Top 21 Interpreters Interview Questions In 2021 [With Answers]

We live in a diverse world with hundreds of countries and thousands of dialects. It is obvious that not everyone is well versed in a foreign language. Big corporate organizations operating globally often find the need to understand, interpret and analyze a foreign language in order to make better and informed business decisions. This gives birth to the necessity of a specialized person, having the ability to converse, read and write in several foreign languages. An interpreter is a widely recognized and sought-after profession, often fetching fat paychecks and lucrative incentives.

Best 21 Questions To Study

1) What Languages Are You Aware Of?

This question would enable an interviewer to know what languages you are capable of speaking, understanding, and writing. Make sure you have at least the working knowledge of the requisite language mentioned in the job description.

Sample Answer

Sir, I have proficiency in English which is my mother tongue. Further, I have expert knowledge in French with expert level skills in writing as well as speaking. In addition to this, I have the ability to speak Chinese Mandarin with 60% to 70% fluency.

2) How Do You Maintain The Integrity Of Interpreted Document?

This question tests your knowledge about the various issues faced in the practical job.

Sample Answer

Maintaining the efficacy and integrity of an interpreted document is of high importance. An incorrectly translated document might convey a wrong message and defeat the entire purpose of having the services of a translator in the first place. In order to do this, initially, I always check the grammar of the translated document, so as to ensure that sentences are correct and meaningful. Further, I always match the essence of the outcome with the original document by reading it several times.

3) What Is The Difference Between Translator and Interpretor?

This question tests your awareness, understanding and knowledge of your own profession.

Sample Answer

The primary role of a translator is to convert the documents written in foreign languages into the language used domestically. On the other hand, an interpreter is tasked with both, translating the documents as well as interpreting and decoding the foreign oral messages into the domestic language or any other language as directed by his or her boss. I believe, sometimes interpreters have to work in real-time, which makes their job and role even more challenging and demanding.

4) Why Should We Hire You?

This is a common interview question that requires you to share some of the unique and special abilities of your’s with your interviewer.

Sample Answer

Being in a similar profession for the past 3 years, I have worked with several esteemed organizations including a short internship of 3 months with the U.S. Military and Intelligence Services. I am a hard-working person who is a master in one’s primary trade. If selected I can prove to be an asset to the organization and I can contribute with all my passion, labor, and zeal.

5) How Efficient Are Computer Assisted Translations?

This question tests your level of awareness of all the modern tools and technologies that affect and influence your profession.

Sample Answer

With the advent of technology more and more interpreters are now relying on Computer-assisted interpretations, like Google Translate. It is good to move with the pace of time and adopt new and modern ways of executing a task or job. But still, technologies are marred by technical glitches and are limited to the number of words fed in them by their developers. It has been observed that sometimes a few interpretations are quite absurd, meaningless, and inefficient, incapable of being used in any manner. Hence, technology must be used with caution and care.

6) Which Is Your Favorite Language?

This question tests your mindset and your passion towards languages.

Sample Answer

My mother tongue, English is my favorite language, as it is not only the global language but also spoken by a large number of people across the world. In addition to this, I also love to read and write in French, as I believe it is a very scientific language and has some definite rules of grammar.

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7) What Are Your Views On Repetition Jobs?

This question tests your mindset and approach towards jobs that are repetitive in nature.

Sample Answer

I am not a diplomatic person, rather honest and true. I would give a pretty straightforward answer here. There is no doubt that repetitive jobs are boring and might lead you to into monotony. A daily schedule might crush you with the burden of performing them. But, there is a flip side too. When you perform similar tasks daily, you tend to become efficient in them and become a master of them. Monotony can be avoided if one maintains a high level of concentration and focus. Once you achieve perfection, you will find such tasks entertaining rather than boring.

8) How Important Is Working In A Team?

This question tests your approach and viewpoints towards working in a team setting.

Sample Answer

I believe, working in a team is very important to achieve efficiency and time-bound completion of the tasks. When employees are grouped together as a team and are tasked to perform similar operations, that increases effectiveness and enhances the individual performances of all the team members. Teams allow an organization to enjoy the rich benefits of synergies which enable them to complete tasks in a cost-efficient manner.

9) How Do You Handle Criticism?

This is a common interview question, that evaluates your ability to handle negative feedback and criticism.

Sample Answer

I always take criticisms, disapproval, and condemnations in a positive way. I believe, these are the only things using which an individual can improve his or her mistakes and become superior. Criticisms are sort of wake-up calls for an individual that motivates them to improve their individual performances and work with increased concentration and focus.

10) Which Additional Language You Would Love To Learn?

This question tests your personality and your love for languages.

Sample Answer

Being a committed and loyal employee of the organization, I would love to learn new languages as per the requirements of my employer. I am always open to new learning and strictly prohibit obscurantism. Further, If I am given the freedom to pick one, I would love to study the Persian language, as I think, that would enable me to have an insight into the mindset of some great kings and emperors.

11) How Efficient Are You In Real Time Interpretation?

Real time interpretation refers to an interpretation method, in which you have to interpret an oral foreign language telephonic conversation into the domestic language at the same time. This is really tough, and requires significant exposure and grip on one’s language.

Sample Answer

I believe real-time interpretations are the toughest when we consider the various duties of an interpreter. This requires an excellent grip on one’s foreign language as well as the ability to frame meaningful sentences keeping the essence of the message intact. I have a strong grip on the french and Spanish languages and can perform real-time interpretations of these languages with high efficiency.

