Educating the Next Generation

Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translation

How Interpreting Works

Overview | Advising | GC Plan | MPS Plan | Assessment

Interpreting Program Overview

Interpreting offers two plans of study in a seminar-style, face to face learning environment using the standard, semester-based 16-week academic calendar. Courses meet at the UMD College Park campus. Interpreting offers regular instruction in high demand languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Other languages can be accommodated. English must be either your native tongue or the primary acquired language. For information, contact the Academic Director.

  • The Graduate Certificate in Consecutive Interpreting (GC-Interpreting) is one-year, 21-credit of full-time core training in the fundamental skills of consecutive interpreting in interpreting studies, the interpreting profession, and intercultural communication. See GC-Interpreting Plan
    • Students who successfully completed the GC-Interpreting and wish to pursue the MPS, must first submit an application for the MPS. You do not need to re-submit accompanying application materials, retake the Program Admissions Test, or pay the application fee if applying within a five-year period. You are required to take the Second Year MPS Degree-track Entry Tests.
  • The Master of Professional Studies in Interpreting (MPS-Interpreting) is a two-year, 44-credits of full time study, designed to equip students with the required competencies to compete successfully for work as conference interpreters or community interpreters. Students select one of two tracks: Conference or Public Service Interpreting. Instruction includes:
    • Year I: 21 credits of core training in the fundamental skills of consecutive interpreting in interpreting studies, the interpreting profession, and intercultural communication.
    • Year II: 23 credits of advanced training in consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, advanced training in interpreting studies, intercultural communication, and/or communication in political, legal, or healthcare settings, and/or training in communication and language services program management. Students complete a career portfolio and the professional practice forum.

Advising & Academic Director

Mentoring and advisement is an essential part of the program. Students meet with faculty and the program director to ensure that educational goals are being met. Prospective and current students are urged to consult with Professor Esperanza Pombo, Academic Director, Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translation, e-mail: epombo@umd.edu.

GC-Interpreting Plan of Study

The GC-Interpreting is one-year, 21-credit program of full-time core training in the fundamental skills of consecutive interpreting in interpreting studies, the interpreting profession, and intercultural communication. Students enroll in 10 to 11-credits in the fall semester; 10 to 11-credits in the spring semester as detailed in the course plan of study, click here.

Successful completion means that you will gain skills in:

  • Performing as a consecutive or dialogue interpreter in professional settings (e.g., effective use of fundamental interpreting skills, time and resources for interpreting assignment preparation, logistics and workload management, coordination and cooperation with colleagues, effective and constructive self-assessment of performance, ability to provide constructive peer feedback)
  • Using simultaneous interpreting equipment
  • Working knowledge on topics that characterize private and public-sector settings in the respective language combination
  • Understanding the history, current developments, procedures and practices of representative organizations and institutions that provide or use interpreting services

MPS-Interpreting Plan of Study

In MPS-Interpreting, a two-year, 44-credit program of full time study, you’ll select one of two tracks: Conference or Public Service Interpreting. Students enroll in around 11 credits in each of the four semesters as detailed in the course plan of study below.

Conference Interpreting Track: Successful completion means that you will gain skills in:

  • Performing as a simultaneous interpreter in professional settings (e.g., effective use of time, tools, and resources for assignments, workload management, coordination and cooperation with colleagues, effective and constructive self-assessment of performance, ability to provide constructive peer feedback)
  • Demonstrating knowledge on topics that characterize private and public-sector settings in the respective language pair
  • Using simultaneous interpreting equipment
  • Demonstrating knowledge and skills in political, legal, and/or healthcare areas of concentration
  • Working knowledge on topics that characterize private and public-sector settings in the respective language combination
  • Demonstrating theoretical knowledge of communication studies through fulfillment of a research requirement
  • Understanding the history, current developments, procedures and practices of representative organizations and institutions that provide or use interpreting services
  • Developing approaches to overcome challenges to the development of interpreting expertise based upon review of relevant literature and use of deliberate practice strategies

Public Service Interpreting Track: Successful completion means that you will gain skills in:

  • Performing as an interpreter in professional settings (e.g., effective use of time, tools, and resources for assignments, workload management, coordination and cooperation with colleagues, effective and constructive self-assessment of performance, ability to provide constructive peer feedback)
  • Demonstrating knowledge and skills in political, legal, and/or healthcare areas of concentration
  • Working knowledge on topics that characterize private and public-sector settings in the respective language combination
  • Demonstrating theoretical knowledge of communication studies through fulfillment of a research requirement
  • Managing communication and language services programs
  • Understanding the history, current developments, procedures and practices of representative organizations and institutions that provide or use interpreting services
  • Developing approaches to overcome challenges to the development of interpreting expertise based upon review of relevant literature and use of deliberate practice strategies

Assessments

The program conducts the following comprehensive assessments and all testing reflects authentic, real-world translation requirements to the greatest possible degree, unless the test purpose or stage of translation acquisition makes modifications or deviations from real-world contexts essential. The topics of all tests are from current events and topical, cultural, or scientific issues widely discussed in the U.S. or international media, or the fields of health, law, or politics. The materials used in all tests are authentic materials and recordings from settings and text types frequently encountered by translators working in the fields of business, health, law, politics, and science and technology.

Program Admissions Entry Tests: For the GC and MPS, the admission tests are conducted at the time of application to determine whether students have the required language skills and analytical ability to perform successfully on tasks assigned as part of first-semester coursework.

Second Year Degree-track Entry Tests: For the MPS only. Prior to enrolling in second-year courses, all students admitted into the MPS in Interpreting must perform successfully on entry tests in one of the two MPS in Interpreting degree tracks: Conference or Public Service Interpreting. The purpose of the Degree-track Entry Tests is to determine whether students have the ability in their proposed language combinations to begin the specialized coursework required. Students submit a representative sample of introductory second-year translation coursework under examination conditions. Upfront payment of the $120 nonrefundable Entry Tests fee is required. For an overview, click here.

Degree Examinations: For the MPS only. Administered as part the required course COMM657 Professional Practice Forum in Interpreting: Career Portfolio and Exams, Degree Examinations determines whether students have the interpreting competence in their proposed language combinations to enter into the profession at a distinguished level, particularly through taking employer tests required for staff and freelance interpreting work and tests for professional certification. For an overview of the interpreting tests tasks, click here.

Career Portfolio Review: For the MPS only. The portfolio is part of the coursework for COMM657 Professional Practice Forum in Interpreting: Career Portfolio and Exams, a required course, and conducted after the Degree Examinations. The purpose is to determine whether students have the career strategies in their proposed language combinations to enter into the profession at a distinguished level, in particular through career goal setting and planning for future employment. The portfolio is a career development tool that students can use to seek and find interpreting work.

  • Scope and content: Includes documentation of a broad range of learning experiences in the field. Representative documents include biographical information such as résumés and curricula vitae, reflective statements of learning experiences from class assignments, internships and tests; peer, instructor, and employer (internship) feedback; and statements of career goals and career development strategies.
  • Review: Conducted with a panel of instructors and professional interpreters that may include representatives of employer organizations. The review is an opportunity to discuss career goals and long-term professional development plans based upon the contents of the portfolio, performance in the final degree examinations, and employer needs and hiring requirements.

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