Responding to the demand for more low-residency programs aimed at working adults, the Middlebury Institute’s new Professional Certificate in Spanish Community Interpreting offers students the opportunity to receive nine months of training to become medical or legal interpreters, with only five days of residency on the Institute’s Monterey campus required.
“Students who earn this certificate qualify for some of the most in-demand jobs in the interpreting marketplace today,” says Associate Dean for Language and Professional Programs Patricia Szasz, who helped to develop and launch the program. “The need for qualified Spanish-English interpreters in medical and legal settings is tremendous, and still growing.”
The curriculum is primarily delivered online, with two modules offered in the fall semester and two tracks—medical or legal—offered in the spring, culminating with a five-day residency in Monterey that features an interactive workshop. Participants who complete the coursework receive a professional certificate.
“The opportunity here is for working adults who are bilingual to receive formal training in interpreting that will give them the professional skills and resources they need to put their linguistic talents to work as interpreters in hospitals, clinics, law firms, courts, and other community settings,” added Szasz. “Community interpreters help individuals and service providers to communicate effectively, and most find it very rewarding to be able to use their language skills in a way that really makes a difference in someone’s life.”
The Spanish Community Interpreting program was piloted initially in 2015-16 with support from Middlebury’s Ron & Jessica Liebowitz Fund for Innovation. It was then refined during a second iteration, and is now being formally launched in fall 2019. For more information, or to enroll, visit the Spanish Community Interpreting program page. Applications for fall entry are due May 1.
In the course of the program’s development, accrediting agency the New England Commission of Higher Education gave its approval for Middlebury to deliver courses that are more than 50 percent online. This approval opens the door for a range of future low-residency offerings, as both the Institute and Middlebury’s other educational units seek to expand student access by diversifying their programs and making them more flexible.