The Professional Certificate in Spanish Community Interpreting prepares participants for successful careers in the high-demand job market for trained community interpreters.

Community Interpreting as a Profession

My name is Holly Mikkelson and I am the Director of the Spanish Community Interpreting Graduate certificate, which is a program that is available to students who are not enrolled in the masters program but who would like to be trained as community interpreters.

The courses begin with all online instruction and that happens from the fall through the spring semester.

And then beginning in June, students come to Monterey and we have face to face instruction where they’re actually practicing interpreting.

“Okay, let’s try another little scenario. So Annette will be our witness this time. If you could try to give longer answers to give Erin some practice in intervening, if necessary.”

The bulk of the program teaches students the basics of legal, medical, and educational social services interpreting. However, the last portion focuses specifically on certification test preparation. So throughout the course, the students get the basic skills that they need, and then at the end, we go into detail about what they specifically need to know just to pass the tests.

I think that this course does an excellent job of giving a detailed overview of the different fields where you can work and really use your language skills as an interpreter.

One of the things that differentiates this course from others is the hands-on nature of it and the fact that we actually simulate real life interpreted scenarios.

You are really right on the ground, in the trenches when people have a family crisis or something happens to them that changes their life. And community interpreters allow people to tell their story. They allow service providers to communicate effectively and provide the service they’re supposed to. So it’s very rewarding to be able to use your language in a way that really makes a difference in someone’s life.

Gain New Skills and Sharpen Existing Ones

In just nine months, you will gain the skills necessary for a rewarding career in legal or medical interpreting. California is the largest employer of community interpreters in the United States, with average annual salaries of $61,500.*

    Find out if Spanish Community Interpreting is right for you

    The Middlebury Institute Advantage

    Our low-residency program is intentionally designed so that you can attend classes without giving up your current job.

    • Complete four online modules, and then attend a final one-week residency in Monterey.
    • Choose to specialize in either legal or medical interpreting.
    • Learn from our expert faculty, who are also practitioners in the field.

    Career Outcomes

    In this recording of an online discussion, we review the career outlook for Spanish medical and legal interpreters in the U.S., including compensation data and career management frameworks. Watch the video.

    The 2020 Application is Live

    Follow the steps below to access the application:

    • Start your online application
    • Please select one: Middlebury Institute of International Studies
    • I confirm that I am applying to: Non-Degree or Certificate
    • What level are you applying for?: Spanish Community Interpreting
    • Please select one: Fall 2021

    Review application instructions

    Start Your Application

    Curriculum and Schedule for 2020-2021

    Fall 2020: Core Courses

    • Module One (August 24 - October 18): Basic Interpreting Techniques
    • Module Two (October 26 - December 20): Community Interpreting as a Profession

    Spring 2021: Choose Your Track

    Medical Track

    • Module Three (January 25 - March 21): Medical Concepts and Terminology
    • Module Four (March 29 - May 23): Written and Sight Translation of Medical Texts

    Legal Track

    • Module Three (January 25 - March 21): Legal Concepts and Terminology
    • Module Four (March 29 - May 23): Written and Sight Translation of Legal Texts

    June 2021: Residency in Monterey

    • Medical Track (June 7 - 11): Medical Interpreting Workshop (5 days)
    • Legal Track (June 14 - 18): Legal Interpreting Workshop (5 days)

    Next Steps

    • Request info
    • To apply, visit our How to Apply page and follow the on-screen instructions to begin.
    • Deadline for Fall 2020 applications has passed. Applications may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
    • In addition to a completed application, prior to admission you will submit an online Language and Skills Test to determine your bilingual language proficiency.


    • Cost: $5,000 
    • Payment plans are available.
    • Workforce development funds may be available from your community. 

    Payment and Refund Policies for 2020-2021

    Contact Us

    Contact us if you have any questions.

    *Data source: Mean salaries for medical and legal interpreters in California for 12-month period March 2019 – February 2020 from Burning Glass® Technologies.

    Accreditation, NC-SARA Information, and Online Student Resources