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Professional Programs

Medical Interpreting (English - Spanish)

Cal State L.A. is set launch its Spanish-English Medical Interpreting certificate program in Fall 2014.
Image of Doctor for Medical Interpretation and Translation
Medical interpreting is a rapidly expanding field as more hospitals and other health industry services opt to provide language services to improve care and efficiency. As a collaborative endeavor between doctor, patient and interpreter, medical interpreting complements and contrasts with the more widely studied legal interpreting. CSULA Extension's classes are designed to prepare the student for medical-field work as a Spanish-English medical interpreter in inpatient and outpatient settings.

The Medical Interpreting Program (MIP) introduces students to the fundamental techniques of translation and interpreting, including consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, and sight translation. The program then steadily develops student proficiency in each mode. We present core medical vocabulary in English and Spanish, and review grammatical and other structural differences between the two languages. Written and oral practice and reading comprehension exercises with medical vocabulary are included. In addition to the three core classes, which integrate language lab practice, the program includes a grammar course, a lab practicum, and a course in industry ethics, standards and practices.

Who can apply?
Any interested Spanish-English bilingual, or health worker with strong Spanish skills. The first step for admission eligibility to the Medical Interpreting Program (MIP) is a pass in the mandatory bilingual Screening Test. You will also need either 36 or more semester units, or two letters of recommendation indicating practical use of your bilingual proficiency.

When and how much?
This is a 6-course, sequential program spread over 3 terms (Fall, Winter and Spring). You must start in the Fall. Each course is $600 (not including textbooks which average about $50 per quarter). There is an early-bird discount of $50 (so, $550 instead of $600) for registration done at least one week before the first class. Thus, total tuition, excluding books, is $3,300 with timely payment. There is no admission fee. At the start of each of the 3 terms, you register for two courses and pay $1,200, or $1,100 at the early bird rate. Classes are on Saturdays, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon (8-12, 1-5). Each course is 11 weeks or 44 hours.

2014-15 Schedule

Fall quarter
Sept. 27 - Dec. 13, 2014
Winter quarter
Jan. 10 - Mar. 21, 2015
Spring quarter
Apr. 11 - June 20, 2015
08:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 08:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 08:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
ML_790A: Contrastive Grammatical Analysis of English & Spanish ML_794B: Intermediate Medical Interpreting ML_794C: Advanced Medical Interpreting
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
ML_794A: Introduction to Medical Interpreting ML_794-L: Lab practicum in medical interpreting ML_794-E: Ethics, standards & practices for medical interpreters

Instructors and course coordinator
All courses are taught by adjunct faculty and special lecturers who are bilingual language professionals and represent a range of the interpreting and translation certifications of greatest interest to students. The coordinator of the program is Dr. Soraya Alamdari. Dr. Alamdari is Panamanian-American and completely bilingual. She  earned her PhD in Spanish at UCLA and has taught at several universities on the West and East coasts. She is a certified medical interpreter and an active researcher in the emerging field of medical interpreting.

Is there an Orientation I can attend for more information?
Yes. Orientations are held each term to provide info on our classes and the industry. For upcoming Orientation dates. see details here below (above Google map).


  • There is also a formal admission process with 3 elements:
    • (i) The first step in gaining admission to the Medical Interpreting program is a mandatory screening test.
    • (i) an application form must be submitted before the start of the first class,
    • (iii) and then, by Week 4 of the the first quarter, either academic transcripts or 2 references, as follows:
      • official transcripts indicating 54 quarter or 36 semester units of college coursework, or
      • 2 letters of recommendation indicating practical bilingual experience.
  • Can I get financial aid? No; however, you may be eligible for student loans
    Financial aid is only given to students enrolled in degree programs. This is a certificate program, thus our students are ineligible. However private student loans are available through the CSULA Credit Union, Wells Fargo and Sallie Mae. If interested, start your research at the PaGE Financial Assistance page.
How do I register? You cannot register online. Call 323-343-4900.
You need a paper form, but if registering by phone it can be filled for you. For details, call PaGE Reg at 323-343-4900. The form looks like this.

