08:46 AM

Interpreter Training Classes Offered at UHD

Through a partnership with ACA Productions, the University of Houston-Downtown offers continuing education courses in medical and legal interpreter training to meet the growing demand for this profession.

Since 2014, students have taken workshops in either medical or legal interpreting. The classes cover topics such as ethics, medical or legal terminology, and instruction in three modes of interpretation. The courses are open to everyone, provided they are at least 18 and proficient in English and another language. These 40- to 48-hour courses prepare students to pass the national and state certification tests in their respective fields

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interpreting and translating is a rapidly growing field, with a projected growth rate of 18 percent. The bureau's average rate of growth among professional positions is seven percent.

An estimated 25 million Americans have limited English proficiency, and interpreters are especially in high demand in Houston, which is home to 145 languages and the third-largest Hispanic population in the United States.

Dr. Rey Romero, assistant professor of Spanish at UHD, explained the importance of interpreter training in Houston.

"The medical and court interpreting training courses at UHD are both an asset and a testament to Houston's growing diversity,” he said. “We are the most linguistically diverse city in the country, and our goal at UHD is to do our part to ensure that all Houstonians obtain the correct language access tools, which in turn, translate into equal access to social, medical, and legal services."

The interpreter training courses are taught by Graciela Zozaya, a Certified Medical Interpreter and Master Licensed Court Interpreter with more than 30 years of experience in the medical and legal translation and interpreting fields.

Zozaya explained that pursuant to the law, medical and court systems who receive federal funds must provide language services. She also described the necessity of quality training for interpreters and translators. Texas employs the second-highest number of interpreters in the nation. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, they earn an average of $21.43 an hour.

“Clear and accurate communication is key for positive medical outcomes and fair trials. The need for language professionals is a great one, there is too much at stake,” Zozaya said. “People’s lives and freedom depend on clear communications with medical teams and court members. Appropriate training ensures that interpreters understand this.”

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.