Online Spanish Language Certificate Program Information

Find out about online Spanish certificate programs. See course descriptions, program info, and online requirements to make an informed decision about your education.

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Essential Information

Students can pursue certificate programs in workplace Spanish and English/Spanish translation completely online, among others. Programs are aimed at specific skill levels. Students should choose a program that suits their language proficiency. Workplace Spanish programs may be available for both beginning and advanced Spanish language speakers, while translation programs are geared towards those who are proficient in both languages. These programs are generally short, taking anywhere from a few months to one year to complete. Students should be advised that proper audio equipment may be necessary, including a microphone and headphones or speakers.

Certificate in Workplace Spanish

This program is designed to develop fluency in business Spanish. Students learn how to conduct business relationships and become familiar with Hispanic and Spanish business etiquette, history and culture. Graduates may be eligible to travel abroad for business functions and conduct transactions with international business leaders.

Program Information and Requirements

This program is typically made up of five courses. Beginners can start at the beginning, and those with prior language skills may be able to skip to an intermediate class and work their way into more advanced courses, such as Spanish composition or literature. Most courses are self-paced, though students are accountable to their assigned instructor. The program can take several months to a year to complete. Students may need to have audio equipment for their computer and listen to recordings. Some instructors may request that students purchase software programs and textbooks.

Common Business Spanish Courses

Students who have some prior knowledge of the Spanish language should take a placement test to determine which class to start with.

Beginning Spanish

This course provides an introduction to basic Spanish communication skills, including speaking, reading and writing. Course topics introduce students to elements of Spanish culture, history and geography. Students begin building familiarity with the differences in dialect, grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary for various regions of the Spanish-speaking world.

Intermediate Spanish

Students should have an elementary understanding of Spanish to enroll in this course, which is conducted primarily in Spanish. This can be accomplished through placement tests or a passing grade in beginning and elementary Spanish. Students build on listening, speaking, reading and writing skills as they introduce new vocabulary. They also gain awareness of current events and historical issues of Latin America and Spain. Students should be able to communicate at a basic level with Spanish speakers, both orally and in writing.

Advanced Spanish

The final class in Spanish language fluency serves as a foundation for further study in literature and culture. Students complete their understanding of grammatical structures and use text and audio from native speakers as a basis for study. They should be able to communicate with moderate fluency and understand Spanish spoken at a natural pace.

Business Communications in Spanish

Students learn a specific set of vocabulary used in business contexts and become accustomed to everyday spoken Spanish by listening to native speakers. Business protocol and practices are emphasized.

English/Spanish Translation Certificate

As Spanish becomes more common in the United States, the demand for qualified translators is going to increase. In this program, students who are already fluent in English and Spanish become proficient in translation accuracy and familiar with the cultural issues and current events that affect translation. Most programs allow students to specialize in translation for a specific area of interest, such as commercial, financial, medical, legal or government institutions.

Program Information and Requirements

Online courses are self-paced and can take anywhere from five weeks to six months to complete. Some programs require students to be at least 18 or 21 years of age. An admissions test and phone interview may also be required to confirm language fluency. Students may need to have a headset and microphone to record their Spanish speaking ability. These recordings must be uploaded to a computer program, so that instructors can listen and evaluate a student's progress.

Common Translation Spanish Courses

Students learn methods and procedures to build accuracy, quality control and improve professional writing skills in both English and Spanish. Programs can be general or tailored to a student's professional goals. Some common courses include:

Introduction to Translation Studies

This course introduces students to the standard methodology for professional translation. Students practice translating and editing legal, financial and medical documents. They also study cultural and social issues that often arise during the translation process.

Spanish Composition

As students become familiar with common Spanish expressions and idioms, they focus on improving their grammar, punctuation and spelling. The goal is to increase clarity and improve their ability to capture a particular tone or style. The course may be taught entirely in Spanish or may be comprised of a combination of English and Spanish.

Translation Methodology and Quality Control

This advanced course helps students understand the production style of major translation agencies. Students may be encouraged to specialize in either business, medical, legal or literary translation.

Business Translation

This course introduces students to a specific set of vocabulary and etiquette for business situations, both written and verbal. Emphasis is placed on accuracy, clarity and quality.

Career Information

Obtaining a Spanish language certificate may be necessary for jobs that require employees to travel to Spanish-speaking countries. The certificate may be helpful for those seeking a promotion or applying for employment with multi- or international companies. Some employers may cover the cost of this program as training for current employees.

Businesses, financial institutions, medical facilities, universities, literary publications and advertising companies all use translation services. As Spanish becomes more common in the United States, the demand for Spanish translation services also increases. The BLS projected job growth of 29%, much faster than the average for all occupations, for interpreters and translators from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the BLS reported, interpreters and translators earned a median annual salary of $44,190. Translators create a necessary bridge between cultures and languages in a diverse nation and a globalized economy.

Continuing Education

Students who graduate with a certificate in Spanish may be able to transfer their credits into a Spanish degree program. Programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate level and help students become more proficient in the language and qualify them to work in academia or in government agencies.

Online Spanish certificate programs are offered at various skill levels and teach students about cultural and geographical aspects, in addition to language. Graduates may be able to use their credits toward a degree program.

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