Sara Sandoval (left) and Kelly Leslie Medina-Bravo (right) go over what Medina-Bravo will be interpreting during the Fundamentals of Translation and Interpretation class at Sno-Isle Technical Skills Center on June 6 in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Sara Sandoval (left) and Kelly Leslie Medina-Bravo (right) go over what Medina-Bravo will be interpreting during the Fundamentals of Translation and Interpretation class at Sno-Isle Technical Skills Center on June 6 in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Class in Everett school prepares students to be translators

A year in, the interpretation and translation course is seeing promising results for bilingual students.

EVERETT — For years, Sara Sandoval has been an unofficial interpreter for her family.

The high school senior said translating is something she does every day. At doctors appointments, in social settings or otherwise, the bilingual 18-year-old ensures her Spanish-speaking parents can be understood.

Now, thanks to Sno-Isle TECH Center’s interpretation and translation course, Sandoval and students with similar expertise can turn this ingrained ability into a profession.

“There is a bunch of students out there who have this skill, but they don’t know that they can use it,” said Sandoval, a graduating Kamiak High School senior. “That they can use it to help others and make a little career out of it. I think it’s really important that this program is here, because there are other students out there who can do the same exact thing.”

In just one year, bilingual high school students learn to professionally relay communication between languages, while also studying the ethics of interpretation, building professional portfolios, learning the business side of the field and preparing for the Washington translation certification exam.

Once endorsed, students can get a business license and work as contracted interpreters. They’ll be certified for two kinds of practices: Translation, which deals with writing, and interpretation for verbal communication.

“This is what we do at Sno-Isle,” said Isabel Espino, translation and interpretation instructor. “We train students to basically leave high school and be employed right away and they can do this with this program.”

In the inaugural year of the class, 18 students are enrolled, including speakers of Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese. By the end of the school year, eight will have taken the test to be certified interpreters.

These students will be entering the profession at the right time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that interpretation and translation jobs will grow by 18 percent over the next 10 years, well above the national average for other occupations.

“There is a big demand right now and there will be a big demand,” said Espino, a former translator herself. “We are becoming more and more global. We need interpreters everywhere.”

Sandoval has a jump on the industry. While still in high school, she has applied for a business license and begun Sandoval’s Interpretation and Translation, her own company where she already is contracted for interpretation opportunities.

“When I saw that I had a skill that I can actually help people and make a living with, I was like, ‘I really want to do this,’” she said.

The Sno-Isle program, just the second of its kind in the state, requires students to be bilingual and biliterate in English and another language, and prefers them to also be bicultural.

Course instruction utilizes specialized equipment for students to practice acquired skills like simultaneous translation, consecutive translation and proper situational translation.

The tools have given Fernanda Legorreta, 17, of Lynnwood High School, hands-on experience with professional gear similar to that used at the United Nations, where she aspires to work as an interpreter.

“This program will really help a lot of people to be certified and go that extra extent, because the world will always need interpreters,” she said.

With the immediate career for students, as well as positive feedback from students and parents, Sno-Isle Director Maggie Bagwell views the class’ first year as a success with positive signs for the future of the course.

“I am super excited for it to grow and pretty much max out its capacity, but for now, I think it’s been a great year and we are just going to keep building,” Bagwell said.

The class has bilingual Chinese and Japanese students enrolled for next year, with hopes of expanding its reach to other less common languages.

Ian Davis-Leonard: 425-339-3449; idavisleonard@heraldnet.com. Twitter: IanDavisLeonard.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

Sara Sandoval makes a presentation in Spanish while students listen to the interpretation in English through headphones during the Fundamentals of Translation and Interpretation class at Sno-Isle Technical Skills Center on June 6 in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Sara Sandoval makes a presentation in Spanish while students listen to the interpretation in English through headphones during the Fundamentals of Translation and Interpretation class at Sno-Isle Technical Skills Center on June 6 in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

More in News & Comment

American Medical Response (AMR) organized a parade of first responders to show appreciation for St. Elizabeth Hospital staff April 30. Photo by Ray Miller-Still/Sound Publishing
The complications of counting COVID deaths in Washington

State relies on results of tests and death certificates in calculating the daily toll of the disease.

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Republicans file lawsuit over Inslee’s emergency: ‘Facts, and the science, are clear’

Lawsuit says state has violated Constitutional rights of citizens.

The Regional Homelessness Authority was created by agreement in December 2019. Pictured: King County Executive Dow Constantine shakes hands with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. Courtesy photo
Regional homelessness authority takes first step amid COVID-19

The authority held its first meeting on Thursday.

Among the candidates for Washington state governor in 2020: (Top row, L-R): Omari Tahir Garrett, Winston Wilkes, Thor Amundson, Cameron Vessey, Martin ‘Iceman’ Wheeler, Ryan Ryals; (middle row L-R): Liz Hallock, Goodspaceguy, Gov. Jay Inslee, Don Rivers, Gene Hart; (bottom row L-R): Phil Fortunato, Tim Eyman, Alex Tsimerman, Cairo D’Almeida, Cregan Newhouse, Raul Garcia.
GOP gubernatorial hopefuls aim to oust Inslee amid COVID-19

Former Bothell mayor Joshua Freed and initiative-pusher Tim Eyman could be the front-runners.

Nonprofit launches new online COVID-19 local resource hub for King County

Hub collects links for more than 300 local resources for people affected by virus.

Sound Transit to get $166.3 million federal grant for COVID-19 response

Funds for operating costs, maintenance, disinfecting vehicles and keeping drivers safe

Don’t avoid the emergency department in a crisis

ED volumes across the state are falling, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t getting sick or hurt.

Most Read