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How Do I Become a Certified Spanish Interpreter?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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A certified Spanish interpreter has credentials that attest to his proficiency at interpreting the Spanish language. The most important step to take to become a certified Spanish interpreter is to gain expert-level fluency in Spanish and another language. You can gain this type of expertise through constant exposure to two languages, such as if you live in a bilingual home, or if you can live for a period of time in a foreign country. Alternatively, you can use higher education to gain the level of expertise you need to become a certified Spanish interpreter. Once you are fluent with Spanish and another language, you can fulfill the criteria for taking a certification exam and then pass the exam's written and verbal components to earn certification.

You will need fluency in Spanish and another language to become a certified Spanish interpreter. Usually, this means developing a firm grasp of your native language and Spanish. If Spanish is your native language, however, you will need to have fluency in it and another language, such as German, Italian, or English. It often is easiest when bilingual language skills are developed in childhood, and people who are raised in bilingual homes often find preparing for interpreting careers less difficult. You can also learn a second language as an adult, however, and work hard to become bilingual.

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Taking classes in a second language may help you when you want to become a certified Spanish interpreter. You can take such classes through a community college or four-year university as well as through some other types of educational institutions. Immersion-based courses that require you to speak the non-native language the entire time may help you pick up on its nuances faster. You can also consider spending an extended amount of time in the country in which the non-native language is spoken. This way, you gain exposure to the manner in which native speakers express themselves and also learn to interpret non-verbal cues, tones, and body language.

A bachelor's degree isn't typically required when you want to become a certified Spanish interpreter. Usually, a high school diploma is suitable for this position, but earning a bachelor's degree in Spanish may help improve your chances of landing a job. You will also have to contact a certifying agency and meet its criteria for taking a Spanish certification exam. This may involve taking an approved course in Spanish interpreting or showing that your level of experience with the language is equivalent to that of someone who has taken such a course. You will likely then have to pass written and verbal exams to gain certification.

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