Legal Interpreting Certificate

credits 15 | tuition $5,100 | scholarship* $2,100 | completion 8 months (2 semesters) | next start August 23
| *
all non-traditional online students receive a $2,100 life experience scholarship; see below for details

Earn your Certificate in Legal Interpretation online  and prepare for interpretation opportunities in the court system and legal settings. The 100% online program is designed for fully bilingual students to attain the needed skills to pass the legal interpreting certification exam after only two semesters. 

Students must be fully bilingual in English and Spanish to start the program. 

Interpreters are in high demand

Court interpreters play a vital role in court proceedings and certified interpreters are in high demand. Passing the challenging certification exam in legal interpreting guarantees you'll have profitable, flexible and meaningful job opportunities. Interpreters have a significant opportunity to professionally and ethically participate in court proceedings that involve non-English speaking individuals as litigants, defendants or witnesses.


100% online. 8-week courses. Structured support.

As one of the only online cohort-based programs, Northwestern offers both the convenience and structure to be successful in the  NCSC written and oral certification exams for court interpreting. The program keeps you on track, and provides individualized support from your instructor and among your cohort. 

Take one online 8-week class at a time, completing two classes each semester, and you'll earn your certificate of completion in 8 months (2 semesters). 


Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission, meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Send official transcripts from your high school or college showing at least nine completed credits by mail or as an official e-transcript to the admissions@nwciowa.edu
  • Complete a bilingual language verification conversation with the program director. 

About the curriculum

Only approximately 20% of candidates are successful in passing the NCSC verbal interpreting exam. Northwestern's Legal Interpreting Certificate is crafted for students to successfully pass both the written and verbal interpreting exam.

The four courses teach the needed interpreting skills including sight translation, consecutive interpreting, and simultaneous interpreting as well as the necessary terminology and understanding of ethics. Students will learn tools and knowledge needed by professional interpreters, such as the technology available to enable remote interpreting, and how to handle oneself as a professional interpreter. 
Students can plan for 15 to 20 hours of coursework each week including: 

  • Practice materials
  • Audible vocab terminology
  • Real feedback 
  • Live tutoring practice sessions
  • Interactive video instruction
  • Written and audible assignments
  • Practice tests

Meet your instructor, Piet

 

 

Legal Interpreting courses:

SPA 361 - Legal Interpreting I: Practice and Translation (4 credits)
An advanced level course introducing the students to the complex field of legal interpreting. The first of four courses, students will become familiar with the three interpreting modes - sight-translation, consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting - and will then focus on sight-translation; in addition, students will also learn the methods, techniques and problems involved in written legal translation. Students will work from English into Spanish and Spanish into English. All source materials will be legal/court related in nature. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the T&I program as demonstrated by a high level of fluency in both English and Spanish. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
SPA 362 - Legal Interpreting II: Practice & Ethics (4 credits)
An advanced level course building on the skills developed in the introductory course for the complex field of legal interpreting. The second of four courses, students will focus on consecutive interpreting, involving extensive note-taking and memory skills; in addition, students will also learn the intricacies of ethics for legal interpreters. Students will work from English into Spanish and Spanish into English. All source materials will be legal/court related in nature. Prerequisite: SPA 361. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
SPA 363 - Legal Interpreting III: Practice & Technology (4 credits)
An advanced level course building on the skills developed in the first two courses for the complex field of legal interpreting. The third of four courses, students will focus on the highly complicated skill of simultaneous interpreting, involving input and output at the same time; in addition, students will also learn about the different technologies and remote interpreting platforms that professional court interpreters use. Students will work from English into Spanish and Spanish into English. All source materials will be legal/court related in nature. Prerequisite: SPA 362. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
SPA 364 - Legal Interpreting IV: Practice & The Profession (3 credits)
An advanced level course building on the skills developed in the previous courses for the complex field of legal interpreting. The fourth of four courses, students will consolidate their skills of sight-translation, consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting as they prepare for certification exams; in addition, students will also learn about the intricacies and challenges of working as a professional, certified court interpreter. Students will work from English into Spanish and Spanish into English. All source materials will be legal/court related in nature. Prerequisite: SPA 363. (3 credits; alternate years, consult department)

Total Credits: 15 credit hours

 


*Life Experience Scholarship

In recognition of the valuable life experience you bring to this program, all non-traditional students in our first online cohort (2021–22) will receive a $2,100 scholarship. The resulting total tuition cost of $3,000 can be conveniently spread over ten monthly payments.
*The Life Experience Scholarship is not available for full-time residential students.  

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