Translation & Interpretation

The Translation and Interpretation Program offered by the Spanish and Portuguese Department is one of the very few programs in the nation that offers a Bachelor Degree in Spanish with a concentration in Translation and Interpretation (T&I). It is the only one that approaches both translation and interpretation simultaneously and comprehensively, focusing on healthcare and legal fields.

Our students come from the Spanish and Portuguese department, but we also receive students from other programs in the fields of Mexican-American and Raza studies, Latin American Studies, Physiology, Pre-Nursing, Pre-Medical, Public Health, Speech Therapy, Psychology, Law, and Business, among many others.

The T&I program addresses fundamental philosophical, theoretical, practical, and technical areas and skills necessary for the provision of professional cross-cultural linguistic services in the healthcare and legal sectors. It provides the academic resources and practical skills necessary for professional development as an interpreter and translator in those areas. The program offers courses in social justice, applied linguistics, translation and interpretation theory and practice. These include related aspects of human rights and

social-justice policies and standards for the provision of equal access to all people, and the role that language policies, translation and interpreting services for limited and non-English speaking populations play in attaining those goals. The curriculum explores how language works, the nature and structure of language, and aspects of linguistics relevant to the development of translation competence, especially grammatical competence in English and Spanish. It examines concepts and techniques related to perception, understanding, meaning, purpose, and function applied to professional translation and interpretation, as well as general aspects of the practice and professional standards of translation, interpretation and cross-cultural communication in healthcare and legal settings.

Why Translation & Interpretation?

We live in a global society that is diverse, mobile, and versatile. Contemporary American society is more multicultural and multilingual than ever before. A visit to a hospital waiting room or a courthouse confirms how many different languages are spoken and how many cultures are interacting.

Often times, language and cultural barriers prevent meaningful access to fundamental services, both to providers who do not speak their client’s language, or for people with limited English proficiency (LEP). Without skilled interpreters and accurate translations, providers and receivers cannot communicate effectively-whether about a disease or a legal issue. Due to increasing demand from the private and public sectors for professional, accurate, ethical cross-cultural communicators, the occupational outlook over the next decade for T&I is excellent, much better than average for all occupations.

Our mission at the T&I program is to make you a highly skilled translator and interpreter so you can bridge this gap, meet this need, and provide fluid communication between different cultural and linguistic groups so that everybody has a voice. If you are bilingual or highly proficient in English and Spanish and are interested in developing your linguistic skills as an interpreter and translator, we welcome you to the University of Arizona Translation and Interpretation program. You will have the opportunity to develop your oral and writing skills as a cross-cultural communicator in Tucson, the cultural capital of Southern Arizona, a multilingual and multicultural community in which different cultures and languages have been interacting for hundreds of years. Our interdisciplinary program offers you the possibility of pursuing a T&I concentration through the College of Humanities or the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, with access to courses in linguistics, anthropology, sociology, literature, Chicano studies, and many other areas. Our emphasis on cognitive approaches and practical opportunities (we have multiple internships and practicums with institutional providers of cross cultural services, such as courts, hospitals, legal aid offices, bilingual press, etc.) will allow you to simultaneously develop your academic skills and gain practical experience in a real life environment. If you are ready for a rigorous, hands-on, socially minded, and rewarding academic degree we challenge you to join our program and become part of the next generation of cross-cultural communicators.

Program Highlights

  • Interdisciplinary Curriculum
  • Experienced, Certified Faculty (Federal Court certified and medical interpreters, linguists, attorneys, former directors of interpreting services)
  • Advanced Methodology, Resources, and Materials
  • Multimedia and Language Labs
  • Emphasis on Formal and Practical Training (Social Justice, Applied Linguistics, Cognitive Development, Practicums in Courthouses, Hospitals)
  • Internships and Practicums (some with stipends/compensation)


Students enrolled in the T&I program major in Spanish, with a concentration in T&I. The major consists of 36 credits, 15 in Spanish and 21 concentration credits in T&I. The required concentration courses are listed below

Course Flow and Academic Requirements

The Translation and Interpretation Concentration requires a minimum of 36 units of upper division class work. Besides the required language courses (5 courses, 15 credits), students in this concentration are required to take the below specialization courses in Translation and Interpretation (7 courses, 21 credits).

Prerequisites and recommendations for each Translation and Interpretation course are discussed under the course descriptions that appear below. Any exception must be approved by the T&I Program Director.

Part A
Spanish Core

All Spanish majors must complete the 5 courses in the Spanish Core component.

Part B
Translation & Interpretation Emphasis

One course (3 units)

Both courses from the following list (6 units)

Beginning Interpretation
Both courses from the following list (6 units)

Advanced Interpretation
Both courses from the following list (6 units)

Testimonials from our graduates

The solid foundation I received in the Translation and Interpretation program, along with the application of those skills in a job in between, was a distinguishing factor in my application for medical school.
Estefanía López De Gallegos
MD Candidate, University of Arizona, College of Medicine – Phoenix

Since I graduated, I have enjoyed a very humbling and amazing career thanks to all the knowledge and preparation I gained in the program. The program gave me the skills and knowledge necessary to secure the jobs that would ensure me continued growth as a professional in the field.
Yovannah Diovanti
Staff Court Interpreter, Pima County Superior Court

By providing students with a solid grounding in various practicable terminologies and encouraging adaptability in complex situations, the T&I program served as a terrific training ground for my current work.
Eric Wheeler
Associate Director, Washington DC-based risk management consultancy

Read full quotes


Practicums, Internships, and Directed Study Options

Besides, the T&I program offers numerous practicums, internships, and directed study options with established legal and health care providers and institutions, so students can gain hands-on, practical experience while working with providers and serving the community.

doctor and intern talking with patients in waiting room

Recent internships for credit, merit based:

  • Pima County Superior and Juvenile Court
  • Tucson Medical Center
  • Translator for UA's departments (possibility of stipend)
  • Translator/interpreter for community organizations (possibility of stipend)
  • Translator/Interpreter for legal services (possibility of stipend)
  • Practicum Coordinator: coordinating practicums and internships
  • Student(s) assistant to the Translation and Interpretation Program (Must be federally eligible for work-study scholarships)
  • Directed Study

If you are already highly proficient in English and Spanish and are interested in cross-cultural communication or in becoming a translator/interpreter, we encourage you to keep reading and request additional information. You are very welcome!


Alejandra Torres 
T & I Program Coordinator


Ready to Declare?

Thank you for your interest, there are many benefits of majoring in Spanish & Portuguese! Declare a major or minor in one of the following ways:

In Person

To declare a major, please schedule an appointment using the button below.

Online form

Complete the online Major/Minor declaration form (NetID required). An academic advisor will follow up with more information as soon as possible. Please note that there may be slight delays during registration and other periods during the semester. If you have any questions, please contact