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World Languages & Cultures| Spanish Translation Certificate

Undergraduate Certificate in Translation: Spanish

The undergraduate certificate program in Spanish translation provides students with an introduction to the methods, problems, technology, and theory of translation of the written word. The emphasis is on general translation into English, but we also provide secondary training in reverse translation, and use texts from the fields of business, politics, technology, medicine, and literature.

Our guiding principles are “learning by doing” and “connecting Academia with the world.” Students work individually and in groups to complete real translation assignments in a simulated working environment, thus familiarizing themselves with the different phases of translation as a process and a product: textual analysis, to identify preliminary problems and choose a particular translation approach and technology; documentation, to solve field-specific problems of meaning and form through meticulous research via online and offline sources; pre-translation and translation, with and without the help of computer-assisted technology, and evaluation, to control and assess the quality of a translation product, self-made or otherwise.

Our teaching is in line with current research and the market’s needs. Thus, in addition to traditional full-text translation, we provide training in other highly demanded services such as adaptation and selective trans-adaptation. Also, and differently from other translation programs, we do not teach translation theory and practice as separate courses but in tandem. Rather than training students to follow a particular framework, we foster an environment where students are encouraged to evaluate and critique their own translations and their peers’, assessing the potential contribution of critical notions in translation theory (e.g., skopos, equivalence, invisibility, translationese, etc.).

Similarly, because the computer has become a crucial part of the professional translator toolkit, we train students to translate by using technology. Students learn how to mine the Web to retrieve information from open-public and specialized databases, dictionaries, discussion boards, or even Facebook; they familiarize themselves with the basic functioning of translation memory systems, such as Wordfast, SDL Trados, or Déjà Vu; they learn how to write collaboratively using Web 2.0 tools such as Google+, Google docs, or iEtherPad; or they learn how to create captions with subtitling software, to provide a few examples.   

In today’s global economy, translators are employed by governments, international organizations, commercial and nonprofit research institutions, national and multinational corporations, and the news media. Language majors and minors, students in international business or international affairs, and anyone seeking employment at agencies or businesses with an international dimension can enhance job possibilities through translation expertise.

Admission to the Program

Open to all students who have completed the appropriate 300-level Conversation and Composition II or Advanced II language course, or equivalent. Equivalency is determined in consultation with faculty advisor. Students whose native language is not English must meet university requirements for English competency (minimum TOEFL score of 600). Before commencing the program, students should consult the appropriate advisor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures to plan out their program of study. 


Certificate Requirements

The certificate consists of 15 credit hours of course work. For core courses to count toward the certificate, students must receive a grade of B or better; for elective courses, a grade of C or better is required. For non-core courses, students complete an additional translation project beyond the normal course requirements and must receive a satisfactory evaluation for their project. Students will only be permitted to do these translation projects after having completed at least one of the first two core courses. All courses taken in the Department of World Languages and Cultures toward the certificate may be used by undergraduates toward departmental majors or minors in the same language. 


Course Requirements

The Spanish translation certificate program provides students with a solid grounding in translation theory and practice. The undergraduate translation certificate consists of the following courses:


  • SPAN-458 Introduction to Spanish Translation (3) 
  • SPAN-459 Advanced Spanish Translation (3) 
  • One of the following: 
  • SPAN-461 Introduction to Spanish Linguistics (3) 
  • SPAN-456 Spanish Topics: Advanced Spanish Linguistics (3) or Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition (3) 


  • Two courses selected from the other core courses or from offerings in Spanish at the level of SPAN-355 or above.

Students interested in obtaining further translation credentials are encouraged to discuss their options with their adviser. 

Useful Documents

Certificate of Translation Checklist: Spanish


Declare your translation certificate here.

For more information contact:
Courtney Pollack
(202) 885-1452