New free online course in Translation and Interpreting in Public Services

Summary of the technology

The FITISPos and FITISPos e-learning groups of the University of Alcalá present an introductory MOOC course for the training of bilingual people who act as translators and interpreters in public services or in situations in which the figure of these professionals is necessary.

The online course is entitled: "Get Started in Translation and Interpreting in Public Services". The main objective of this course is to work on issues related to the communication process between foreign users who are not familiar with the Spanish language and the public or private institutions that provide services to society. The course is also focused on describing and practicing the functions of the translators and interpreters who work in these areas and showing how to get to work within this booming sector.

The research groups FITISPos and FITISPos -ELearning seek to reach commercial agreements with technical assistance or technical cooperation agreements with public services and public institutions (courts, police stations, hospitals, schools, town halls, etc.) or private institutions (NGOs, associations of entrepreneurs with international interests or foreign employees, banks, tourist offices, etc.).

Details of the Technology Offer

The continuous increase in the foreign population and its need to communicate effectively within Spanish society poses a problem that the FITISPos and FITISPos E-Learning research groups of the UAH are trying to solve through the development of the first specific MOOC in this field, entitled: "Get Started in Translation and Interpretation in Public Services".

There are several scenarios in which the figure of the translator-interpreter becomes increasingly necessary today:

- Police Stations or government offices where foreigners need the services of an interpreter or translator to guarantee their right to the free interpretation or translation of essential documents (statements, interrogations, indictment and judgments, etc…).

- Hospitals, Outpatient Centers or Health Centers: where the assistance of interpreters and / or the translation of different documents (informed consents, treatments, medical instructions, etc.) between the health personnel and the patient, is necessary at all times.

-Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Volunteer Services, necessary due to the arrival of immigrants and refugees, which entails a need for concrete communication, related with different procedures and social aspects.

- Schools and Training Centers: where student-teacher communication and parent-instructor relationships are sometimes difficult due to a lack of knowledge of the contact language, which makes the presence of interpreters or translators necessary.

- Companies: where the relations between businessmen and workers who have not mastered or do not know the language of communication require the presence of interpreters or translators to help them in their labor relations, in order to avoid conflicts or to expand their commercial interests.

In these scenarios, among many others, the need for the figure of the interpreter / translator-mediator is evident. It would be guaranteed, to a certain point, for the bilingual user who finishes the MOOC course with the qualification of PASS, bearing in mind that this is an introductory course and that subsequent specialization is needed.

This MOOC is divided into three modules, structured in terms of material and duration, as shown below:

Module 1: Bilingualism, Translation and Interpreting in Public Services (TISP) (2 weeks).

1.1. Bilingualism, translation and interpreting.

1.2. TISP as a profession and discipline.

1.3. Advances in the professionalization of TISP.


Module 2: Intercultural communication and mediation (3 weeks).

2.1. Interlinguistic and intercultural communication.

2.2. Mediation.

2.3. Codes of conduct, situations and psychological impact.


Module 3: TISP, tools and documentation (5 weeks).

3.1. Translation in Public Services (2 weeks).

3.2. Interpretation in Public Services (2 weeks).

3.3. Tools and documentation (1 week).


Each of these blocks includes the presentation in video format of a series of fundamental concepts associated with the subject in question.

Afterwards, students are invited to reflect through the exchange of opinions in the forum and the realization of activities aimed at the development of specific competences and skills for translation and interpretation in public services: linguistic and intercultural competence, documentary competence, technological competence and thematic competence.

The activities include self-evaluations with true / false questions, multiple choice, open questions and reading, searching or reflection activities that incorporate social networks (Twitter).

At the end of the course the user must pass a survey to obtain a MOOC certificate.

To access to this course, the user must register in its host location at OpenEducation ,a specific space for free education and from which you can export all content (videos and PowerPoint presentations) to a CD format.

In order for the course to be optimal, participants must have at least the following requirements:

• Advanced oral, written and comprehension level in Spanish and a second working language is considered necessary in order to be able to follow the content and carry out the proposed activities.

• Reasonable domain of ICTs and social networks is also important, as the use of forums and Twitter is incorporated in the course.

This MOOC has a very high applicability in public services where knowledge of translation and interpreting is required, since it contributes to the training of people who act as a liaison in the different institutions and serves to raise awareness about the particularities of translation and interpreting in Public Services (TISP) and the need for specific training in this field.

Further research required

The group seeks for public services and public institutions (courts, police stations, hospitals, schools, town halls, etc.) or private institutions (NGOs, associations of entrepreneurs with international interests or foreign employees, banks, tourist offices, etc.) interesting in getting involved in the process of creation, training and official recognition of the figure of the translator-interpreter already described.

Current development status

Commercially available technologies

The course is accessible to the public on Blackboard, directly connected to the following link:

Partners for future research

The research groups seek to reach commercial agreements with technical assistance or technical cooperation agreements with public and private services and institutions as well as joint venture agreements to advance in the development of other more advanced products or specialization in the training of intermediaries (translators and interpreters ) in specific contexts (entrepreneurs with interests abroad or in the opening of new trade routes, National Employment Institutes (INEM) with training courses aimed at a specific population, etc...).



Related Keywords

  • E-Learning
  • Social and Economics concerns
  • Education and Training
  • Technology, Society and Employment
  • Citizens participation
  • Creative services
  • Communications
  • Medical Health related
  • Other
  • Services
  • Other services (not elsewhere classified)
  • public services
  • translation
  • interpreting
  • inmigration
  • hospital patients
  • business relation
  • ngo
  • volunteering
  • self-learning
  • mooc
  • courses

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