This is a guest post by Kelly Jones.
I grew up bilingual and bicultural and I’ve always been fascinated by the skills of translators and interpreters. Heck, I have been (sort of) translating and interpreting in casual and personal settings ever since I can remember! It was a huge part of my childhood to connect my family with my friends, my mom and dad to everyday life, and my dad’s clients with the community. However, it wasn’t until recently that I realized the positive impact my bilingual skills can have on others and how much this positively impacted me.
So, in 2020, I began the search for a program that worked best for my needs and lifestyle. While doing research on virtual and hybrid programs, I stumbled upon University of California San Diego’s Extended Studies school and their online Professional Certificate in Translation and Interpretation in Spanish<>English. It checked all my main boxes: 100% online, experienced teachers still active in the industry, Spanish and English focused only, and beginner friendly. Also, it was apparent it catered to busy individuals (parents, working professionals, etc.), making it the perfect program for me.
UCSD Extended Studies offers a free informational session on the program I highly recommend to anyone interested. To enroll, you must present an entrance exam to prove you’re already bilingual in English and Spanish. The program is on a quarter system and is composed of 30 units: 21 units of required courses, plus three elective courses (most courses are 3 units each). The required classes are Introduction to Translation, Introduction to Interpretation, English to Spanish Translation 1, Spanish to English Translation 1, Theory and Practice of Translation, Consecutive Interpretation, Simultaneous Interpretation, and Sight Translation. The electives include topics from different specializations, such as Legal, Healthcare, Education, and Business.
It checked all my main boxes: 100% online, experienced teachers still active in the industry, Spanish and English focused only, and beginner friendly.
Classes are completely online through Canvas, a learning management system, and require weekly work to be done by the end of every Sunday. The Theory and Practice of Translation course I was enrolled in this past Winter 2022 quarter, for example, included weekly lessons (videos and readings), assignments and/or quizzes, and class discussions. In addition, most instructors schedule 2 or 3 Zoom sessions, with the ability to make up for any live sessions you’re unable to attend. Zoom sessions vary, depending on the instructor and material. Some are purely informational, while others are to practice interpreting in pairs or group translations and peer reviewing.
The instructors are experienced professionals who are either currently active in the field or have been significantly in the past. This I know from what they share with us in class and online, but also from how they approach their classes, the examples they use, and their commitment to the subject. They have all been responsive, kind, understanding, and a great resource. Instructors I’ve had the pleasure of taking class with, to name a few, include Judy Jenner, who owns Twin Translations with her sister and has an incredible background in translating and interpreting, and Rafaela Lombardino, who’s Tools and Technology in Translation coursewas a great look into what you need to successfully freelance and run your own business.
It’s ideal for those new to the field and that need flexibility (you can skip a quarter, take one class at a time, take two…). You pay per class as you sign up each quarter and, according to the website, the average student completes the program in 15 to 30 months. I personally will complete the program in a total of 10 quarters (about 2.5 years).
UCSD Extended Studies also has a separate certificate for just translating (SPA/ENG), if you are not interested or planning on working in interpretation. The only two downsides I see to what UCSD Extended Studies offers? It’s restrictive in that neither certification is meant for those with a different language combination than Spanish/English; however, it makes it much more specific and catered to those who are. And they do not offer many advanced classes, especially regarding electives.
It’s ideal for those new to the field and that need flexibility.
Overall, this program was the right pick for me. As a rookie who has a newfound, or previously hidden, love for translating and interpreting, I would highly recommend UCSD Extended Studies’ Professional Certificate in Translating and Interpreting. The courses were full of substance, the online system very user friendly, and the instructors some of the best I’ve ever had.
I look forward to finishing my last 3 classes this year, receiving my certificate, and preparing for the ATA exam. I am also grateful for all the connections I’ve made with teachers, with those enrolled to enhance their already amazing skills, and with newbie up-and-comers figuring it out, just like me.
Kelly Jones was born in California and grew up in La Paz, Mexico. She is scheduled to earn her UCSD certificate by the end of 2022 and will then take the ATA exam.
Kelly’s main profession is in the Food & Beverage and Events industries. She earned her B.S. in Hospitality, Tourism, and Event Management from San Jose State University in 2016 and worked at Pebble Beach Resorts, a high-end golf resort, for 6 years.
Kelly has recently relocated to New Jersey, where she is growing her events freelance network, as well as slowly building her experience and presence within the translating and interpreting community. To connect with Kelly, please reach out via LinkedIn.