(Originally Posted on July 27, 2015)
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, today a record one in five Americans does not speak English at home. Of those 61.8 billion people, 41% (25.1 billion) report that they do not speak English very well. While interpreting has always been a necessary tool for international interactions, it is becoming increasingly important domestically. In addition, interpretation is a great career for bilingual or multilingual residents of the US looking to use their language skills to strengthen and help their communities. As a woman- and minority-owned business, Dynamic Language values the quality of the interpretation services it offers, and is always looking for more interpreting talent. To get in on this booming career, however, interpretation training and certification is required.
There are many graduate degree and certificate programs available, offered by major universities as well as specialized institutions. Below are a few profiles of some interpretation certification programs:
Virginia Institute of Interpreting
For very low tuition rates, the Virginia Institute of Interpreting provides in-depth classes and interpretation programs either on-site or online. The program includes online materials and resources, assessments, and optional live instructor training sessions. The course covers basic concepts of interpretation, effective listening and concentration, shadowing, note-taking, sight translation, consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, ethics and standards, and guidance for employment. Students must also pass an Oral Proficiency Interview on the language of their choice through a partner organization. Graduates of these programs have gone on to interpret in various fields, such as business, medicine, law enforcement, and legal proceedings. VII offers beginning classes for adults who are bilingual and have no previous interpreting experience, as well as advanced classes for experienced interpreters looking to hone their skills.
Southern California School of Interpretation
- Cost: $995 for the Interpreter Training Program, $100 – $1,200 for advanced interpretation courses
- Length of Program: 6 months or less
- Languages: not language-specific
- Industries: entry-level interpreting, business, medical, legal
The Southern California School of Interpretation
offers online programs, on-campus classes, and also partners with other neighboring academic institutitions to implement their lesson plans. SCSI specializes uniquely in English-Spanish interpreting certification, and offers court and medical interpreting programs, as well as continuing education courses for certified interpreters. Over 85% of certified state interpreters in California are graduates of these programs.
University of Maryland
- Cost: depending on program, around $1,635 – $2,725
- Length of Program: 9 months
- Languages: Spanish only
- Industries: medical, state court, federal court
University of Maryland offers a Master’s of Professional Studies in Interpreting
, with the goal of preparing students to either work as conference or community interpreters. Community interpreters would focus on the skills required to complete simultaneous or consecutive interpreting for meetings, while community interpreters complete consecutive work in dialogue settings. Students do not need to choose a track until the second year of the program. The course culminates in degree examinations and a Career Portfolio Review. Languages other than the ones listed may also be offered based on demand.
- Cost: approximately $5,900
- Length of Program: 2 years
- Languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
- Industries: political, legal, business, health, educational
For more information on certification, careers, or educational programs, there are many other great resources available:
- International Association of Conference Interpreters
- National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators
- National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare
- The International Medical Interpreters Association