Community Spanish Interpreter Programs

North Carolina
Academic Level
Issue Area
Academic Program
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Bilingual /ESL,


The mission and purpose of Community Spanish Interpreter Programs are to train students to become paraprofessional community interpreters and translators so that they can enhance communication and cultural understanding between the Spanish- and English-speaking populations. Graduates are able to serve as translators or interpreters in a variety of community settings such as: hospitals, clinics, educational institutions, Social Services, faith-based organizations, refugee resettlement, Teen Court, Legal Aid, and more!

A new initiative is underway to incorporate telephonic interpreting into course curriculum in order to provide our students with an additional tool for their interpreter's tool box.

Program Description

In 2003, the Community Spanish Facilitator Certificate program was established in response to significant growth in our service area’s Hispanic population. There was a need to facilitate equal access to community services for Limited English Proficient individuals. It was soon discovered that community interpreters were in need of additional training in order to serve effectively in clinics and hospitals, and for this reason, the Medical Spanish Facilitator Certificate program was added to our departmental offerings. As national certification options for medical interpreters emerged in 2009 and 2010, momentum toward the standardization and formal recognition of medical interpreting as a subset of the community interpreting field was growing. In 2017, Durham Tech responded to the evolution of community interpreting profession when the college revised the Community Spanish Facilitator and Medical Spanish Facilitator Certificate programs in both title and curriculum content. Striving to stay current with new developments in the interpreting field, better serve our student population, and address community needs, four Community Spanish Interpreting Programs became available to the students in the fall semester of 2017. They are:

  • Community Spanish Interpreter - Public Service Diploma (47 credit hours)
  • Community Spanish Interpreter - Public Service Certificate (18 credit hours)
  • Community Spanish Interpreter - Medical Interpreting Diploma (47 credit hours)
  • Community Spanish Interpreter - Medical Interpreting Certificate (18 credit hours)



All of our students are required to complete professional or Service Learning hours in their final semester. Collectively, on average, interpreting students serve a combined total of 500+ hours of consecutive interpreting for local non-profit organizations each spring. Program students may also take advantage of job shadowing opportunities at area hospitals.