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This program will introduce students to the important field of translation and allow students to develop and ultimately to demonstrate competency in essential translation skills. The sequence of courses will also provide students with an understanding of the skills needed to become professionally certified translators and/or to work as salaried or freelance translators. Students will complete translation projects and will compile a professional portfolio by the end of the certificate program.


Certificate in Translation

Why pursue a certificate in translation?

This certificate is a timely response to job trends. With our world becoming increasingly connected and our nation becoming increasingly multilingual, the need for qualified translators is growing. The US Department of Labor reports that the employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 46 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all other occupations. The highest salaries in this field go to those in the intelligence community and government, but interpreters and translators are also in high demand in legal, medical, technical, scientific, business, education, law enforcement and social services fields.

What courses are required?

The certificate requires students to hone their English skills and to select one language--French, Italian, or Spanish--as their translation language. At present, the certificate is limited to French, Italian or Spanish as translation languages because these are the languages in which SSU has fully developed advanced course offerings. Students with skills in other languages may still pursue the certificate, provided they also develop advanced proficiency in French, Italian or Spanish.

The first course in the certificate is Introduction to Translation (WLC 300), which requires students to have completed at least the 201 level (or any higher course) in their chosen translation language. However, the courses can be taken in any order, provided that students complete four of the certificate courses (WLC 300, ENL 306, the advanced grammar course in and the translation practicum) before taking the capstone Seminar in Translation (WLC 501).

The certificate requires 18-21 credits in seven competency categories. In many categories, there are a range of choices from which students may choose.

Credits Competency Course Required
 3 cr.

Introduction to Translation : an introduction to the profession and practice of translation

  • WLC 300: Introduction to Translation
 3 cr.

Advanced Grammar course in a target language: mastery of grammatical skills in a target language

Choose one advanced grammar course in chosen language:

  • FRE 301 Advanced French Grammar
  • SPN 350 Advanced Spanish Grammar, or
  • ITL 350 Advanced Italian Grammar
  • or score of 5 on AP exam in one of these languages


 3 cr.

Advanced Grammar course in English: mastery of grammatical skills in English

  • ENL 306: Grammar and Style
 3 cr.

Advanced Writing course in English or in a target language: develop strategies for effective writing for varied purposes and audiences

Choose one advanced writing course in English or chosen language:

  • ENL 310 (Intro to Professional Writing)
  • ENL 316 (Travel Writing)
  • FRE 352 (French Composition)
  • ITL 354 (Italian Composition), or
  • SPN 354 (Spanish Composition)
 0-3 cr.

Professional experience or course: demonstrate familiarity with the lexicon of at least one of the translator’s key fields: literature, business, legal, medical/technical, social/community

Choose one of the following:

  • BIO 200 or 201 (Anatomy and Physiology I or II)
  • BUS 170 (Intro to Business)
  • CRJ 101 (Intro to Criminal Justice)
  • COM 316 (Communications in the Global Village)
  • IDS 260 (Intro to Pre-Law Studies)
  • SPN 250 (Spanish for Medical Professions)
  • SWK 101 (The Profession of Social Work)
  • POL 251 (Introduction to International Relations)
  • POL 354 (International Cooperation and Governance)
  • or ENL/FRE/ITL/SPN 400-level literature course
  • or show professional credentials or completion of a degree or certificate in one of the key translator's fields, with approval of the WLC department chairperson
 3 cr.

Translation practicum in target language: develop and demonstrate translation skills in a target language

Choose one translation practicum:

  • FRE 400 French Translation
  • ITL 400 Italian Translation
  • SPN 450 Spanish Translation
 3 cr.

Seminar in Translation: capstone course to develop a portfolio for professional use

  • WLC 501: Seminar in Translation

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to take these courses in addition to my major/minor/gen ed requirements?

No! If you are a current undergraduate, you can "double-dip" courses in the Translation Certificate with courses in your major, minor, or general education curriculum. University policies state that a course can not be used to fulfill both a major requirement and a general education category (exception: WII and WIII courses are not credit courses in the gen ed curriculum). However, a certificate is simply a sequence of courses taken during a student's undergraduate career and therefore these courses CAN count for the certificate and also for the student's major/minor. Similarly, students can count a course for the certificate and for the general education curriculum. For example, SPN 354 can be used both for the certificate and for the Spanish major, and this course also counts as a WII general education course.

Do I need to be bilingual or fluent in both languages?

No. This certificate is for undergraduate students and professionals who are still developing language skills. Students entering the certificate may begin while at the intermediate level of language learning. By the end of the certificate, non-native speakers of the foreign language should be at the “intermediate-high” or “advanced-low” levels of proficiency, if not higher. Students who are native speakers of a target language (French, Italian or Spanish) and are learning English are also welcome to complete this certificate and should reach the “intermediate-high” or “advanced-low” proficiency level in English by the end of the certificate. Bilingual students are also highly encouraged to complete this certificate, as they have likely already developed advanced skills in both languages.

Will I be a professionally certified translator after completing this certificate?

No. To become a professionally certified translator, you must become a member of the American Translator Association, demonstrate work experience in the field, and complete a rigorous series of tests (see for more information). However, this certificate will give you the beginning skills you need to enter this field and to work towards professional certification.

How long does the certificate take?

We will offer all of the courses needed for the certificate in a two-year rotation. Taking classes part-time or as part of your regular undergraduate load, it is possible to complete the certificate in two years or you can spread out the courses over your four year undergraduate program. As the program grows, we will be looking at other models to allow community members, professionals and continuing education students to complete the certificate more quickly (intensive summer courses, nights and weekends). “Like” our department Facebook page to keep informed about current programs and offerings (

Can I complete the certificate at night?

Currently, we are offering the courses for the Spanish/English version of the certificate at night (4:30 pm or later classes). The French/English and Italian/English versions are currently offered only in the day schedule. However, the program is open to students who are not matriculated undergraduates (community members, professionals) who are available to take courses during the day. Students simply enroll in the certificate and take the French and Italian courses that are offered during the day.

How do I enroll in the program?

You may begin taking translation certificate classes at any time. To officially enroll in the program, please contact the College of Continuing and Professional Studies.

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