Top 20 Interpreter Interview Questions & Answers in 2024

Editorial Team

Interpreter Interview Questions & Answers

Who is an interpreter? This is an individual whose main work is to translate speech or written documents into another language

Below are the top 20 Interpreter Interview Questions and Answers

1.   Why Are You Interested In This Role?

When your interviewer asks you this question, all they need to know is why you want to work for them. Talk about using your knowledge learned to better performance and learning from them as well.

Sample Answer

“Firstly, when I learned that you were recruiting, I was motivated to apply for this job since this is my area of profession and I would like to use the skills and knowledge that I have gained to better this sector. In addition, I would like to improve my skills and knowledge in this area by learning more from your organization as far as interpretation services are concerned. Lastly, I want to use the knowledge that I have to earn a living and support my family back at home.”

2.   What Are The Roles Of An Interpreter?

The interviewer wants to know whether you are aware of the roles that you are supposed to conduct as an interpreter. Talk about the key duties and responsibilities of an interpreter. However, it is important to remember that you can take up English learning courses with an international foundation programme to understand and deliver your roles better.

Sample Answer

“As an interpreter, there are several duties that I am entitled to. The main ones are’

i)             Interacting with clients and visitors to translate foreign languages and facilitate in an organization.

ii)           Translating both written and spoken words to the target language with accuracy, efficiency, and consistency.

iii)          Lead conversation between multilingual groups to communicate important ideas and mitigate the effects of a language barrier.

iv)          Facilitating communication with clients in a friendly way, positive manner and always engaging in active listening skills to maximize the effectiveness of interpretation.

v)            Identify terms with contradictions and replace them with easy words that can be understood better by clients

vi)          Collaborate with colleagues to compile helpful information including terms and definitions.

Those are the key duties and responsibilities of an interpreter. I would be delighted to perform them and other duties relevant to this field in your organization.”

3.   What Are The Qualities That An Interpreter Need To Be Successful

The interviewer expects you to tell them about the qualities that you think might help you be successful in this field. Talk about the key qualities that you have that can help you become successful in your career.

Sample Answer

“As an interpreter, it is not all about the academic qualifications that you need to have. You also need some qualities, or other personal responsibilities that will help you be successful in this field. A good interpreter should have amazing language skills since there is a lot about language in this field. They should also have specialty knowledge in a specific specialization. Accreditation is also an important quality of a good interpreter. A good interpreter should have soft skills to enable them to first listen and explain to others in a polite way using the right language. Lastly, a good interpreter should be culture competent since they need to understand different types of languages from different communities.”

4.   What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage?

The interviewer is asking you about the difficulties that you came across in your previous role as an interpreter. Talk about the challenges that you encountered and how you managed them.

Sample Answer

“Sometimes, you might encounter a speaker who is inaudible or even a transcript that you are working on is not as clear as you expected. This was a major challenge that I have encountered throughout my career. Again, some speech said in a certain language may slightly differ in meaning when they are translated in another language. For example, when someone makes a joke in the original language, it may sound funny than when it is translated to another language. To manage the difficulty of hearing the speaker, I just needed to be more attentive while listening and ask for clarification whenever I did not get the word correctly.”

5.   Describe Your Daily Routine As An Interpreter?

The interpreter wants to learn your daily schedule while you are working. Give them a very organized schedule starting with the first activity until the last activity that you would perform daily,

Sample Answer

“Once I arrive at the office, I check the mails and voicemails that might have been sent to my department concerning work. I would then start working on interpretation of documents from the original language to the target language. After that, I would attend to any client who needs my interpretation services. This time, I have to fully translate everything as it is for accuracy and better understanding. After that, I would get back to attend to any voice audios that need to be translated on that day and then call it a day. That would be a busy working day as an interpreter.”

6.   Describe Briefly About Your Experience

In this question, the interviewer wants to know your previous work exposure in this industry. Talk about where you have worked before, for how long you have worked , and the skills and knowledge that you have gained.

Sample Answer

“After my university studies, I was employed at a government exam setting body where I must say that I gained a lot of experience. I worked as an interpreter there for seven years, and I was able to gain a lot of experience from it. We could translate exams in different kinds of languages and also simplify the difficult terms to terms that would be understood better by the candidates. During my stay there, I had exposure to different kinds of languages and culture since we could get much into the language community that we were working on. I hope I will get a chance to use these experiences to work for you.”

7.   What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?

The interviewer wants to know your attitude towards this role. Here, you need to talk about the main focus of an interpreter as far as this career is concerned.

Sample Answer

“As an interpreter, my main focus in this career is always giving accurate and the right information that is required. In addition, giving the needed type of information to the target audience or reader is very essential. I am always focused on giving good results when it comes to interpretation.”

8.   What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?

Your interviewer wants you to tell them what type of challenges is likely to face this industry in the future. Talk about the main challenge that you think might affect this role in the future.

Sample Answer

“The main challenge that I foresee in this industry is lack of proper knowledge of local culture. There are a lot of communities in the world and you might come across a language that you know but you are not familiar with the culture background of the community. This makes it hard for the interpreter to interpret the text or speech in the expected manner.”

9.   How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?

Your interviewer wants to know what gives you psych in your work. Talk about what it is that gives you daily morale to work as expected.

