2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin

Spanish Legal Translation and Legal Interpretation Certificate

Translation is the process by which written text is rendered from one language into another. The original is in written form, and the translation into the other language is also produced in written form. Interpretation is the process by which oral communication is rendered from one language to another. The original is spoken, and the rendition is delivered in another spoken language. This certificate program prepares students for careers in legal translation and legal/court interpretation. It will instruct students in the techniques and procedures of producing both an accurate, efficient interpretation and translation, particularly in the legal field. Students completing this certificate will be prepared to take the State and Federal court interpreter certification exams, the American Translators Association (ATA) certification test, and for careers in interpretation and translation.

Learning Outcomes. Students will be able to:

  • Analyze source texts, both technical and non–technical, from the perspective of an interpreter/translator.
  • Perform advanced linguistic, terminological, and subject matter research as needed by the target communication or text.
  • Convey oral and written communications or texts from a source into a target language according to specific standards of accuracy.
  • Enter the interpretation/translation market or, if already in it, to advance with a high degree of professionalism, skills and knowledge.
  • Perform liaison, consecutive or simultaneous interpretation or sight translation as needed by the situation.
  • Gain a valuable broader understanding of the cultures implied, in addition to technical and professional knowledge.

Rationale. The U.S. Department of Labor foresees a 20% employment growth rate for translators and interpreters between 2019 and 2029 (vs. a 4% average rate for other professions). Every multinational company and organization uses interpreter/translation services, and many companies now have interpreters/translators on staff. The ability to translate or interpret between languages is seen today as an asset by companies, institutions and government agencies. Legal translating and interpreting skills will make students more marketable and competitive. It will complement any major in criminal justice fields. Furthermore, this program is going to provide heritage learners at John Jay with the tools to use and think about two languages in a professional context.

Credits required. 24

Prerequisite. Fluency in English and Spanish, as determined by the department, required for enrollment. Students must take a Spanish placement test at the Modern Language Center (www.jjay.cuny.edu/modern-language-center). Students with a degree from a Spanish-speaking university/college should contact the program coordinator.

Timeline and course sequence: This Certificate program takes a minimum of 3 regular semesters and it can only be started in fall semesters. It follows this sequence: Fall 1 (200-level courses) - Spring 1 (300-level courses) – Fall 2 (400-level courses). Certificate courses are not offered in winter or summer. Students who need to complete any prerequisites (as assessed by the placement test) will need extra semester(s) before starting the program. 

Coordinators. Professors Maria Julia Rossi, Fall 2023 (mrossi@jjay.cuny.edu) and Aída Martínez-Gómez, (amartinez-gomez@jjay.cuny.edu), Spring 2024, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

Please Note: Completion of all eight required courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater is required for successful completion of the certificate program. A maximum of two courses can overlap with a student’s major, other minors or programs.

Tuition for Certificate Programs. Information on undergraduate tuition and fees can be found on the college website.  Typically, certificate students are considered non-degree seeking students. 

Required Courses

SPA 230Translating I


SPA 231Interpreting I


SPA 250Spanish for Criminal Justice


SPA 330Translating II


SPA 333Interpreting II


SPA 340Legal Interpreting I


SPA 435Legal Translating


SPA 440Legal Interpreting II


Total Credit Hours: 24