Because there is no globalization without translation.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census Bureau, out of 7,475,566 residents of New York City only 3,920,751 were monolingual English speakers. Translation, interpretation, multi-lingual services, cross-cultural communication are all part and parcel of day-to-day life anywhere we go around the world, and here too!
Can anyone do it?
As a fluent speaker of English, Russian, and French I have always known the importance of multi-lingual communication and the difficulties that arise wherever and whenever different cultures meet. I spontaneously pursued a profession that many take for granted. Many believe that all it takes to be a translator or an interpreter is to speak two languages. You should know that if you are looking for an interpreter or a translator, you'll need more than casual fluency.
What do we do?
Tracking down the right word in a marketing brochure targeting non-English speaking consumers, finding precise wording for a contract between parties in two countries, sweeping aside a communication barrier during a court hearing, or helping a patient through a visit with a U.S. doctor: this is the kind of work professional translators and interpreters do. To do it they have to possess superior linguistic knowledge of their languages, cultural sensitivity, and the ability to serve as the bridge between two cultures.
What to expect
Take perfect spelling, grammar, and punctuation for granted. But a translation is more than a text without spelling errors, gramatical faux pas, and well-placed commas! Your translator must be diligent, precise, and deliver accurate, perfectly worded, and researched translations. The resulting translations should look like the original (we have the technology to do it!), they should use the right terminology, tone, and style, and they should read like they could have been originally written in the target language. If you lower the bar, you'll never know what kind of quality you will get.
Meanwhile, your interpreter needs to be fluent in his or her working languages, assume a neutral position in all interpreting settings, and deliver complete interpretations of what is said between the parties. Interpreters should not censor or omit what is said based on their personal beliefs or opinions. When interpreters ask for clarification, you should be happy: it means they are doing what they can to relay the message faithfully.