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Italian Vocabulary for Jobs and Occupations 

 June 9, 2020

By  Jessica Maggi

Time to get to work talking about… work! Discussing your profession in Italian requires a new list of vocabulary. So here’s a chance to brush up on some of the words and phrases you’ll need most when talking about your job.

Basic work-related terms in Italian

Before talking about specific jobs, let me introduce a few useful basics for talking about jobs and occupations in Italian.

ItalianEnglish
LavoroJob
Impiego Job, employment
Professione Profession
Occupazione Occupation
Mestiere Profession, vocation, job
Carriera Career
Azienda, impresa, dittaCompany
Startup Startup
Stipendio Salary
Datore di lavoroEmployer
(Lavoratore) dipendenteEmployee
Libero professionistaFreelance, self-employed
Centro per l’impiego, ufficio di collocamentoJob centre
Opportunità di lavoroJob vacancy
Curriculum vitae, curriculum, CVRésumé, CV
Lettera di accompagnamentoCover letter
Colloquio di lavoro, colloquio conoscitivoJob interview
Tirocinio, stage (pronounced /staʒ/)Internship
StagistaTrainee
FormazioneTraining
Lavoro temporaneo / a tempo determinato / parasubordinatoTemporary role
Lavoro stagionaleSeasonal work
Lavoro occasionaleOccasional work
Lavoro su turni Shift work
Lavoro autonomo (in proprio)To be self-employed, to work as a freelancer
Lavoro dipendente a tempo indeterminatoPermanent work, permanent contract
VolontariatoVoluntary work

Questions and answers

If you want to ask someone about their profession, you will have to say:

ItalianEnglish
Di cosa ti occupi? (informal)What do you do?
Di cosa si occupa? (formal)What do you do?
Cosa fai nella vita? (informal)What do you do for a living?
Cosa fa nella vita? (formal)What do you do for a living?
Che lavoro fai? (informal)What’s your job?
Che lavoro fa? (formal)What’s your job?
Qual è la tua professione? (informal)What’s your profession?
Qual è la Sua professione? (formal)What’s your profession?
In che settore lavori? (informal)What field do you work in?
In che settore lavora? (formal)What field do you work in?
Dove lavori? (informal)Where do you work?
Dove lavora? (formal)Where do you work?
Che lavoro ti piacerebbe fare da grande?What would you like to be when you grow up?

It is very common for English speakers to ask a new acquaintance what their job is. Asking someone about their profession is one of the most common things to do when making small talk with them. However, in Italy, asking what someone does for a living is considered a very personal question. 

If you have to ask, be sure to preface or end your question with “Se non sono indiscreto/a…”, which corresponds to “If you don’t mind me asking ...”.

If you are being asked the question, you can respond with: 

  • Faccio (literally: I do) + definite article + the name of your occupation;
  • Sono... (I am) + indefinite article + the name of your occupation.

Here are some examples:

ItalianEnglish
Faccio la traduttrice / Sono una traduttriceI’m a translator, I work as a translator.
Mio padre fa l’avvocato / Mio padre è un avvocatoMy father is a lawyer, My father works as a lawyer.

Here are some other possible answers and ways of talking about your job in Italian:

ItalianEnglish
Mi occupo di…I work in…
Mi occupo di sicurezza sul lavoroI work in the job security sector.
ItalianEnglish
Lavoro come…I work as…
Lavoro come receptionist presso un hotel del centroI work as a receptionist in a downtown hotel.
ItalianEnglish
Lavoro nel/nella…I work in…
Lavoro nelle pubbliche relazioniI work in public relations.
ItalianEnglish
Viaggio molto per lavoroI travel a lot on business.
Enter your teSto cercando lavoroI am looking for a job.xt here...
Mi piace il mio lavoroI like my job.
Amo il mio lavoro I love my job.
Non mi piace il mio lavoroI don’t like my job
Ho sempre desiderato fare...I have always wanted to be a…
Da grande mi piacerebbe fare…I would like to be a… when I grow up

Italian Professions

There are over five billion jobs in the world. It is impossible to list all possible professions, but there are some common ones you should know. 

