Translating and Interpreting Resources

Finding a Translator or Interpreter

The University of Minnesota does not offer any formal language translation or interpreting services.

  • On the Morris campus, the Tercero program trains volunteer interpreters and translators of Spanish. They are not certified but have received training and may be able to help.
  • The China Center provides limited translation assistance for University faculty, staff, and departments. 
  • Please note: International Student and Scholar Services on the Twin Cities campus does not have additional resources or support for translation or interpreting. 

The Minnesota Translator and Interpreter Cooperative is a local organization that is collectively owned and run by qualified interpreters and translators. They are set up as a vendor in the UMN financial system.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development maintains an International Business Services Directory with links to companies that provide translation and interpretation services. These businesses have not been reviewed individually, so this notification should not be construed as an endorsement by the University of Minnesota.

Advice and Tips

Translation

  • Translating content into other languages can be time-consuming, expensive, and potentially risky or damaging to your reputation if you end up with a poor translation.
  • Be sure that your intended audience wants the information in their language.
  • It is recommended that you always have a trusted native speaker review the translation you receive from the translator. Ideally, the native speaker will have knowledge of the subject matter and/or an understanding of your target audience (for example, the tone or vocabulary used with prospective students may be very different than with researchers).
  • Be aware that translation can take a long time, from several weeks to several months depending on the length of the materials and how detailed or technical the content is.
  • The Communications Team at the UMN Global Programs and Strategy Alliance can advise further on translation and producing materials in other languages. Contact them at [email protected].

Interpreting

  • For interpretation at business meetings, lectures, or other University activities, it is best to find an interpreter whose area of expertise matches the subject at hand. Possible interpreters might include graduate students who are from the country of the visitor or speak the same language and are studying in a related department or field.
  • Competency in two languages is not the only skill required for interpretation. If there are contracts to be negotiated or other official proceedings, you should hire a trained interpreter. Interpreters are professionals. They have a high degree of fluency in the languages with which they are dealing and possess a thorough knowledge of the cultures and ways of life integral to those languages.
  • These resources are for foreign language interpreting. For information on interpreting for DeafBlind, Deaf, and hard of hearing individuals in the University community, contact the Disability Resource Center.