12) How Important Is The Understanding Of Accents/Dialects While Interpreting?

This question tests your knowledge of the various practical working procedures.

Sample Answer

There are so many countries in this world. The way English is spoken in the USA is different from the way it is spoken in India or even the United Kingdom. This fact amazes me and at the same time poses new challenges and hurdles to an effective interpretation. It is of utmost importance to have a complete sense of the general accent including slang, in order to deliver an accurate and efficient interpretation. Otherwise, you would most probably confuse between similar terms and the outcome would be marred by this shortcoming.

13) Can You Work Under Strict Deadlines?

Organizations hiring interpreters require them to work under strict deadlines. In order to achieve them, you might be required to work for long hours in a day maintaining high concentration and focus.

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Sample Answer

Yes sir, absolutely. I have the ability and skills to work under strict deadlines and deliver superior interpretations in a time-bound manner because I am proficient in my foreign language and can work really fast with high levels of concentration and composure.

14) Tell Me About A Time You Disagreed With Your Senior?

This is a common interview question seeking practical responses in relation to various issues faced by an employee while being in employment.

Sample Answer

We are all different and have different viewpoints. It is absolutely normal to have a disagreement or discord on a particular matter while working together. I had a similar situation while working with ABC Sales Corporation, wherein I was asked to do an interpretation of a french coded message using basic French grammar. I told my senior that coded messages must be first decoded and then only we can translate them. But. he ignored me and I was forced to do the task as per his liking. The ultimate result was a failure.

15) What Motivates You To Work?

This question evaluates your driving force or motivation that enables you to work and contribute an organization with your skills and efforts.

Sample Answer

Being a family of 6, I am the sole earner in my family. My primary reason to work, to be very honest, is my appetite or hunger to earn money so that I can feed my family as well as parents and younger brothers and sisters efficiently. But, this in no way makes me a mercenary, and my desire to become better in my own field also motivates me to work and deliver superior performances.

16) Are You Too Detail Oriented?

This question tests the way you initiate a task from the scratch.

Sample Answer

No sir. But yes I am meticulous and it is my style and preference to give due attention to even the smallest and trivial matters in a time-efficient manner. I do believe, that getting all the requisite information before initiating a task is of prime importance, but I never waste any time in doing it. I only collect relevant and meaningful information and start making interpretations.

17) Why You Chose Us?

This question tests your commitment and seriousness towards the organization you sought to work for.

Sample Answer

Being a multi-national corporation with operations spread in the whole of Europe and America, it would be a dream come true to work for an organization like yours. You are a pioneer in your field and always post some tremendous results, which marks your success and achievements as an organization as a whole. I believe, my skills would be honed in an adorable fashion while working here, which would help me in career advancement.

18) Will You Include Words From Your Side In An Interpreted Document?

This is an important question. The responses generated will enable an interviewer to evaluate how much personal influence is acceptable for you while interpreting a document.

Sample Answer

The typical textbook rules of interpretations will always condemn and strictly prohibit any personal influence or addition of words from the side of an interpreter. But, when one works in a practical and professional setting, no matter how proficient he or she is, a few words are required to be added in order to construct a meaningful and non-ambiguous sentence. However, this must be done whenever it is necessary and must not be done arbitrarily everywhere.

19) Which Book Have You Read Most Recently?

This question evaluates your personality, personal interests and opinions. Try to answer smartly and do not choose books related to love or romance.

Sample Answer

Sir, I am a vivid book reader and I have recently read a book written in the French language by a prominent French author on ways to enhance self-confidence. It is (____mention the name of your book____). I really like the confidence-boosting ways and methods mentioned in the book. I feel they are very engaging and have helped my cause thoroughly.

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20) What Is Your Biggest Strength?

This is a common interview question that requires you to share your strength with your interviewer. It is advised that this question must be answered after careful self-analysis and scrutiny. Post this, write at least two strengths on a piece of paper and prepare their answers.

Sample Answer

In my humble opinion, my ability to take initiative and volunteer is my biggest strength. You will always find me improvising my areas of operations and enhancing my quality of work by taking a self-initiative. Also, whenever there is an issue with any employee, I always take initiative to comfort him or her and counsel accordingly so that his or her individual performance is not affected and the organization is able to achieve the targets.

21) Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

This is the last question that you will encounter in an interview session conducted to fill any vacancy. This question requires you to ask a few questions from your interviewer which are related to your job profile, duties to be performed, and the organization you have applied with. Skipping this question is not wise and you might reduce your selection chances drastically.

Sample Questions

  • What are the various benefits extended by an organization to its employees working overtime?
  • What are the timings for this job?
  • Are you willing to extend insurance policies to employee’s family?
  • Does the organization provide free snacks and beverages at the workplace?
  • What are the organization’s policies in relation to maternity/paternity leaves?

Conclusion

The role of an interpreter requires you to have a deep knowledge of at least one foreign language. The working hours are often hectic and you might be required to work for long stretched hours. However, the pay is quite bright and you will enjoy lucrative benefits. Also, interviews are not a cakewalk and require some serious preparation. If you like our articles then don’t forget to share them with your family and friends. Also, do let us know through the comments section below, how much you like our articles.

References

  1. https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/meta/1900-v1-n1-meta2114/017982ar/abstract/
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/josl.12056

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