The vast majority of Italian occupation nouns have a masculine form ending in -o and a feminine one ending in -a.

Istruzione – Education 

ItalianEnglish
Insegnante (m/f)Teacher, instructor
Professore / professoressaTeacher, professor
Maestro/aElementary school teacher
Maestro/a d’asiloKindergarten teacher, preschool teacher
Educatore / educatriceEducator, teacher, instructor
Docente universitarioLecturer, professor
Tutor (m/f)Tutor
Preside (m/f)Principal, headmaster, school supervisor
Dirigente scolastico (m/f)School head, school principal
Rettore (m/f)Dean, chancellor
Bidello/aJanitor, custodian

Medical & Health

ItalianEnglish
Medico (m/f)Doctor
Dottore / dottoressaDoctor
Infermiere/aNurse
Chirurgo (m/f)Surgeon
ParamedicoParamedic
Psicologo/aPsychologist
Psicoterapeuta (m/f)Psychotherapist
Psichiatra (m/f)Psychiatrist
Neurologo/aNeurologist
Pediatra (m/f)Pediatrician
Cardiologo/aCardiologist
Radiologo/aRadiologist
Dentista, odontoiatra (m/f)Dentist
Oculista (m/f)Ophthalmologist, eye doctor
Dermatologo/aDermatologist
Ortopedico/aOrthopedist
Omeopata (m/f)Homeopath, expert in homeopathic remedies
Ginecologo/aGynecologist
Ostetrico/aObstetrician
Urologo/aUrologist
Farmacista (m/f)Pharmacist, chemist
Igienista dentale (m/f)Dental hygienist
Veterinario/aVet
Biologo/aBiologist

Sicurezza – Public safety

ItalianEnglish
Poliziotto/aPoliceman, cop
AgentePolice officer
CarabiniereCarbineer
GendarmePoliceman, police officer
Guardia giurataSecurity guard
Vigile del fuoco, pompiereFireman
Soldato / soldatessaSoldier
Ispettore / ispettriceInspector
Investigatore / investigatriceDetective

Ristorazione – Food

ItalianEnglish
Ristoratore / ristoratriceRestaurant owner, restaurateur
Cuoco/aCook, chef
CapocuocoHead chef, executive chef, chef de cuisine
Aiuto cuocoChef’s assistant, assistant chef
Capo partitaChef de partie, station chef
Saucier (pronounced /sosje/)Sauté chef, saucier
PizzaioloPizza chef
SommelierSommelier, wine steward
Cameriere / cameriera Server, waiter/waitress
Barista (m/f)Bartender, barman/barmaid

Settore legale – Legal

ItalianEnglish
AvvocatoLawyer, attorney, solicitor
MagistratoMagistrate
ProcuratoreAttorney, lawyer, counselor
Pubblico ministero, PMProsecutor
Ufficiale giudiziarioOfficer of justice
GiudiceJudge, magistrate
Giudice di paceJustice of the peace, small claims judge

Business, ufficio – Business, office

ItalianEnglish
Impiegato/aOffice worker, clerk
Direttore / direttriceCompany director
Centralinista (m/f)Telephone operator, switchboard operator
Segretaria/oSecretary
Ragioniere / ragionieraAccountant
Venditore, commercialeSalesperson, sales rep
Agente immobiliare (m/f)Real estate agent
Manager (m/f)Manager
Consulente (m/f)Consultant
Contabile (m/f)Bookkeeper
Commercialista (m/f)Accountant
Notaio (m/f)Notary
Esattore fiscaleTax collector
Geometra (m/f)Surveyor
Ingegnere (m/f)Engineer
Imprenditore / imprenditriceEntrepreneur
Banchiere / banchieraBanker
Intermediario finanziarioStockbroker
Architetto/aArchitect
Ricercatore / ricercatriceResearcher
Programmatore / programmatriceProgrammer
Promotore / promotricePromoter

