Across the United States there are more than 60 approved schools offering a certificate or a bachelor's degree in translation. Aquinas College in Michigan will start to offer the Bachelor of Science in Translation and Interpretation in the fall. It will be a first for the school and for the state, according to associate professor of Spanish, Marcos Romero, who teaches at Aquinas.
Reasons for offering the course
The course will be offered in German, French, and Spanish. Aquinas officials gave the reasons why they decided to offer the course. The first reason is to attract more students to the college. The second reason is to give these students marketable degrees. According to the school officials, the field of interpretation and translation is enjoying a high demand. The forecast is that the trend will continue for several years.
The program is designed to present a professional approach so that students will learn to develop the skills needed for using world languages in a real-world setting. The school plans to introduce the basic theories of translation and interpretation as utilized in real practice.
They based this on the statistics released by the Bureau of Labor. Accordingly, the job growth in this field is projected to increase nationally by 42 percent. In the next few years, the projected increase in demand in Michigan alone will be around 32 percent. Unlike other schools offering a similar course in specific specialization, the program offered at Aquinas will enable students to work in different sectors, such as industry, education, legal, medical, business and government, thus providing graduates with more job opportunities.
The school is also hoping that students who have completed their bachelor's degree will move on to enroll in graduate studies, and later get a master's degree in translation and interpretation. However, Romero added that those who have completed the undergraduate course will be ready to apply for the many job opportunities available such as interpreting and translation work with medical institutions, legal institutions and social services. They could also be freelancers or work for translation companies.
Increasing demand for other languages
One of the medical institutions that has an ongoing demand for translation services in Grand Rapids, Michigan is Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Its president, Bill Manns said that they used to need only Spanish translators/interpreters in the past. Today, the hospital has to take care of patients speaking about 40 languages. He added that each day there are 60 appointments that require interpreters. The hospital employs 8 interpreters full time and they have a contract for an additional 32.
Bill Manns said that West Michigan and Grand rapids are increasingly becoming cosmopolitan and they envision that their hospital will be the choice of providers for patients who need language assistance. He wants Mercy Health Saint Mary’s to provide a safe place for patients, both medically and linguistically. While they might also subscribe to a phone interpretation service, they place more emphasis on personal, face-to-face conversations. Manns added that their interpreters are not only trained in several languages but are also trained to read body language, so they could put patients who are wary and anxious at ease.
The program offered by Aquinas College will eventually assist in filling up the increasing need for language services in the state.
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