Hebrew Translator: Career and Education Information

Oct 20, 2021

To begin a career as a Hebrew translator, applicants will need a bachelor's degree as well as demonstrated fluency in English and Hebrew. Translation work may involve translating spoken words, written words and characters.

Essential Information

Hebrew translators are responsible for transforming Hebrew words, characters and phrases into English or vice-versa. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), translators primarily convert text from their first language into their second language only; however, some native Hebrew-speaking translators also convert English into Hebrew. Individuals interested in becoming Hebrew translators need fluency in English and Hebrew, and they generally need bachelor's degrees in Hebrew, Judaic studies or linguistics. Often, though not always, Hebrew translators exclusively transpose written Hebrew words into English; spoken word translations tend to be handled by interpreters.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Fluency in English and Hebrew
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029) 20% (for all interpreters and translators)*
Median Salary (2019) $51,830 annually (for all interpreters and translators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work Environments

Hebrew translators can work in many different environments. They may be responsible for translating religious scripture from Hebrew into English so that they may be used in American, English-speaking practice or study of Judaism. Many other Hebrew translators work in international politics. They're responsible for either translating on behalf of Israeli politicians at multi-national summits or conferences, or for escorting visiting dignitaries around Hebrew-speaking areas or events and translating in case of a language barrier.

Some translators work in legal or technological settings; examples of job functions include translating Hebrew testimonies into English in courts of law and translating computer programming language or user guides from English to Hebrew or vice-versa.

Cultural Awareness

Due to the cultural and sociological differences brought about by the linguistic differences between Hebrew and English, many prospective employers require Hebrew translators to either live in Israel or have spent many years living there. According to the BLS, cultural awareness is paramount for translators because not every Hebrew word has a literal English equivalent or vice-versa. However, even when they do, Hebrew-speaking populations may assign an entirely different meaning to a word or phrase than English-speakers.

Job Outlook

Because Hebrew translating is a unique area of specialization within the larger field of translation and interpretation, there is no specific salary information available for Hebrew translators. However, the BLS projected a strong employment market for the field of translating and interpreting, with a predicted job growth of 20% from 2019-2029. There is expected to be a strong demand for translators of Middle Eastern languages. In May of 2019, the BLS reported a median hourly wage of $24.92 for translators and interpreters, and a median salary of $51,830.

Hebrew Translator Education Information

While there are no steadfast educational requirements for translators of Hebrew or any other language, a bachelor's degree is generally required for most Hebrew translation positions. Students can pursue bachelor's degree programs in several relevant areas, including Hebrew, Judaic studies and linguistics. For employment purposes, bachelor's degrees in any of the above areas are generally acceptable; however, in order to meet requirements for translation positions, students must complete in-depth coursework in Hebrew language, writing and translation and Judaic culture.

Course Information

Course curricula for most Bachelor of Arts programs in Hebrew require completion of several beginner, intermediate and advanced courses in each of the aforementioned areas. Regardless of exact major, most students preparing for Hebrew translation careers also take numerous courses in Judaic culture, literature, history and scriptural analysis.

In-depth study of linguistics, which educates students in the cultural implications of the spoken and written Hebrew language, is generally helpful as well. Students can also pursue study abroad programs in Israel; cultural immersion of this type may often increase understanding of the psycholinguistic differences between Hebrew and English.

The employment growth expected for all interpreters and translators from 2019-2029 is much faster than average when compared to all occupations. Those interested in pursuing a career as a Hebrew translator will need a bachelor's degree and the ability to demonstrate fluency in Hebrew. Some employers require Hebrew translators to have lived or spent time in Israel.

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