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NOC Code: NOC Code: 5125 Occupation: Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Translators translate written material from one language to another. Interpreters translate oral communication from one language to another during speeches, meetings, conferences, debates and conversation, or in court or before administrative tribunals. Terminologists conduct research to itemize terms connected with a certain field, define them and find equivalents in another language. Sign language interpreters use sign language to translate spoken language and vice versa during meetings, conversations, television programs or in other instances. Translators, terminologists and interpreters are employed by government, private translation and interpretation agencies, in-house translation services, large private corporations, international organizations and the media, or they may be self-employed. Sign language interpreters work in schools and courts, and for social service agencies, interpretation services, government services and television stations, or they may be self-employed. Translators translate written material from one language to another. Interpreters translate oral communication from one language to another during speeches, meetings, conferences, debates and conversation, or in court or before administrative tribunals. Terminologists conduct research to itemize terms connected with a certain field, define them and find equivalents in another language. Sign language interpreters use sign language to translate spoken language and vice versa during meetings, conversations, television programs or in other instances. Translators, terminologists and interpreters are employed by government, private translation and interpretation agencies, in-house translation services, large private corporations, international organizations and the media, or they may be self-employed. Sign language interpreters work in schools and courts, and for social service agencies, interpretation services, government services and television stations, or they may be self-employed.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4 5
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4 5
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3 4
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read text entries in terminological databases and on forms. For example, a translator may read definitions of words in database search results. A terminologist may read a translator's questions about the use of a term in a consulting request form. A school sign language interpreter may read a teacher's description of a deaf student's behaviour in a log book entry. (2)
  • Read short email from clients, co-workers and colleagues to learn about new job assignments, meeting and conference call arrangements and the status of ongoing work. (2)
  • Scan advertisements, corporate brochures, handbooks, conference proceedings, newspapers and magazines for information relevant to the job assignments. For example, an interpreter may scan newspaper articles and conference background texts to develop an awareness of subjects and events which will be discussed during a federal-provincial conference. A terminologist may read corporate brochures and handbooks to analyze the contents for term research. (3)
  • Read requests for proposals for projects which involve the provision of translation, terminology consulting and interpretation services. Read proposal requests to learn about the scope of proposed work, mandatory requirements for credentials and experience, evaluation criteria and selection processes and to determine whether you have the necessary skills and resources to undertake the projects. (4)
  • Read textbooks, essays, reports and manuals to locate and contextualize specialist vocabularies and prepare for job assignments. A sign language interpreter in a secondary school may read textbooks used to teach technical, literary or scientific subject matter in classes. (Translators and Interpreters) (4)
  • Read textbooks, essays, journals and manuals to conduct terminological research for the purpose of creating and maintaining terminological databases. For example, read organizational manuals and reference works to identify, classify and define concepts relating to a given topic. Read journals treating subjects of interest to find neologisms, their meanings, contexts and usage status among specialists in the field. (Terminologists) (4)
  • Read lengthy texts on technical and expert topics to translate them to other languages. Pay close attention to the meaning, context, structure and style of the original texts in order to translate them faithfully and adapt them suitably for other cultures. For example, a translator may read scientific reports, legal documents, school manuals, technical specifications and other texts. A localisor may read texts from software, compact disks, databases and websites. A translator-adaptor may read the television scripts of scientific documentaries. (Translators) (4)
  • Read proofread translated and source texts to proofread and revise. Verify accuracy, quality, grammar, and spelling, punctuation and typographical errors. Read these texts carefully, making high-level inferences to provide criticism and suggestions on aspects such as word selection, and sentence construction, accuracy and clarity of meaning. For example, a translator-reviser may read lengthy proofread translated and original versions of lengthy medical and legal publications to provide revised versions. (Translators) (5)