Editoria – Publishing

ItalianEnglish
Scrittore / scrittriceWriter
Romanziere / romanzieraNovelist
Redattore / redattriceEditor
Editore / editricePublisher
Traduttore / traduttriceTranslator
Correttore di bozze / correttrice di bozzeProofreader
Giornalista (m/f)Journalist
Pubblicista (m/f) Contributing editor
Copywriter (m/f)Copywriter
Interprete (m/f)Interpreter
Illustratore / illustratriceIllustrator

Intrattenimento – Entertainment

ItalianEnglish
Cantante (m/f)Singer
Attore / attriceActor/actress, Thespian, performer
Drammaturgo/aPlaywright
Regista (m/f) Filmmaker
Musicista (m/f)Musician, performer
Pianista (m/f)Pianist
Chitarrista (m/f)Guitarist, guitar player
Sassofonista (m/f)Saxophonist
Batterista (m/f)Drummer, percussionist
Bassista (m/f)Bassist, bass player
Compositore / compositriceComposer
Ballerino/aDancer
Coreografo/aChoreographer
Modello/aModel
Presentatore / presentatriceTelevision presenter
CameramanCamera operator, cameraman
Costumista (m/f)Costume designer
Truccatore / truccatriceMakeup artist
Disc jockey, DJ (m/f)Disc jockey

Arte – art

ItalianEnglish
Artista (m/f)Artist
Scultore / scultriceSculptor
Pittore / pittricePainter
Restauratore / restauratriceArt conservator
Critico/a d’arteArt critic
Fotografo/aPhotographer
Designer (m/f)Designer
Fumettista (m/f)Cartoonist
Disegnatore / disegnatrice di cartoni animatiAnimator

Manual work

ItalianEnglish
Operaio/aManual worker, laborer
Operatore edile, muratoreconstruction worker, mason
Artigiano/aCraftsman
Imbianchino/aHouse painter
Tecnico/aTechnician repairman
Meccanico Mechanic
Elettricista Electrician
Idraulico/aPlumber
Falegname Carpenter, woodworker
Calzolaio/aShoemaker
Giardiniere/aGardener
Fabbro Blacksmith
Piastrellista Tiler, tile setter
Tappezziere Upholsterer
Marmista Marble worker
Agricoltore, contadino/aFarmer
Pescatore Fisherman
Allevatore / allevatriceBreeder, farmer, cowman
Minatore Miner

Trasporti – Transportation

ItalianEnglish
Conducente di autobusBus driver
MacchinistaTrain driver
Camionista, autotrasportatoreTruck driver, lorry driver
Taxista, tassistaCabdriver, taxi driver
PilotaPilot
CorriereCourier
FerroviereRailway worker

Commercio – Commerce, trade

ItalianEnglish
Negoziante (m/f)Shopkeeper
Commerciante (m/f)Retailer, shopkeeper
Commesso/aSales assistant, shop assistant
Cassiere/aCashier
Pasticciere / pasticcieraPastry chef, confectioner
Fornaio/a, panettiere/aBaker
Salumiere/aGrocer
Fruttivendolo/aGreengrocer
Macellaio/aButcher
Pescivendolo/aFish seller
Fioraio/aFlorist
Giornalaio/a, edicolanteNewsstand, newsagent
Gioielliere/aJeweler
OreficeJewelry maker
Ottico/aOptician
Orologiaio/aWatchmaker
Antiquario/aAntique dealer
Parrucchiere/aHairdresser
BarbiereBarber
Lattaio/aMilkman, milkwoman
Libraio/aBookseller
EstetistaBeautician, esthetician
Lavandaio / lavandaiaLaundryman / laundress

