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Extended Learning

Community Interpreting



The Professional Certificate in Community Interpreting allows dual-language participants who speak English and at least one other language with no prior interpreting skills to become a community interpreter in just 14 weeks. Develop skills that can be used in a variety of settings, including a community, business, healthcare or education site.

BPD Catalog Cover Fall 2021 

Click the image above to read about our instructor’s career and education as an interpreter!

Program Details


    Use your bilingual skills to advance your career in a broad range of community-based environments and position yourself for potential in-demand career changes or advances. This program is designed for:

    • Those who speak English and at least one other language and who are looking to start or advance their career
    • Those who work in a position that may require you to be a liaison to someone who has limited or non-English-speaking proficiency
    • Those responsible for ensuring your organization provides language-accessible services
    Course Dates Registration

    Community Interpreting

    Spring 2024 Session Cancelled

    Please email for information

    Course Details

    • Classes held from 6-8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays 
    • Classes will be held online utilizing Zoom and an online resource center


    • Program fee is $1,699
    • Online language assessment and textbooks are NOT included in the program fee


    You should purchase the two required materials directly from Cross Cultural Communications. When you order, include the priority code: ACADEMIC20 to receive a 20% savings (tax and shipping charges apply). E-book options are available as well. 

    1. Book: The Community Interpreter - An International Textbook
      Publisher: Culture & Language Press
      ISBN: 978-0-9823166-7-2
    2. Book: The Community Interpreter: An International Workbook of Activities and Role Plays
      Publisher: Culture & Language Press
      ISBN: 978-0-9966517-0-7

    Online Language Assessment

    Refer to FAQ section for information on the online language assessment requirement.


    Please note: All rates are subject to change without notice.


    Online Language Assessment Information

    Prior to taking the online language assessment, please contact the program coordinator, Chelsey Novak at, with the following information.

    • The high school from which you graduated
    • The city, state, and country in which the high school is located
    • The primary language you spoke at the time of graduation
    • The secondary language you speak

    Do I have to take an online language proficiency assessment?

    Yes, each student must take an online language proficiency assessment.

    CSUSM has contracted with Language Training International, a ACTFL Language Testing Center, to administer the online language proficiency assessment. Exam fee is $108. It is encouraged that all students take their language assessment prior to starting the program. The following languages are currently available: Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese, Portuguese-Brazilian, Russian, Spanish, and Tagalog.  If additional languages are requested or there are questions about the exam, please email

    Students must pass their exams with a rating of Advanced Mid-Level.  REGISTER FOR YOUR EXAM directly with Language Training International.

    CSUSM does not schedule these exams.


    This 14-week program is designed to provide the basics of interpreting for bilingual participants who speak English and any additional language. The program covers ethics, skills and protocols required of interpreters. Class discussions and content cover the various modes of interpretation, codes of ethics and standards of practice required for aspiring interpreters.

    The program uses the comprehensive learning content and materials developed by Cross-Cultural Communications (CCC), a program recognized nationally and internationally for community interpreters in the United States.

    Additional topics covered in the course include: positioning, terminology, steps for sight translation, intervention strategies and scripting, cultural mediation and other vital skills and protocols. Content is designed to include decision-making tools to help you make on-the-spot judgment calls in your daily work environment. The dynamic classroom experience of this course includes role-playing, individual and group activities rooted in real-world practice and immediate job application and relevance.

    • Learn the three types of interpreting, including consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting and sight translation
    • Practice interpreting protocols such as positioning, professional introductions in more than one language, direct speech and turn-taking management
    • Demonstrate an understanding and application of ethical principles for community interpreters
    • Understand strategies to acquire specialized subject-matter knowledge
    • Practice enhanced short-term memory skills for faster translation
    • Learn effective note-taking for interpreting
    • Develop techniques to perform intervention and mediation in common community interpreting situations

    Maribeth Bandas is vice president of BEAM Translation and Media Corporation in San Diego and director of translation services for the Hispanic Link Legacy Project. Maribeth is a certified translator and a licensed lead trainer of community and medical interpreters with 25 years of experience as a professional translator and Spanish instructor. She is licensed to teach The Community Interpreter (CI-000134-01 Cross Cultural Communications). Maribeth has trained students in the MA Program in Translation at the University of Puerto Rico through extended learning internships. She has taught English at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru, and Spanish at the University of Texas, Austin, at Cibeles Internacional, Madrid, Spain; and at Georgetown University, The World Bank and The George Washington University. In addition, she served as translator for the Washington, D.C., Mayor’s Office and as consultant for the Center for Applied Linguistics and evaluator for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

    “Professionally trained interpreters provide accurate, confidential and cost-saving support to the organizations and institutions that employ them. Effective communication reduces medical errors, increases patient satisfaction, saves costs on unnecessary testing and much more.”

    If you are interested in sharing your knowledge and expertise with our students, consider submitting an instructor application or course proposal for consideration.  Please contact Cathy Scavone at or 760-750-8706 for more information.

  • FAQ

    Are there any prerequisites?

    Each student must take an online language proficiency assessment.

    CSUSM has contracted with LTI The ACTFL Language Testing Office to administer the online language proficiency exam. Exam fee is $108. Please contact Cathy Scavone at 760-750-8706 or for exam registration. The following languages are currently available: Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese, Portuguese-Brazilian,Russian, Spanish and Tagalog. If additional languages are requested, please contact Cathy. Students must pass their exams with a score of Advanced Mid-Level score.

    Will I receive a certificate if I pass the program?

    After you successfully attend all course sessions, pass the two-hour written assessment and provide documentation of passing the individual language proficiency exam, you will be qualified as an interpreter and you will receive a Professional Certificate in Community Interpreting from California State University San Marcos.

    What services do you offer to active military, veterans and dependents?

    Please visit our military and veteran services page to learn how we can help.

    Does this program qualify for any SHRM recertification PDCs?

    Yes, this program is valid for 40.5 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP.

    Are language skills in-demand?

    A 2019 report by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages found that:

    • 9 out of 10 U.S. employers rely on college graduates with language skills other than English
    • 56% of U.S. employers say that their language skill demand will increase in the next five years
    • 47% of U.S. employers state a need for language skills exclusively for the domestic market
    • 1 in 3 language-dependent U.S. employers report a language skills gap
    • 1 in 4 U.S. employers lost business due to a lack of language skills

    How can I be considered for an instructor position or send in a course proposal?

    Thank you for your interest in becoming an instructor!  Please contact Cathy Scavone ( to receive an application and course proposal form.

Enter a growing field

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of trained interpreters and translators is projected to grow 29 percent from 2014 to 2024

Learn from the best

Learn from licensed industry professionals who teach the program and facilitate interactive exercises and lectures

Learn faster

This program is designed to help you learn faster with comprehensive study materials and interactive class structures

Become a qualified interpreter

After you successfully complete this course and pass the written assessment, you will be qualified as an interpreter


Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 19 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects should be best for those who have professional certification. The mean annual wage for interpreters and translators in California is $61,150.

– Bureau of Labor Statistics

Occupational Outlook Handbook

– Bureau of Labor Statistics

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