Loyola adds program as growing Hispanic population creates bilingual job opportunities
Don Ames Reporting
An exploding Hispanic population in New Orleans has created a huge need for professional interpreters and translators.
And, Loyola University is launching program to meet the growing demand.
It's the first in the Gulf Region to train professional interpreters and translators in Spanish and English.
"It's for people who are already bilingual that want to be trained as professional translators and interpreters in the health care and legal fields," says Loyola spokeswoman Mikel Pak.
She says interpreting and translating is a skill set beyond simply being a bilingual speaker. She says folks with a certificate in those skills are in high demand and tend to make higher salaries in those fields.
Demographer Greg Rigamer says it's an obvious response to the needs of the community.
"The fact that Loyola would be offering this is demonstrative that it's attuned to the local job market."
"The Hispanic and Spanish community are becoming a far more significant component of our community," says Rigamer. " So I think Loyola's on point to do this."
"Just think back a couple of years ago," he says. "How many stores did you go into that had bilingual signs on the aisles and things like that. We see that everywhere now."
So the need for well-trained, professional translators and interpreters becomes rather obvious.
"Particularly in health care," says Rigamer. "When you think about it, everybody needs this type of service, and having translators to accurately describe a situation to a health care professional is of critical importance. And, same thing in the legal field."
Rigamer says the migration of Hispanic workers after Katrina to address the job opportunities and labor requirements hasn't stopped, and he expects the local Hispanic population to keep growing.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in the field of interpretation and translation, overall, to grow by 42 percent from 2010 to 2020, the most recent federal statistics available.
Rigamer and Uriel Quesada, the director of the center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Loyola, think the demand in this area may grow by 18 percent in both the legal and health care industry.
The Loyola Certificate Program courses will be offered to both the community and students starting in August.
The program will be administered jointly from the Office of Professional & Continuing Studies, the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, and the Department of Languages & Cultures at Loyola.