Interpreting is spoken. An interpreter works with speakers of different languages to allow them to converse; the interpreter listens to every word that is spoken and then repeats every word in the language of the listener. Most interpreters in the U.S. work in the legal system (i.e. courts), the healthcare system (i.e. hospitals) or during business conferences with international delegates. Interpreters must be native or have a native-like mastery of at least two languages; English and one foreign language. A professional interpreter is much more than a bilingual or multi-lingual person. Professional interpreters have had extensive training, they follow very specific protocols and possess specific, expert skills that are much more specialized than most people realize.

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