There are many reasons a job seeker should learn a foreign language. It immediately makes you more attractive to those industries that rely on bilingual capabilities as well as opening up employment possibilities in another country. Now there’s an even greater reason. There is a growing need world-wide for linguists and interpreters.

The multinational interpreting and translation company, Thebigword.com, plans to create up to 3,000 more jobs for linguists this year to meet a growing need.

In a press release, the translation company said governments use interpreters to save lives in healthcare, deliver justice, and police borders, among other vital services, so quality can’t be compromised.

The company’s expansion within the Interpreting industry is currently running at 20 percent per month in the U.S.  It is in part driven by American businesses limiting the effects of the recession by selling goods and services on a global market, and government organizations looking to work with companies that can help them lower costs without compromising service.

Worldwide, thebigword’s interpreting business, which provides interpreting from one language to another either face-to-face or over the telephone, is expected to grow by 150 percent during 2011. The fastest growing areas of business are in U.S. and the UK where increasingly cosmopolitan populations are driving the need for regional and national Governments to communicate in a range of languages.

As the number of non-English speakers seeking healthcare in the United States continues to grow, so does the need for medical interpreters who can serve as a liaison between patients and their doctors. The demand for medical interpreters increased even more when new standards went into effect this year requiring healthcare organizations to provide an interpreter to patients who speak limited English.

Federal laws have been on the books for years requiring medical institutions to provide interpreters to non-native speakers, but there has been little enforcement of the provisions until recently. Now the Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 18,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States, has established new standards effective this year requiring hospitals to provide language interpreting and translation services.

Medical interpreters

The new provisions have further fueled the demand for medical interpreters, which were already in short supply. Even before the new standards were introduced, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted jobs for interpreters and translators would grow by 22 percent over the next decade, faster than the average for all other occupations.

Meanwhile a nationwide survey of 4,700 doctors, conducted by the nonprofit Center for Studying Health System Change, found that only 55.8 percent of practices with non-English speaking patients provide interpreting services, and 40 percent offer patient-education materials in languages other than English.

Medicaid currently reimburses the medical provider for the services of an interpreter. Depending on the state, a medical interpreter can make $25 to $50 an hour. In the private sector, they can command upwards of $100 an hour.

U.S. News and World Report named Interpreter as one of its top 50 careers for 2011. From pharmaceutical inserts and instruction manuals to textbook, translators are needed to rework documents in English or other languages. At courthouses around the country and conferences throughout the world, interpreters help people of different tongues communicate. While both interpreters and translators convert one language into another, interpreters work with the spoken word and translators the written word.

But U.S. News says that choosing this occupation means learning more than a foreign language. You also must thoroughly understand the subject you're communicating about. You'll relay not only words, but complicated concepts and ideas, as well as the cultural subtleties that accompany them.

Although prospects vary by language and topical specialty, employment of interpreters and translators is projected to increase 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Labor Department. Demand is being driven by an increasingly global economy, as well as an increasingly large population of non-English speakers in the United States.