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Writing
  • Write text entries in forms. For example, write the definitions of words and expressions in electronic forms to update glossaries and terminological databases. Sign language interpreters may write logbook entries to describe lessons completed with deaf students. (2)
  • Write email to clients, co-workers and colleagues to confirm receipt, understanding and acceptance of job assignments, plan meetings and conference calls, ask for information and respond to enquiries. (2)
  • Write the minutes of meetings with clients, co-workers and colleagues. Summarize discussions, record decisions made and note items requiring follow-up. Use clear and concise language to ensure all parties share a common understanding of issues, timelines and action plans. For example, a terminologist may write the proceedings of a meeting of the NATO Military Committee on Terminology. (3)
  • Write letters to colleagues, clients and individuals from various organizations. For example, a corporate terminologist may write a letter to company lawyers offering an official linguistic opinion concerning the adoption of a product name and trademark. (3)
  • Write proposals for projects which involve the provision of translation, terminology consulting and interpretation services. In these proposals, address project objectives, identify project team members and describe the team's academic backgrounds and relevant work experiences. For example, a translator may prepare a proposal to assist a national company with the translation of its internal communication and advertising materials. (4)
  • Translate and adapt various lengthy texts from one language to another. While the structure and style of the original texts has to be maintained, there may be a need to modify the content to reflect cultural differences. There may be a need to convey abstract, technical and creative concepts and use specialized vocabulary. For example, a government translator may translate an employment insurance appeal. A localisor may translate new accounting software. A translator- may adapt a humorous corporate advertising campaign to be equally amusing in the target language. A translator-adaptor may prepare the French adaptation of a movie script originally written in English. (Translators) (5)
  • Write glossaries, technological files, linguistic bulletins, dictionaries, lexicons and other terminological resource materials for standardization purposes. Gather, analyze and synthesize knowledge from multiple terminological searches. For example, a government terminologist may write a glossary for health services. A self-employed terminologist may write an English-French dictionary for medical and paramedical sciences. A corporate terminologist may write a series of linguistic bulletins addressing terminologies specific to topics such as information technology security, money laundering, environmental science and advertising campaigns. (Terminologists) (5)
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Document Use
  • Locate data on labels and signs. For example, a sign language interpreter may scan dials and labels on a closed-circuit television to verify if the equipment is set for a deaf-blind student. (1)
  • Locate data in lists, tables and schedules. For example, translators may scan menus to locate search options in terminological databases. They may scan database output tables to locate verbs and synonyms. Court interpreters may scan dockets to identify when they are expected in court. They find the correct spelling of words by consulting dictionaries, grammar and conjugation books. (2)
  • Enter data into lists, tables and schedules. For example, translators may enter word counts and other workload data into spreadsheets. Interpreters may enter dates, locations and clients' names into work schedules and update lists of essential terminology with new terms. (2)
  • Complete entry forms. For example, terminologists may complete electronic forms to update terminological databases. They may enter data such as field names, key terms, equivalents, sources, authors' names and dates. Sign language interpreters may complete logbooks to record the numbers and types of lessons completed with deaf students. (3)
  • Locate data on forms. For example, a terminologist may review a consulting request form to locate the source's name, organization, location, telephone number and questions. A translator may locate all text to be translated on application forms. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Use graphics software. For example, create or translate slide shows using presentation software such as PowerPoint. Import scanned illustrations, tables and graphs. (2)
  • Access on-line terminological databases. Perform keyword searches to find information to further your understanding of source texts. (2)
  • Receive correspondence and send email with attachments pertaining to work assignments to clients, co-workers and colleagues. Sign language interpreters may also use text telephone systems to send messages to hearing impaired individuals. (2)
  • Create workload, invoice and expense spreadsheets using programs such as Excel. Embed formulas to perform calculations. (3)
  • Use word processing to prepare letters, glossaries, minutes of meetings, translations, proposals and linguistic bulletins using programs such as Word and WordPerfect. Supplement text with imported graphs, illustrations and spreadsheets. Use formatting features such as page numbering, heading levels, indices, footnotes and columns. Translators may also use word count and spell-check functions on finished translations. (3)