Careers in Translation and Interpreting
There is currently a shortage of interpreters in California, particularly for Spanish. Nationally, the U.S. Department of Labor forecast states: "Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to increase 24 percent over the 2006-16 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations." The report also noted that the higher demand for translators and interpreters results directly from the broadening of international ties, the increase in the number of foreign language speakers in the United States, and the growing need in health care settings. All of these trends are expected to continue, contributing to relatively rapid growth in the number of jobs for interpreters and translators.
To read more from the Department of Labor on the national scene (this regards various niches in translation and interpreting, not just medical interpreting), see the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) report on the category of Interpreters and Translators:

Who runs this certificate program? Is it accredited?
Cal State L.A. Extension in the College of Professional and Global Education (PaGE)
Cal State L.A. (CSULA) is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

What does 'certificate' mean here? Does it mean I am 'certified?' Does this program count towards a degree?
The 'certificate' (as in this certificate program) is a formally defined academic category. The Medical Interpreting Program (MIP) is a non-degree certificate program (while a B.A. is a degree program). You earn credits with letter grades; the University Registrar records these on your academic transcript. In addition to your transcript record, we give you a certificate (a document) as proof of program completion. This does not make you officially certified or licensed by the State. There is no equivalent in medical interpreting to the state exam which certifies Court Interpreters. There are other exams for the certification of medical interpreters, run by national professional organizations. Our courses prepare you for these exams, and more.

Contacts and additional information
For general info on Cal State's Medical Interpreting program go to (if you're already here, that's this page!) and click thru....
→ for info on the next Orientation or Screening Test, scroll to the bottom – above and below the Google map.
→  to RSVP for the next Orientation: click to email, or 323-343-4922
→ to register for the Screening Test, call 323-343-4900 and register for the 'LIT test' ($20)
→ for more particular questions about program content, email the Medical Interpreting Coordinator, Dr. Soraya Alamdari,
→ to request a copy of the Med Interp Info-Pak, email or call 323-343-4922

The program Coordinator leads our free info sessions, discussing interpreting, the medical interpreting industry, and the Cal State L.A. program. All are welcome; you must RSVP

Upcoming Orientations dates:

ahead of Fall 2014 start: Jul. 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 6 (all Saturdays @ 12 p.m.). This event is free and open, but you must 'RSVP.'

Saturday, July 12, 2014, from 12:00-1:00
Saturday, August 9, 2014, from 12:00-1:00
Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 12:00-1:00

Location: Room C-162 in Salazar Hall (see "15A" on the south side of campus in this Campus map).

RSVP: To attend, please call (323) 343-4922 and leave your name, number and email address by 12:00 p.m. on the Friday before the date or email


View Larger Map

Use Parking Structure "A" - (blue diamond on Campus map.) - buy a ticket ($1/hour) at the yellow machine.


You must take this test of your bilingual skills before you start classes 

Test date ahead of Fall 2014 quarter:
 - September 6, 2014 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Registration: To take the LIT Screening Test, you must register by 11:00 a.m. on the Friday before the test date. You cannot register at the test itself. The fee is $20. Call (323) 343-4900 to pay by credit card, or, to pay by check or cash, come to campus on a weekday (8-6 Mon-Th., 8-5 Fri) and go to the PaGE Registration Office (USU 105, in the Student Union building).There is no online registration.

Directions: See map and links provided above for "ORIENTATION".

California State University, Los Angeles 
College of Professional and Global Education

Medical interpreting:
Legal interpretation and Translation:

jpg_law_justice_007.jpg tty-n.gif interpreter_symbol_text.jpg Rx_symbol.png Medicine_symbol-170x202.jpg


Contacts and links

Request information packet:
General Info: 
Email the Translation and Interpreting Assistant or 
call (323) 343-4922
Email Dr. Alamdari or 
call (323) 343-4917

Program application form

There is no online registration for these classes
Call (323) 343-4900
Fax (323) 343-4954
Mail: see form
Class registration Form

Note: The form is needed only  for reg by mail or fax - not by phone.