Piet Koene Associate Professor of Spanish, Translation & Interpreting; Department Chair


M.A., Monterey Institute for International Studies
M.A., University of Toronto
B.A., Calvin College

KEPH 2nd

Professor Koene is a professionally certified translator and interpreter who has earned two master's degrees: one in interpretation and translation, and the other in Latin American history. He was Iowa’s Professor of the Year for 2004, chosen for that honor by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He is part of a bilingual family, having met his wife while living and working in Honduras. Time spent in Spain and Mexico has also contributed to his near-native fluency in Spanish and interest in Latin American studies.

Professor Koene advises Northwestern’s Spanish House, has led spring service and summer study trips to Honduras and Mexico, and serves as a translator and interpreter in the community. A state-certified court interpreter, he is among a handful of people who have reached this top tier of professional legal interpreters for the state of Iowa.

SPA201 - Intermediate Spanish Language and Culture

Combined study of intermediate language and culture. Study of primary sources in print, audio and visual forms to develop appreciation for the ways culture in general and the language's culture in particular shape a variety of social contexts. Building on previously acquired ability in Spanish, continued study of language in a communicative context with considerable emphasis upon precision and expansion of linguistic skills.Prerequisite: SPA102, or placement by the foreign language placement exam.(3 credits)

SPA311 - Advanced Spanish Conversation

The main goal of this course is to improve oral communication, which includes speaking as well as listening, comprehension. Since successful communication also involves cultural awareness of the Spanish speaker's feelings, thoughts and attitudes, part of this course involves studying sources of these important underlying constructs.Prerequisite: SPA202 or equivalent proficiency.(1 credit)

SPA325 - Oral Spanish Interpretation

An in-depth study of interpretation between Spanish and English, with both theoretical background knowledge and applied practice included. Specific topic areas covered involve legal, medical and religious interpretation. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisites: Spanish 202 and one 3-credit 300-level course. (3 credits; alternate years, consult department)

SPA327 - Hispanics in the United States

A wide-ranging study of the current situation of Hispanics in the United States. After an historical overview, a thematic approach will be taken to better understand the role of Hispanics in the United States and their growing influence. Possible topics include demographics, voting tendencies, purchasing power, Hispanic media, religion, labor laws, immigration, Spanglish and bilingualism, among others. Using interviews and research, the course will conclude with a study of our Hispanic neighbors here in northwest Iowa.Prerequisites: SPA202 and one 3-credit 300-level course.(3 credits, alternate years, consult department)

SPA328 - Written Spanish Translation

This course is an introduction to the theory, methods, techniques and problems involved in basic translation. The first half of the semester will focus mostly on translating from Spanish to English. The second half of the course will involve general material from specific areas of life: popular culture, music, social sciences, education, business, medicine, the legal profession, etc., with translation exercises from both Spanish to English and English to Spanish. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisites: Spanish 202 and one 3-credit 300-level course. (3 credits; alternate years, consult department)

SPA331 - Introduction to Translation and Interpreting

SPA332 - Interpreting I

SPA333 - Interpreting II

SPA334 - Interpreting III

SPA336 - Translation I

SPA337 - Translation II

SPA338 - Translation III

SPA344 - Practicum in Spanish

Designed for advanced Spanish students, this practicum gives students the opportunity to practice their Spanish on a daily basis in a Spanish speaking environment. Emphasis is placed on the development of oral communication, both speaking and listening. Placement opportunities include, but are not limited to, living in the Northwestern College Spanish house or with a Spanish speaking Hispanic family.Prerequisite: SPA202. Enrollment through permission of modern foreign languages department.(2 credits)

SPA365 - Special Topics in Language

See course description for LAN365. (2-4 credits)

SPA398 - Directed Study

SPA417 - Internship

(2 credits may apply toward the major or minor)

SPA499 - Honors Research

“Biblical Righteousness and Justice: Challenges for the Spanish-English Interpreter”, published in the Journal of Christianity and Foreign Languages, Vol. 14, Spring 2013.Professional Trainer, Translator Workshops, Advanced English to Spanish and Advanced Spanish to English Translation for Professional Translators, Nebraska Association of Translators and Interpreters (NATI), August 1-3, 2013.

Professional Trainer, Advanced Consecutive Interpretation Workshop for Professional Interpreters, Iowa Interpreters and Translators Association (IITA), June 29, 2013.

Professional Trainer, Interpreter Workshops, Sight Translation for Advanced Interpreters, Spanish-English, & Pitfalls of English-Spanish: Advanced Grammar Review for Interpreters, Nebraska Association of Translators and Interpreters, August 4-6, 2011

“The State of Undergraduate and Graduate Programs in T&I”, paper presented at Iowa Interpreters and Translators Association (IITA), June 11, 2011

“Interpreting: ‘The Commoditization of Language’ or ‘Bridging the Communications Gap that Sin Created’?” Paper presented at NACFLA (North American Christian Foreign Language Association); April 2011

“The Price of Justice”, published in Proteus, Volume XIX No 3, Fall 2010.

"The Price of Justice: Interpretation Costs in the Legal System and a Christian Perspective," paper presented at North American Christian Foreign Language Association (NACFLA) conference, 2008

"Professional Court Interpretation & the Christian Professor," paper presented at NACFLA, March 2007, and published in the Journal of Christianity and Foreign Languages, Vol. 9, spring 2008

"Integrating the Bible Into the Language Classroom: A Practical Approach to Key Biblical Passages and Their Relevance to Language," paper presented at NACFLA, April 2003

"Compliance or Revolution: Historical Reasons for Acquiescence and Deference in Honduran Culture," paper presented at NACFLA, April 2001

Translator and Interpreter, State District & State Juvenile Courts, northwestern Iowa counties

Translator and Interpreter, Federal District Court, Sioux City, IA

Notary Public

Christian Association of World Languages (president, 2007-09)

National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators

Iowa Interpreters and Translators Association (Board Member, 2012-currently)

Nebraska Association of Translators and Interpreters

American Translators Association

Exemplary Service to the Profession Award, Iowa Interpreters and Translators Association, 2012

Professional Interpretation and Translation Certification, Monterey Institute, 2009

State Certified Court Interpreter, Iowa, 2006

U.S. Professor of the Year (Iowa), Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Council for Advancement and Support of Education, 2004

Teaching Excellence Award, Northwestern College, 2003