  • Enter, update and retrieve information on the definition, translation, correct spelling, synonyms and idiomatic equivalents of words from terminological databases such as Termium and Termium Plus. Search, display and print data from these databases. Terminologists may also create terminological records for specialized vocabulary entering terms, equivalents, alternate terms, definitions, contexts, sources, usage labels, and subject fields into databases. (3)
  • Use financial software. For example, freelance translators, terminologists and interpreters may enter purchases and sales to journals using financial software such as Simply Accounting. They may also print out customer statements and use quarterly sales tax report functions. (3)
  • Use computer and software applications. For example, use translation memory programs such as Trados and WordFisher to constitute translation memories as they translate, ensure terminological consistency within and between translated documents and recall text that has already been translated. Use automatic phrasal extraction tools such as SychroTerm to enter and retrieve terminological equivalents using pairs of original and translated texts, known as bitexts. Use extraction tools such as LogiTerm to search terminological database records, bitexts and archives simultaneously. Use automated translation tools such as SDL Enterprise Translation Server and SDL Knowledge-based Translation System to prepare preliminary translations which can be revised to obtain desired quality levels. (Translators and Terminologists) (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Talk to suppliers and purchasing officers to order and enquire about equipment and supplies. For example, a sign language interpreter may talk to a supplier to enquire about the cost of a text telephone system designed to assist hearing impaired individuals. (1)
  • Discuss task assignments, work scheduling and delivery dates with managers and client service coordinators. Negotiate deadlines, assess satisfaction with services provided and identify opportunities for other work. (2)
  • Discuss technical matters with clients, co-workers and colleagues. For example, translators often call clients to tactfully clarify the meaning of poorly written texts. Terminologists may counsel translators, interpreters and technical writers about appropriateness of terms to be used in legal, scientific, business and other documents. Interpreters may discuss conference materials and subject-matter specific terms. (3)
  • Teach other translators, terminologists and interpreters about work methods, procedures and systems. For example, translators and terminologists may train co-workers to use computer-aided translation and terminological tools. They may teach the steps trainees have to follow when using particular software functions. They may explain applicable methods, demonstrate tasks, facilitate discussions and question trainees to ascertain their understanding of procedures. Interpreters may monitor and critique the work of interpreters in training. (3)
  • Translate speech from one language to another simultaneously and consecutively, sometimes using electronic equipment. Provide whispered interpretation to particular individuals as conversations proceed. For example, a conference interpreter may translate oral communication from one language to another during speeches, conversations, debates, meetings, conferences and television programs. A court interpreter may translate oral communication from one language to another in courts of justice and before administrative tribunals. A sign language interpreter may translate between oral communication and sign language during conversations, meetings and television programs. (Interpreters). (4)
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Money Math
  • Calculate travel claim amounts upon return from out-of-town meetings and conferences. Calculate reimbursement for use of personal vehicles at per kilometre rates and add amounts for meals, accommodation and other expenses. (2)
  • Calculate purchase order, and invoice amounts and income and sales tax instalment amounts. For example, a translator may calculate line amounts, taxes and totals on purchase orders for office equipment and supplies. When preparing an invoice, a freelance translator may multiply the number of words translated by a unit rate, add the cost of proofreading, calculate applicable taxes and total amounts. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Prepare and monitor schedules of projects which involve the provision of translation, terminology consulting and interpretation services to public and private sector clients. Ensure that activities are progressing on schedule. Adjust schedules, as necessary, to deal with unforeseen problems. For example, a localisor may prepare and monitor the schedule of a project involving the translation of texts from a corporate database and website. (2)
  • Prepare and monitor budgets of projects. Ensure that expenditures incurred for subcontracting and travel are fully covered by the budgets. Freelance translators, terminologists and interpreters may have to change budget line items because of unexpected events. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure the duration of dialogues using timers and stopwatches. For example, translator adaptors may time movie and television dialogues to adjust dubbing. (Translators) (1)
