July 12, 2019

When Century College alum and former teacher Renee Milstein was looking for a new career, she knew she wanted freedom from the classroom, but she wanted to stay in the field of education.  She found the perfect solution when she got her Translation and Interpreting  (TRIN) degree.

After researching Century College, she contacted  Dr. Rachel Herring, TRIN program director.  “Rachel  got me excited about the program. I started with one class, and just fell in love with the program,” says Renee. 

The Interpreter is a Bridge

She graduated from Century College in May 2019, and works as an interpreter in a variety of educational environments, including parent-teacher conferences, in-house visits with preschool children, helping to get them ready for kindergarten. 

She also works with special education teachers and speech pathologists when they do assessments, and interprets for families, students, and teachers.  “Sometimes students know the concept, but they can’t quite express it in English.  That’s where I come in.  The interpreter is the bridge between cultures.” notes Renee.

A Perfect Fit

Originally from Uruguay, Renee moved to Minnesota from London, Ontario.   She had been a French teacher, and was also a certified public translator in her home country.  While living in Canada, she earned her Masters in Spanish Language & Literature.  She then earned her M.Ed. at the University of  Minnesota, and, for 20 years, she taught at the University of St. Thomas, and also taught classes at Normandale, North Hennepin, and Anoka Ramsey Community Colleges.   In addition, she was doing written translations off and on for years.

“I really enjoy my work as an interpreter–it’s a way of putting all my skills together,” says Renee. “You learn a lot from working with other people.  Being older and having been around, we can establish a relationship and I can be of help.”  

The Beauty of Community Colleges

Returning to college as adult student, Renee loved her Century College experience.  “The beauty of community colleges is that you meet students of all ages,” observes Renee. “I have a lot of respect for people.  Many students work full- and part-time jobs, when they come to Century College.  Sometimes they struggle, but they succeed in achieving their goals.   Fortunately,  the TRIN program has evening classes and is good for working people.”

“Century College’s TRIN program is amazing, demanding and very comprehensive. And Rachel is outstanding.  She exemplifies best practices in her teaching.  To be able to get students of all ages working together inside and outside the classroom is amazing. We had a group of 11 classmates in our program–we became tight and close-knit–we still get together because we developed a sense of community.  If someone has a job and they can’t do it, they will share the job information and recommend their classmates for the position.”

Opportunities Without Limits

“The great thing about interpreting is that you don’t have to stop when you’re 65,” notes Renee.  “I had an internship at Region’s Hospital, and one of their interpreters just retired at 82.  You can continue in the field for as long as you like.  And, in the TRIN field,  you are exposed to so many different ideas and issues.  For example, in education, you learn about things like autism, and in the legal field, you learn about immigration issues, and sanctuary cities, and in education, you learn to role-play interpreting parent-teacher conferences.” 

“Interpreting is fascinating because you never know what you will encounter when you go into a job.  When you’re out in the field, you realize how well trained you are.  You’re really a citizen of the world.  And Rachel is one of the best instructors I’ve ever had, and I’m very picky.  The program is amazing.” 


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