Foreign language programs

Your language study at Northwestern will include cross-cultural opportunities around the world and outside your door as you learn about breaking through barriers. In addition to spending a semester abroad, you might accompany professors as they translate in the courtroom or hospital.

Translation and Interpretation Major: Spanish-English

The closely related fields of translation and interpreting are becoming increasingly important in today's society. With the growing importance of Spanish, the need for qualified interpreters and translators continues to rise. The translation and interpreting program at Northwestern College has been developed to equip the student with the necessary knowledge, tools and abilities to become a competent interpreter and translator.

Successful professional interpreters and translators have a wide range knowledge in many subject areas. As such, a liberal arts education is key to future success in the field, and interpreting and translation students are encouraged to take additional courses in different subject areas. Furthermore, the seven specific courses in translation and interpretation are designed to give the necessary theoretical platform for successful translation and interpreting. As students advance through the program, they will learn to apply the theoretical principles as well as the knowledge acquired in other Liberal Arts courses in order to achieve superior translation and interpreting outcomes.

The translation and interpreting program is intended for incoming bilingual students (those students who are seeking to improve their knowledge of Spanish should enroll in the regular Spanish major) and requires a minimum of seven semesters to complete. During the earlier courses in the program, the focus will be on translating and interpreting from the students' B language into their A language; however, as students progress through the program, there will be increasing emphasis as well on working from the A language into the B language. Courses focus on a wide range of subject areas and include a strong emphasis on service learning -- thereby providing real world experience for the students -- as well as an ongoing focus on moral, ethical and Christian considerations for interpreters and translators.

Not only is it one of a handful of programs at the baccalaureate level in the United States, the Northwestern program has also invested in the necessary training resources for its students. The college has a dedicated interpreting laboratory with 13 soundproof booths, an interpreting booth as part of the college's main venue for many public events, as well as portable equipment.

In the final year of the program, students will participate in a practicum experience in which they will be in the community as professional interpreters and translators. Not only will they be providing an important service to the community, they will also be acquiring valuable experience and applying what was learned in the classroom. The practicum is the final step of the Northwestern program before the student begins a career in interpreting and translation or proceeds to graduate study in the field.

 Student Learning Goals:

Upon successfully attaining a B.A. in Translation and Interpretation, as student will:

  1. Be able to translate general written documents from his/her B language into his/her A language at a quality level that would be acceptable at a professional level without additional major revisions or editing.
  2. Be able to translate general written documents from his/her A language into his/her B language at a quality level that would be acceptable at a professional level with a limited amount of additional revision or editing.
  3. Be able to interpret consecutively from his/her B language into his/her A language for a general speaker of that language for segments of up to one minute without major meaning errors or major omissions.
  4. Be able to interpret simultaneously from his/her B language into his/her A language for a general speaker of that language without major meaning errors or major omissions.
  5. Understand the theoretical principles of translation and interpreting and be able to apply them in his/her translation and interpreting and thereby attain goals #1 and #2.
  6. Be able to sight-translate general documents from his/her B language into his/her A language.
  7. Have developed life-long learning habits that include reading a wide array of materials in both languages from many different disciplines.
  8. Understand and be able to apply the moral and ethical considerations for translators and interpreters, as well as their role as Christians in these fields.
  9. Be able to handle and present themselves as professional translators and interpreters as well as reacting in a professional way to demanding and uncomfortable situations and translating and interpreting assignments.


SPA 202 - Intermediate Spanish Language and Culture
SPA 312WI - Advanced Grammar and Composition
SPA 326 - Spanish Phonetics
SPA 327 - Hispanics in the United States
SPA 331 - Introduction to Translation and Interpreting
SPA 332 - Interpreting I
SPA 333 - Interpreting II
SPA 334 - Interpreting III
SPA 336 - Translation I
SPA 337 - Translation II
SPA 338 - Translation III
Choose one course: 2 credits
SPA 345 - Practicum in Translation and Interpreting
SPA 417 - Internship
Cognate requirements:
ENG 345 - Linguistic Perspectives on English
Choose one course: 4 credits
PSC 225 - Introduction to Law
SOC 220 - The Criminal Justice System
Total credits required: 43

Note: Internships range from 2-12 credits. The maximum credits applied to the major is noted under the 417 course designation.