Classes begin in just a couple of weeks at many of Iowa’s community colleges, and several campuses will be offering courses to teach people who can speak two languages already work as professionals helping others who only speak one. Des Moines Area Community College has created a new two-year degree to answer the demand for those services.
Director Michael Piper says cops, courts, doctors and social workers have asked for certified translators to work with their clients. The program’s for all languages, not just Spanish, and fifty people who’ve already started taking the courses represent eight languages so far. Piper says the program in Interpretation and Translation is -not- a course in learning a foreign tongue.
Students will have to show up speaking two languages already, so their skills can be the basis to “build in the translation and interpretation skills.” Piper says the importance of qualified translators is also leading to certification programs, that will include testing and standardized courses like his to determine that the worker’s qualified to accurately communicate court testimony, doctor’s orders and other important information from a foreign language to English or vice versa.
The Iowa judicial branch has just started a certification program for court interpreters, with oral exams given this September and at least once a year after that. Certification, he says, is the “stamp of approval” that shows a person can do the high-quality job that’s needed in the courts. Medical certification is coming, too, but it’s still being developed. Piper says “language examiners” will evaluate the student’s skills by visiting classrooms and communicating with others over the Internet. To learn more surf to DMACC-dot-edu.