Home > Opinion > What should I major in? Throughout this academic year, The Rider will explore the programs of study at UTRGV. This is the fourth in a series. The Rider interviewed Gabriel González-Núñez, undergraduate translation and interpreting coordinator.
Opinion

What should I major in? Throughout this academic year, The Rider will explore the programs of study at UTRGV. This is the fourth in a series. The Rider interviewed Gabriel González-Núñez, undergraduate translation and interpreting coordinator.

books-1012088_960_720Major: Spanish translation and interpreting

School: College of Liberal Arts

Chair of the Department: Walter Diaz

Prerequisites: None

What is Spanish translation and interpreting? “We’re a major that seeks to train translators and interpreters. So, the idea here is that we allow students to develop the skills needed to enter the language industry as translators or interpreters.”

Which classes can students expect to take? “They have to take the general education core. Then they have major requirements. These will either be language building skills, so grammar classes and writing classes, or translation and interpreting classes, where they sit down and they work on their translation skills or where they role play interpreting scenarios like they’re in a hospital and a patient comes in and the doctors don’t speak Spanish. A lot of what they do is hands on.”

What skills will students learn by the time they graduate? “We offer courses in translation and in interpreting, so that when students leave, they have developed skills that will allow them to translate text at a professional level from Spanish to English or from English into Spanish. Also, if they want to seek employment as interpreters, then they will have those skills as well.”

What are some possible careers? “Translation and interpreting is, according to the [U.S.] Department of Labor, one of the fastest growing careers right now. Students that leave our program and have gone into this field can do a number of things. One of them is that they can work as in-house translators for large companies. For example, we now have a student that works for one of the national insurance companies, so they have a lot of stuff translated between English and Spanish. Then, a lot of them also choose to work as freelancers, which means they have different clients that they go and get themselves and do work for that one client. We have students who become interpreters or oral translators. They hear what the person is saying in English and say it to a person who doesn’t speak much English in Spanish. There’s also freelancing as interpreters as well. They specialize in a more formal business type of setting. We call these conference interpreters. Additionally, if they have enough computer skills, some of them will get into what we call localization, which is the field of adapting software into other languages and cultures. It’s not only the matter of changing the language but also maybe adapting the interface, pictures and so forth, to make it more suitable for more cultures.”

Who are some possible employers? “So, they might end up working in a court. They could also work in a hospital or national insurance companies. We have a number of people here that work for the immigration system.”

What salary can a student expect to earn after graduation? “It depends because it varies. There are many different options. A localizer will make more money than a literary translator. The median annual wage is around $45,000. The lowest 10 percent earns less than $24,000 and the top 10 percent earns more than $91,000. If you do localization, you should be closer towards the $91,000 side. It depends how much experience you have, it depends on your language combination and who your employer is. That’s why there is such a large range.”

For more information: contact González-Núñez at gabriel.gonzaleznunez@utrgv.edu or call 882-8246.

Compiled by Sarah Carvajal

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