Piet J. 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 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 for Iowa and Minnesota as well as a nationally certified medical interpreter, he is among a handful of people who have reached this top tier of professional legal interpreters for the state of Iowa.

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

An introduction to the related fields of translation and interpreting. Students will be introduced to the different theories and techniques of translation and interpreting, the differences between the two fields and within each field, ethical and moral considerations for translators and interpreters, the role of translating and the translator as well as interpreting and the interpreter, and the modes of interpreting including consecutive, simultaneous and sight-translation. Students will apply the theoretical principals by working primarily from their B language to their A language for both translation and interpreting. Prerequisites: SPA202 and two 3-credit 300 level Spanish courses, or by permission of instructor. (3 credits)

SPA332 - Interpreting I

SPA333 - Interpreting II

An intermediate level course taken after completion of Interpreting I, students will continue to strengthen their skills in sight-translation and short and long consecutive interpreting while beginning in-depth study of simultaneous interpreting. Students will reinforce their interpreting techniques by applying consecutive interpreting strategies to simultaneous interpreting. Course material will broaden from legal, medical and religious interpreting to include other areas such as science and politics, and will include continued discussion of moral, ethical and Christian considerations for interpreters. Although primarily from Language B to A, students will also begin to interpret from their A language into their B language more and more. Prerequisites: SPA331 & 332. (3 credits; alternate years, consult department)

SPA334 - Interpreting III

SPA336 - Translation I

SPA337 - Translation II

An intermediate level course taken after completion of Translation I,students will continue to strengthen their skills in translation by becomingmore adept at applying the theory, methods and techniques first introducedin earlier courses. Course material will come from a broad array of legal,medical, religious, scientific and political sources, as well as materialsstemming from community needs. Although primarily from Language B to A,students will also increasingly translate from their A language into their Blanguage more and more. Prerequisites: SPA 331 & 336. (3 credits; alternate years, consult department)

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)

“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 and southwestern Minnesota.

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

Notary Public.

Certified Medical Interpreter by the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. 

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