Very important question and the answer is very long. I will give a short one instead.
I am a translator and an interpreter at Legal Translations, Inc.
A translator converts text from one language to the other.
An interpreter converts spoken language to another language.
Prerequisites to being a good translator/interpreter:
I think that the people that fulfill these requirements have the tendency to be better translators or interpreters. If you are lacking one of these, you have to make it up by hard work.
If you still want to be a translator, I suggest you take a semester in college on translation and see if you like it. Participate in local translator associations. If you live in the United States, I suggest you join a local chapter of the American Translators Association, the local chapters usually have meetings regularly, there you can meet some local translators and interpreters and ask questions.
If you want to be an interpreter and you do not really know another language, it is not something where you can just study a book and that’s it, it has to be a part of you, deep inside. If you really want it, you can make it. Regardless of your age. It all depends on your priorities.
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