engineer with strong language skills and a desire to enter the language profession as a technical interpreter we recommend looking for more information with the Institute of Linguists.