Aquinas College Offers Rare, In-Demand Translation and Interpretation Degree

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Starting this fall, Aquinas College will offer the only Bachelor of Science in Translation and Interpretation in the state of Michigan. Graduates will possess a major that prepares them for a sector that the U.S. Department of Labor projects as one of the fastest-growing, globally.  

The program is designed for students who are looking to work in a variety of settings such as government, business, medical, legal, education or industry, for translation agencies or as freelance translators. 
“Our goal is for graduates from this program to have a solid foundation of theoretical principles that they can use in professional settings or continue to build on in a graduate program,” said Marcos Romero, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Spanish. "As educators, it's important for us to constantly evaluate the job landscape and provide degrees that are rooted in the liberal arts and needed in the workforce."

The Bachelor of Science degree offers a professional focus meant to develop the skills needed to use world language translation and interpretation in a real-world setting. It introduces the basics of translation and interpretation theory as applied to the actual practice. 

As a local employer in need of translation and interpretation services on a daily basis, Bill Manns, President, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, is glad to see Aquinas focusing on the field in a practical way. 

“At Mercy Health Saint Mary's, we have experienced an increased need for interpreters for our patients,” said Manns. "In the past nine months alone, our Interpretive Services team has grown from three full-time interpreters to eight full-time interpreters to meet the needs of our community's linguistic and cultural diversity." 

Translators provide products and services, and work with written documents, as distinguished from interpreters, who work as oral language mediators. While most practitioners pursue one field or the other, it is possible to work in both.

Translation and interpretation is one of the top ten fastest-growing business sectors worldwide, with demand rising at 25- 30 percent per annum. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) projects a 46 percent growth nationally and a 32 percent growth in Michigan in employment for translators and interpreters with bachelor's degrees, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

The Aquinas program comprises core translation and interpretation courses and offers concentrations in French, German and Spanish to ensure competence in a world language. The requirement of a minor, or second major enables students to acquire a level of expertise in a specific field in which they can specialize. Students are also strongly encouraged to undertake study in a country where their language concentration is spoken.

Graduates will have an excellent command of the source language and cultural knowledge; an excellent command of the target language; an understanding of the theoretical principles of translation and interpretation and the ability to use translation tools effectively.


Media Coverage: 

WOODTV8 (video): Aquinas College Adding Translation Degree

MLive: New Aquinas Degree First of its Kind in Michigan