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Spanish Translation students Maria Fernanda Calderon and Pedro Nuñez on Tuesday, March 11, 2014
at the Main Tower.
Spanish Translation students Maria Fernanda Calderon and Pedro Nuñez on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at the Main Tower.

UTB students take advantage of demand for interpreters and translators jobs

Pedro Nuñez entered Brownsville’s Porter High School at the age of 17; he was put into ninth grade and placed in English as a Second Language classes. Three and a half years later, when he graduated from high school, Nuñez wanted to enroll at The University of Texas at Brownsville, but he hesitated.

“I was scared because of my language,” Nuñez said. “It was super hard at first in high school, but I’ve always liked learning new things, and I wanted to succeed in my life, so I guess I was brave and I enrolled, and I’m so glad I did.”

Now 23, Nuñez is one semester away from earning his Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Translation and Interpreting. Maria Fernanda Calderón, who achieved the same degree in 2010, did not have the hurdles to jump that Nuñez did.

“I grew up bilingual,” Calderón said. “Living in Mexico, I went to an American school, so I was well prepared to make the transition to Hanna High School (class of 2005).”

Since graduating from UTB in 2007 with the Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Translation and Interpreting, Calderón has been contracting with a translation company. She works as a telephone interpreter, primarily with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Ready for the next level, she enrolled in the UTB Master of Arts in Spanish Translation and Interpreting – the only 100 percent online translation and interpreting master’s degree in the United States – and this summer, Calderón will earn her master’s degree.

According to Dr. Jose Dávila- Montes, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Translation and Interpreting, the need for skilled translators and interpreters will continue to grow as technology and commerce bring business, education and people closer together.

“Our program prepares future practitioners of the art and science of translation and interpreting to play a vital role in shaping the global society of the 21st century,” Dávila-Montes said.

Lourdes Pumarejo De La Tour received her master’s degree in Translation and Interpreting from UTB in 2011. Like Calderón, Pumarejo has been contracting with an agency in Oregon to do over-thephone interpreting. She has recently taken a position with Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement; now, some of her work will take her to detention centers and immigration court.

“Most people would never imagine what a great need there is for interpreters and translators,” Pumarejo said. “There is a tremendous demand for such skill that it would be possible to work around the clock every day.”

Nuñez said meeting Pumarejo and Calderon has cemented his desire to pursue a career in translation and interpreting.

“They have inspired me with their stories, and I am glad to hear there is a lot of work available,” Nuñez said. For more information on degrees in translation and interpreting, contact 956-882-7414 or tio@utb.edu.

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Our program prepares future practitioners of the art and science of translation and interpreting to play a vita role in shaping the global society of the 21st century.

Dr. Jose Dávila Montes,
Associate Professor
and Program Coordinator of Translation and Interpreting.

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