Pinning Ceremony Welcomes New Spanish Interpreters and Translators

Tulsa Community College celebrates students who have completed the Spanish Interpreting Skills and/or the Spanish Translation Skills certificate programs which supports census numbers showing Oklahoma’s population is growing more diverse.

Graduates from May 2020 and May 2021 took part in a special pinning ceremony on Thursday, January 13, 2022. The program at the Thomas K. McKeon Center for Creativity on the TCC Metro Campus at 9th and S. Boston featured guest speaker State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

“There is a need to have qualified, trained interpreters and translators working in our healthcare, legal and business industries. It is important to understand there is a difference between knowing some Spanish and studying the translation or interpretation of Spanish to English and English to Spanish from a skilled level,” said Tina Peña, TCC associate professor of Spanish and interpreting trainer.

The Spanish Interpreting Skills program is designed to emphasize speaking competency sufficient to communicate fluently and to provide communication assistance between non-Spanish speaking medical personnel and non-English speaking patients with legal or medical groups. The Spanish Translation Skills program is designed to emphasize usage of language competency for written translation purposes.

As part of the program, TCC students have completed service-learning projects including interpreting one day a week in juvenile court in Tulsa Municipal Court and have created a focused glossary for interpreters. Another group of students have been interpreters at a local farmers’ market and created a glossary to help vendors when Spanish speakers visit the farmer’s market.

“Language access in our community is critical. In the area of interpreters and translators, there is large demand as institutions and organizations begin to offer these services at no cost and in a timely manner,” said Peña.

Analysis of the 2020 U.S. Census results, show Oklahoma is less white than 10 years ago with Hispanic or Latino being the second-largest racial or ethnic group in the state. The percentage of people who identify as white alone, not Hispanic or Latino, dropped from 68.7% in 2010 to 60.8% in 2020, while those who identify as Hispanic, or Latino jumped from 8.9% to 11.9% during the same time. This continued shift in demographics in the state illustrates the demand and anticipated job growth for translators and interpreters that is expected to climb 46% from 2021 to 2022.

The Spanish Interpreting Skills certificate is 19-21 credit hours, and the Spanish Translation Skills certificate is 21 credit hours. For more information, please call the School of Communication, English & World Language at 918-595-8386 or email