It was through a friend who also went through the Spanish/English Court Interpreting program and is now a certified court interpreter. We were both attorneys in our home countries, so we already had a legal background. She thought I might be interested in the field since I was doing interpreting at the Pleasanton Unified School District.
I will finish the Interpretation Certificate this term (spring 2017). I will have taken all six required classes.
That I could complete all the courses online. It gives you the flexibility to set your own schedule. So you can work in the morning or at night.
Additionally I liked that you can ask questions during the week and instructors were quick to respond so that you could continue with your homework. You could send an individual email, but it was better to post in the forums so that everyone in the class could benefit. The instructors, Marta Riesen in particular, would respond with plenty of detail. You would ask on Monday and get a thorough answer by Tuesday. They would even answer questions posed on weekends. You often don't see that level of instructor availability in traditional classrooms.
I also enjoyed my classes with Eric Bishop. He is a positive and encouraging teacher. I'm glad I got a chance to meet him in person when I needed to take the final from him. They were all excellent teachers.
I like how Carol Palacio set up a virtual chat so that we could form study groups. It gave me an opportunity to meet other students in the class and develop some friendships.
The forums were nice. Students can get feedback from each other and help others whose English or Spanish were not as strong. Another was an assignment where we had to go to court to observe a trial. It allowed me to see the attorneys' arguments and get a feeling for how a courtroom is run and what would it be like to work there.
I've enjoyed my work with the Pleasanton School District, but would like to move into the legal area. My next goal is to pass the California Court Interpreter Exam in September and hopefully work for the court by next year.
I was given the tools to expand my legal vocabulary, especially in English. I was also able to increase my mental agility. Initially it was hard for me to translate complicated material, but now I feel more comfortable and can do so at a faster speed and with more accuracy. I liked having teachers who work as Court Interpreters. They gave us tips, encouragement, and guidance.
I enjoy the flexibility interpreting provides. Where I work, I interpret for students with disabilities. I communicate with the teachers and school staff. I also communicate to parents on the progress of their child and information on services we can provide for students. I also communicate to school staff and teachers any concerns parents may be having.
I really enjoyed being able to take the classes online, at my pace. It is not an easy program at all. You need a lot of discipline and commitment. But with the guidance of the wonderful teachers and the resources provided, I think I am going into the right path of passing the Court Interpreter State Exam.