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PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE: UGA Center for Continuing Education

By Shirley Chesley

Many individuals who decide to become a certified bilingual legal interpreter for the Georgia court system have never experienced a real courtroom setting prior to beginning their course training. On Saturday, Oct. 12, 22 students enrolled in the Georgia Center for Continuing Education 30-hour Spanish /English Legal Certificate training program visited the Gwinnett Detention Center, also an arraignment center.

With instructional guidance provided by a certified bilingual legal interpreter and previous graduate of the Spanish/English Legal Certificate program, students were given the opportunity to role play the interactions of a legal interpreter in a courtroom environment. By providing this unique educational experience, students gained a level of awareness and new knowledge that is only one of many instructional techniques that will help them successfully complete the program and prepare for a state certification exam that includes oral, written, and interview segments.

As a Continuing Education certificate course, the students attending are from diverse educational/professional backgrounds, as well as from varied Spanish cultural backgrounds. The task of learning an enormous amount of legal vocabulary in English and Spanish is challenging. By adding an educational visit to a Court room/Detention Center environment the student solidifies knowledge acquired in class, is exposed to the detention legal process, and creates new excite for this career.

Many students stated that the field trip helped to put legal interpreting concepts in perspective and to make the decision to pursue the Court Legal Interpretation field.

In addition to this program, the UGA Center for Continuing Education at the Gwinnett Campus will be offering a variety of subjects beginning January 2014. These programs include: Event Meeting and Management, Paralegal Studies, Grant Writing, Immigration Law for Paralegals, Korean/English Medical and Legal Interpreting, Spanish/English Medical Interpreting, Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and many more.

For more informationm, see our website at: www.ugaGetSmart.com.

Shirley Chesley is Program Developer with UGA Center for Continuing Education.

People Helping People is a publication of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services. For more information contact Ellen Gerstein - ellen@gwinnettcoalition.org or at 770-995-3339.