Des Moines Community College will offer a new two-year associate’s degree in Interpretation and Translation. Michael Piper is in charge of the program that will train people to convert testimony and other information from one language to another.
Piper says the mission of interpreters and translators is to faithfully represent one message, in one language, into another language. They need to know what the topic is and how to say it in both language. He says that’s the part that requires training: “Being bilingual is like having two hands, but you can’t play the piano,” he explains, till you learn how to use them together. He says it’s the same learning to use two languages to interpret.
If you’ve ever had to relay instructions or a phone message, Piper says you may understand how complex the process can be. Studies have shown that it takes 22 different mental processes to do “simultaneous interpreting” — telling a message in one language at the same time you’re hearing it in the first language.
Piper says people who graduate from the DMACC program will answer a need for translators who can make sure important information’s passed on correctly in sometimes critical situations. Right now the program offers an emphasis in judicial and court interpreting, and one in the healthcare field. Soon they’ll add a third, in the area of social services.
Piper says this is what “stakeholders” who’d use the program have said they need. Many organizations are asking for interpreters and translators — the courts, law enforcement, and state agencies in particular. He says the Department of Latino Affairs right now is looking for fifty to 100 individuals to whom they could give scholarships to enter this program. He says it’s a good bet that graduates will find jobs in the field quickly.
For more information surf to the community-college website at DMACC-dot-edu or phone Piper at (515) 697-7774