Turismo – Tourism

ItalianEnglish
Agente di viaggi (m/f)Travel agent
Guida turistica (m/f)Travel guide
Accompagnatore turistico / accompagnatrice turisticaTour guide
Guida alpina (m/f)Mountain guide
Assistente di volo, hostess (f.), steward (m.)Flight attendant
Programmatore turistico, travel organizerTravel organizer
Responsabile del bookingBooking manager
Animatore / animatriceHoliday resort entertainer
Bagnino/a, guardaspiaggiaLifeguard
ReceptionistReceptionist
Travel designerTravel designer
AffittacamereLandlord, landlady
Travel bloggerTravel blogger
SkipperSkipper

Sport

ItalianEnglish
Atleta (m/f)Athlete
Allenatore / allenatriceCoach
Personal trainer (m/f)Personal trainer
Calciatore / calciatriceFootballer
CestistaBasketball player
PallavolistaVolleyball player
TennistaTennis player
SciatoreSkier
Pugile / pugilessaBoxer
Pattinatore / pattinatriceSkater
Pilota motociclisticoMotorcycle racer
Pilota automobilistico Racing driver
ArbitroReferee, umpire

Other jobs

ItalianEnglish
Educatore cinofilo / educatrice cinofilaDog trainer
AstronautaAstronaut
AstronomoAstronomer
Sarto/aTailor
Postino/a, portaletterePostman/postwoman, mail carrier
BloggerBlogger
YouTuberYouTuber
Bibliotecario/aLibrarian
Parroco, pretePriest
Carceriere, secondinoJailer
MaggiordomoButler
CartomanteFortune-teller, card reader
UsciereDoorman, usher
Addetto/a alle pulizieCleaner
Operatore ecologico, netturbinoStreet cleaner
MarinaioSailor
Politico/aPolitician
Senatore / senatriceSenator
TesoriereTreasurer
EconomistaEconomist
Geologo/a Geologist
Tuttofare Handyman
Domestica, donna di servizioMaid
Impresario funebre, becchino (informal)Undertaker
Parcheggiatore Valet, car-parking attendant
BadanteCaregiver
Pensionato/aPensioner, retiree
Studente / studentessaStudent
CasalingaHousewife
Disoccupato/aUnemployed

More work-related terms in Italian

Beyond the above, there are a few other work-related terms in Italian that you may find useful. Here they are:

ItalianEnglish
Socio/aPartner, associate
Capo (m/f)Boss
Cliente (m/f)Client
Collega (m/f)Colleague
Concorrente, competitorCompetitor
Partita IVA VAT number
Ritenuta d’accontoWithholding tax
Aumento di stipendioPay raise
Busta pagaPayroll
Giorno libero, giorno di riposoDay off from work
Maternità, permesso di maternitàMaternity leave (time off work for a new mom)
AspettativaLeave, leave of absence
ContrattoContract
Esperienza lavorativaWork experience
AbilitàSkills
AssunzioneHiring
RiunioneMeeting
IncaricoTask
Viaggio di lavoroBusiness trip
Fare gli straordinariTo work overtime
AssumereTo hire
Dimettersi, rassegnare le dimissioniTo quit, to resign
LicenziareTo fire, to lay off
Andare in pensioneTo retire
ScioperoStrike
SindacatoTrade-union
Agenzia delle EntrateItalian Revenue Agency
IVAVAT tax
INPS (Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale)Social security service
DisoccupazioneUnemployment

“Good Job” in Italian

ItalianEnglish
Ottimo lavoro!Good job!, Well done!
Buon lavoro!Have a nice day at work!

Well done on getting through this lesson! Now you have all the necessary tools to talk about your job properly in Italian. A presto!

Jessica Maggi


Jessica is a native Italian speaker, a passionate linguist and a proud Grammar nerd. She has a lifelong passion for English and studied Linguistic and Cultural Mediation at the University of Milan. She currently works as a freelance translator and copywriter.

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