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Data Analysis
  • Collect, analyze and interpret workload data. For example, a translator may compare the number of words translated over a period of time to identify deviations from targets. (2)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate times needed to perform job duties using past experience as a guide. For example, a translator may estimate the number of hours required to translate a thousand-word technical document. (1)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Translators, terminologists and interpreters plan job tasks to meet the needs of a maximum number of clients. They provide input into the scheduling of their own activities although their priorities may be set by managers and service coordinators. In large organizations, they need to reorganize job task sequences frequently in order to accommodate urgent requests from clients and assist co-workers who call or drop-in for information and advice. Translators, terminologists and interpreters may be responsible for assigning tasks to other translators, terminologists and interpreters. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Select audio and computer equipment to purchase. For example, self-employed translators select the most appropriate translation software in order to broaden their range of contract opportunities. They verify which translation memories are most often used by translation agencies. They also consider the costs, reliability of information and user-friendliness offered by each available option. (2)
  • Decide to bid on specific projects which involve the provision of translation, terminology consulting and interpretation services. Review requests for proposals, identify project tasks and requirements, and bid only on projects for which you have the necessary skills and resources. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Receive notification that interpreters for upcoming shifts are not in yet. Remain in interpreting booths until replacements have arrived and rearrange subsequent schedules. (Interpreters) (1)
  • Encounter terms which are not familiar. For example, encounter acronyms and technical terms with are not familiar. Consult other translators and terminologists and look up terminological databases, glossaries, technological files, specialized dictionaries, lexicons and linguistic bulletins. Also contact the authors to obtain clarifications. (Translators) (2)
  • Job tasks cannot be completed as planned because audio and computer equipment is not working properly. For example, a translator about to deliver a printed translation to a reviser may realize that the printer is not working. The translator may troubleshoot the equipment with the help of co-workers. If these troubleshooting efforts are unsuccessful, the translator may contact a service technician for assistance. (2)
  • Discover errors of vocabulary, grammar and meaning in source texts. Call clients for clarification. Tactfully suggest that texts must be reworked before they can be translated. Renegotiate contracts to add time for hours spent revising source texts as required. (Translators) (2)
  • Encounter verbal messages which are difficult to understand. For example, a witness in a discovery hearing may use a Punjabi dialect not fully understood by the court specialist providing consecutive interpretation. The latter may interrupt the speaker and ask for clarification. The interpreter must use clear and unambiguous language and refrain from leading the witness. (Interpreters) (2)
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Finding Information
  • Find information about terms which are not familiar by consulting other linguistic experts and searching terminological databases, glossaries, technological files, textbooks, specialized dictionaries, lexicons, linguistic bulletins and websites. (3)
  • Find information relevant to specialized topics by conducting extensive literature searches. Analyze, synthesize and integrate information from a wide range of sources, including the Internet, to expand knowledge of topics relevant to job assignments. (4)
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Critical Thinking
  • Assess the quality and suitability of translations. Ensure that the information conveyed is accurate and that translations reflect the meaning, context and style of the source texts, taking into consideration intended audiences. Also verify sentence structure and the use of specific words, acronyms, idioms and technical terms. For example, translators and terminologists assess the quality and suitability of written translations while interpreters assess the quality and suitability of verbal translations. (Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters) (3)
  • Evaluate the accuracy, grammar, spelling, completeness and clarity of text entries into terminological databases, glossaries, technological files, linguistic bulletins, dictionaries, lexicons and other terminological resource materials. Assess the most appropriate choices of terms for the client's needs. Conduct research to ascertain the accuracy of translations and definitions and proofread for grammar and spelling errors. Also ensure that crucial information has not been omitted and wording is not open to misinterpretation. (Terminologists) (3)
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