Online Spanish Translator Training Programs and Courses

Essential Information

Distance learning training programs in Spanish translation are designed to help students not only build strong interpreting skills but also become knowledgeable about diversity issues and cultural competence. A number of four-year universities and colleges offer fully online certificates (entry-level and graduate), bachelor's degrees and master's degrees in translation studies or Spanish that could providing the training students are looking for.

Before enrolling in one of these programs, students may need to have taken introductory language programs, and some programs also require previous translation experience. Over the course of a program, students may participate in live web meetings for language practice.

Spanish Translator Training and Degree Options

Students taking online classes in Spanish translation typically interact with classmates and instructors through a school's course management system. They can download lectures, assignments and learning aids at a time that fits their schedules. Message boards and chat rooms may be used to facilitate class discussions. One thing to keep in mind is that online Spanish classes may require live Web meetings so that distance learners can practice speaking the language. In these cases, microphones, Web cameras and earphones may be required.

Certificate Programs

Upon completion of online certificate programs - available as both credit and non-credit programs - students should be able to translate medical, legal, literary or business documents. Since the process involves altering written material from one language into another with complete accuracy, it is imperative for prospective translators to demonstrate exemplary writing and editing abilities.

Distance learning certificates are available to translators wanting to expand their current skills or to candidates seeking a preliminary education, which may require an entrance examination and successful completion of an introductory language course prior to admission.

Course Topics

Students can choose language combinations - such as Spanish-to-English or English-to-Spanish - where several language and writing classes may be offered. Additional courses may consist of the following:

  • Composition
  • Computer-based translation
  • Editing
  • Translation procedures
  • Terminology

Bachelor's Degree

Four-year online bachelor's degree programs in Spanish generally prepare students for careers in translation. Some programs allow students in this major to test out of specific language courses, since they may already be fluent. Because of this, some programs allow students to tailor their coursework significantly.

Course Topics

Online programs in Spanish cover the culture, history and politics of all the people who are united by a single language, so only some of the training will cover translation directly. Courses that prepare graduates to translate idiomatic phrases and references to specific historical events include the following:

  • South American literature
  • Latin American traditions
  • Intercultural thinking
  • Modern history
  • Global economics

Graduate Certificate Programs

Online Spanish translation certificate programs at the graduate level are open to students who already have bachelor's degrees. Applicants may need to attend an interview, successfully complete an essay written in Spanish and translate a document from English to Spanish and vice-versa. A minimum grade point average (GPA) might be required for enrollment, but applicants with a lower GPA can be admitted, with faculty approval.

Course Topics

Although students take translation and language classes, they may also take various courses, such as interpreting and research, which can include Spanish-to-English and English-to-Spanish workshops. Translation students may elect or be required to learn about the following areas:

  • Medical terminology
  • Legal text translation
  • Business translation
  • Translation theories
  • Translation technology

Master's Degree Programs

There are some online graduate courses in Spanish that may be offered as a specialty option within a larger part of a master's degree program. Available to those with bachelor's degrees, these 18- to 24-month programs allow students studying Spanish translation to examine cultural and global issues as an integral part of understanding cultural differences. Programs may be offered as Master of Arts, Master of Science or even Master of Library Science degree programs in Spanish or translation studies.

Course Topics

Although some of the classes are unique within each school's curriculum, the general coursework required for students to earn a master's degree in Spanish translation could include the following:

  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Translation project management
  • Translation of scientific texts
  • Court interpreting
  • Contrastive stylistics

Career Information

After graduating, students may be able to pursue employment in the medical, educational, judicial and literary fields.

Aspiring Spanish translators can get relevant training through both undergraduate and graduate-level online programs. Certificate programs typically provide career-focused training in the technical aspects of spoken and written translation, while degree programs are broader, including more courses in the nuances of culture, history and communication.

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