Interpreter Schools and Courses

Interpreters convey what deaf people or foreign-language speakers are communicating into English (and vice versa) in settings like schools, hospitals and courtrooms. You can study interpreting through certificate and associate's degree programs. Continue reading for more details about the various types of programs available and courses you may take. Schools offering Applied Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

In addition to being fluent in one or more foreign languages, you may need to complete a certificate or associate's degree program to become an interpreter. In some cases, these programs may focus on legal terminology and the courtroom. Two of the most prominent types of training involve foreign language translation or ASL and deaf communications.

Programs Certificate programs are available, but may require proof of proficiency; Associate in Applied Science in Interpreter Training or Interpreter Preparation programs may lead to certification
Certification Certification requirements vary by profession; available through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), the American Association of Language Specialists (TAALS) and the U.S. Department of State
Courses Deaf culture, transliteration, comparative linguistics, intercultural interpretation, sign-to-voice interpretation and ethics

What Certificate Courses Would I Take?

ASL certificate and associate's degree programs typically cover deaf culture, transliteration, comparative linguistics, intercultural interpretation, sign-to-voice interpretation and ethics. Some programs also include instruction in small business management to assist interpreters interested in freelancing. Internships generally allow you to practice your skills in the field.

Foreign language certificate and associate's degree programs often address grammar and writing, colloquialisms, interpretation fundamentals, foreign languages in the workplace and translation cognitive processes. Multiple internships may be included.

What Programs Prepare Me for a Career in Interpretation?

Programs that include ASL interpretation training may result in a certificate or an Associate of Applied Science in American Sign Language and Interpreter Training. An Associate of Applied Science in Foreign Language Interpreting may also be available. Certificate programs require up to a year of study, but some are only offered to practicing interpreters. Most certificate programs require proof of proficiency in ASL through an exam prior to admission. Associate's degree programs generally take two years to complete and may teach ASL alongside interpretation techniques.

Would I Need Certification?

There is no uniform certification requirement for interpreters; however, court interpreters may need to pass language certification exams issued by the federal government or become certified independently through their municipality or state. Additionally, voluntary certifications are available through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), the American Association of Language Specialists (TAALS) and the U.S. Department of State. The certification process usually includes an exam consisting of written and oral sections. Generally, applicants must have a certificate or degree in a foreign language or interpretation and experience working as an interpreter.

Where Could I Work?

As an interpreter, you could work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, physicians' offices, grade schools, colleges, courtrooms, public service agencies and local government offices. You also might seek employment with an international corporation or foreign government. You'll likely work a 40-hour workweek, but you might be self-employed, allowing you to set your own schedule.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Ashford University

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  • Maryville University

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  • Full Sail University

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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    • Master
      • Masters - English
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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Northcentral University

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  • Southwestern College

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    • California: Chula Vista
  • University of Iowa

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    • Iowa: Iowa City
  • Colorado Christian University

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    • Bachelor Degrees
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