Sample Answer

“As an interpreter, I must say that you also get to learn a lot that can help you personally. Learning other people’s language and culture can help you a lot such that whenever you go to a place, you are conversant with the language and culture. This makes you fit almost everywhere all over the world. This is what motivates me to keep working as an interpreter. It equips me with a lot of knowledge on other people’s culture and language.”

10.   Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lessons You Learnt

In this question, the interpreter wants to know a time when you made a mistake while working but still it was a lesson taught to you. Talk about the events when you failed in your role and the lesson you learned.

Sample Answer

“I must admit that I must have made a mistake in my career. And so, we learn from our mistakes. One time when I was doing a booth interpretation, all was going well until I noticed that I had not switched on my microphone. This is a very common mistake that happens to many interpreters. I learned that when doing booth or conference interpretation, you need to make sure that you turn on your microphone. ”

11.   Why Do You Feel You Are Most Suited For This Role?

Here, the interviewer wants to know why you think you are the only candidate they are looking for. Talk about your unique qualities, skills, and qualifications that you have over the other candidates who are attending the interview.

Sample Answer

“This is a post that is very crucial and requires a lot of knowledge of it. I have six years of experience from a very busy industry as far as interpretation is concerned. This is the kind of experience needed for this post. I believe the academic qualifications that are attached in my curriculum vitae also tell something about me as well. I believe that you will consider the highest experience possible for effective results in your institution as far as this career is concerned.”

12.   Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement

The interviewer wants you to share with them the greatest achievements that you have attained so far. Talk about the goals you have attained, promotions, and any awards that you have ever received that are relevant to this field.

Sample Answer

“Since I have all these years of experience in this field, of course we expect great rewards due to commendable work done by me. In the year 2019, I was awarded as the best interpreter in the county and that came after taking a very competitive test that is taken to determine the level of your interpretation skills. This was the biggest achievement that I have ever received. It came along with a certificate attached to my curriculum vitae and a gold medal.”

13.   Tell Us Five Places Or Events Where You Can Work As An Interpreter

The interviewer wants to know where you can avail your skills at, as far as this field is concerned.

Sample Answer

“As an interpreter, there are several places I can work as one. Few among them are, schools, hospitals, Courtrooms, meeting rooms, and conference centres. Those are the top five places where I can avail my skills as an interpreter.”

14.   What Are The Three Types Of Interpretation?

The interviewer wants to know whether you are aware of the different types of interpretation in this career.

Sample Answer

“There are three types of interpretation. They are;

i)             Simultaneous interpretation- This is a form of interpretation where the speaker makes the speech and the interpreter reformulates it simultaneously.

ii)           Consecutive interpretation- This is a mode of interpretation where the speaker makes a speech and the interpreter takes notes and presents them to the target audience while being interpreted.

iii)          Sight interpretation- This is where an interpreter interprets a text to another language on a written document.

These are the three main types of interpretations that I have all the capabilities to perform.”

15.   What Languages Are You Proficient In?

The interviewer wants to know which languages you are comfortable with while working. List them.

Sample Answer

“I must say that I have learned a lot of languages but these would be the ones I am comfortable with

i)             English

ii)           Spanish

iii)          Germany

iv)          Greek

v)            Chinese”

16.    Is Technology Important To This Field? And How Is It?

The interviewer wants to know how you see technology and how you can involve it in your activities as an interpreter. Answer the question and explain it.

Sample Answer

“As an interpreter, technology is essential while working. Technology will help an interpreter produce accurate and fast delivery of results. The use of mail voices and transcripts are some of the advantages that have come along with technology in this field. Technology also gives you conveniences when interpreting since you can rewind an audio to listen whenever you did not get a clear understanding of the speech.”

17.    What Are The Benefits Of Interpretation?

The interviewer wants to know whether you know what your services do to other people. Talk about the top advantages of interpretation.

Sample Answer

“Interpretation comes with a lot of benefits to other people in the society. Through interpretation, people are able to understand one another even if they are not speaking from the same language. Also, people are able to document several documents about a speech in different types of languages that can be understandable to anyone that is interested. Interpretation helps us to provide the information on those who have hearing challenges and so they can read comfortably. Lastly, it helps people and the society reunite through having a common massage but in different languages that everyone is comfortable with.“

18.    What Are Your Goals In The Next Ten Years

The interviewer wants to know what your goals are in this career. Talk about where you are seeing yourself in the next ten years.

Sample Answer

“Since this is a career that I chose myself out of willingness to facilitate communication by helping them understand it in all dimensions, I hope that in the next five years I will be among the interpreters that work under the president’s office. This is a goal that I have had since I started this career and I believe that I will have attained it in ten years. That would be my greatest goal in my career.”

19.    Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?

The interviewer wants to know why you quit your previous job to look for another.Talk about your reasons for being jobless.

Sample Answer

“In my previous role, I must say that it was one of my best experiences that I have ever had in my career. This is where I started from. But, it is always good to look for advancements and change the environment of your workplace. I thought it was best for me to acquire different knowledge and skills in this career. I hope that this will be the next environment to work in.”

20.    What Would Your Previous Boss Say About You?

The interviewer wants to evaluate your relationship with your bosses and other colleagues in your last workplace. Talk about the nice things your previous boss would say about you.

Sample Answer

“Since I started under my previous boss, Mr. Godfrey, we have had a very good relationship. I believe that he would say that I am a friendly person, a hardworking one, and easy to cope up with.”


Being an interpreter is one of the jobs that can benefit society and you as well. Answer the questions using polite language free of grammar errors and you will pass the interview. All the best!