Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why are Translation and Interpretation skills necessary in today’s society?
The great increase of limited and non-English speakers in today’s society has led to the growing demand for translators and interpreters who will provide these individuals the rightful access to legal rights and/or medical benefits. Therefore, it is this program’s goal to provide the basic skills and training to our bilingual students so that they can bridge the gap for these individuals and provide them the equal access that they deserve.
Does this mean I only need to be bilingual in both languages in order to translate or interpret?
You must have a high proficiency in both your native and second language. However this is not the only tool necessary to acquire the appropriate skills for translation or interpretation. To be a competent translator or interpreter, one must be an expert in his or her own native language and have an almost equal command of the foreign language. This includes a basic understanding and control of grammatical, lexical and semantic structures of both languages, the understanding of multiple registers and sociolinguistic discourse as well as cultural competency.
What specific fields does the Translation Interpretation Program focus on?
The Translation Interpretation Program specializes in the legal and medical fields. Translators and interpreters are essential in these fields as they provide limited and non-English speakers equal access to health care and legal rights.
What skills are needed to become a Court Interpreter?
Like all translators and interpreters, a court interpreter must be highly proficient in both English and Spanish. They must have the ability to accurately transfer the message from the source language into the target language without any additions, omissions or other factors that may alter the speaker’s original message. A court interpreter must be an expert at simultaneous interpretation, which is the most common mode, used in the court system, as well as consecutive interpretation. Many times a court interpreter may be asked to verbally translate a written document, known as sight translation, and this skill is important to have as well. A court interpreter must also abide by the professional and ethical standards under which they work and possess strong communication skills to appropriately deliver the message.
How do I become a certified Translator/Interpreter?
Although it is not necessary to become certified as a translator, it is highly recommended as it demonstrates to employers the translator’s professional level of competence in both languages. Many translation organizations provide certification examinations such as ATA (American Translators Association). However, interpreter certifications are more specialized and cater to the legal and medical fields. There are general interpretation certifications as well as state and federal certifications if an interpreter decides to work for the United States court system. These are extremely difficult examinations that take much education and experience to pass and become professionally qualified.
Who may enroll?
Any university student who is interested in pursuing a career in Translation and Interpretation or who has a high level of proficiency in English and Spanish that wishes to hone their skills.
What are my professional options once I graduate?
There are many opportunities made available to a student graduating from the Translation Interpretation program, as they possess valuable linguistic and cognitive abilities. Because many of our students come from different departments, some may decide to attend graduate school programs, such as medical school or law school. If students want to continue to pursue Translation and Interpretation, the Monterey Institute of International Studies offers a Masters program in Translation and Interpretation. If you are interested in translation, working as a freelance or contracted translator for an organization may be a potential opportunity. Furthermore, a T & I student may decide to work as a court interpreter for the judicial system or medical interpreter for a hospital or language services company. It is important to note that many of these professional options require experience and specialized skills. Therefore, it is essential to take advantage of the practicums and internships offered through the Translation Interpretation program as well as potential volunteer positions throughout the community. The National Center for Interpretation also offers premier Translation and Interpretation workshops throughout the year for continued growth and learning in the field. For more information, please refer to our resources section or feel free to speak with one of our distinguished faculty members.
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Last Updated: June 6, 2011