How do I become a certified translator or interpreter?
Translation and Interpreting are unregulated professions in the U.S. There is no license or certification that is universally accepted. In general, the more credentials you have, the better. For Translators, the most widely recognized credential is Accreditation by the ATA, obtained by passing a rigorous translation exam. For Interpreters, the matter is more complicated, with different agencies having their own exam. The Federal Interpreter Certification is the most widely recognized, but less than 4% of candidates have ever passed this rigorous exam. Qualification by the Consortium for State Courts allows you to do court interpreting in any of the 20+ states that belong to the Consortium. In addition, local courts may have their own qualifying exam. Also, NAJIT is preparing a new national accreditation exam for judiciary interpreters. In order to work in Immigration Court, you must pass the Berlitz Immigration Interpreters Exam. Finally, major providers of interpretation services, such as Berlitz and LanguageLine, have their own qualification exam in consecutive interpreting, which they require of their staff and free-lance interpreters. You will learn more about this and other aspects of the profession in the Foundations courses, SPT-3800 and SPT-3812.
Will this program lead to job opportunities?
Yes. There is a lot of demand for translators and interpreters. There is also competition. Our program will afford you extensive training, but remember that you must supply the talent and the effort. We regularly receive announcements of job opportunities and recommendation requests. These are passed on to our students, together with professional advice. In addition, we regularly invite major providers of T&I services to give recruiting workshops and presentations to our students. We encourage our students to start doing some paid work in the field as they study, in order to acquire valuable experience. Finally, since many of our students are already professional translators and interpreters, you will have ample opportunity to network, learn, and acquire useful leads from each other. Keep in mind, however, that our program's mission is to advance the individual and the profession through education and research. We are not a job placement agency. We will give you the information, but it is up to you to get the job. Be resourceful. Many of our program graduates now hold top positions in the field.
How long does it take to finish the program?
The certificate requires 18 credits and we offer three-credit courses. We usually offer four courses in the Fall and Spring Semesters.
Do I need to join the program in order to start taking T&I classes?
No. You can simply register as a "Non-Degree Seeking Student" (See "How do I register?" below). The university allows you to take up to five courses, so you will not be able to get the certificate. You should begin with the "Foundations" courses, SPT-3800 and/or SPT-3812.
Can I complete the certificate fully online?
Yes, you can complete the certificate by taking online courses only. Some of the internships require physical presence at different venues, but the internships are not a requirement to get the certificate.
What is the cost of the Translation and Interpretation Certificate?
For current costs follow the link below to "FIU Admissions, Registration & Financial Aid"; then click "Student Fees". Each T&I course is 3 undergraduate credits. Given that FIU is a state university, Florida residents pay a reduced tuition. To qualify as a Florida resident you must: a) be a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and b) show the Registrar's Office documentation of your Florida address going back at least one year. For further information visit the Registrar's Office Website at the link below.
I'm an international student with questions about visas.
International students cannot get this certificate unless they are seeking a Bachelor's degree at FIU. Contact the FIU Office of International Student and Scholar Services. You should also contact your local consulate or embassy and visit the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service Website for official information.
Can I get the Translation and Interpreting Certificate if I am not an FIU student?
Only FIU degree-seeking students can get the certificate in Translation and Interpreting. You need to be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree at FIU to be able to complete this certificate.
Do you offer a B.A. or an M.A. in T&I?
Currently, we only offer undergraduate courses but we do not have a Bachelor degree in Translation and Interpretation. We do offer a minor in Translation Studies. All SPT courses courses count toward the Spanish Major. Note that this is a professional level program. Even though, technically speaking, it offers undergraduate credits, the level of our courses is quite high.
Is there an entrance or exit exam?
No. The purpose of an entrance exam is to predict success in program courses. We believe that this aim is best served by simply taking the "Foundations" courses, SPT-3800 and/or SPT-3812, and seeing how well you do. This, in turn, will allow you to determine if T&I is for you, and if you want to pursue it further. We do not require an exit exam either. You have the right to receive a certificate so long as you complete each of the required courses with a grade of C or better. Instead of an exit exam, we recommend that the students take the various professional accreditation/certification exams, in order of difficulty, as soon as they feel prepared.
Is an internship a requirement?
No, an internship is not a requirement but it is optional. It can substitute one of your classes in either translation or interpretation program. However, internships are highly recommended because they give you a chance to learn about the profession in a practical way, to network with other translators and interpreters, and may lead to a job opportunity.