Spanish writing – training by teleconference

  • 10 language specific CE credits granted by Court Language Access Services (Oregon) for Oregon Court Interpreters for the January to May semester.
  • 12 General CEU hours granted by WA AOC for Washington-state credentialed interpreters.
  • 6 CE Credits approved by WA DSHS (line 164) for January to May session

Spanish writing resources

This class is for fluent speakers of Spanish.

Due to low enrolment, this class is being offered under a private instruction format. It will be offered as a group class again in the future. Therefore, all dates and specific times are simply for reference.

Location: Online – login information will be given to participants upon registration.

Time: Online group sessions on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:00 pm Pacific time. Participants will also have scheduled 20 minute personal sessions with the trainer on a weekly basis.

Two sessions, which can be taken separately:

  • January 19 to May 11, 2017
  • September 7 to December 14, 2017

The instructor

Helen Eby, owner of Gaucha Translations, is an ATA-certified translator (Spanish>English) and a certified DSHS Translator (English > Spanish) by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. She is also a Spanish state-certified (Oregon) court interpreter and a medical interpreter certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) as well as the Oregon Health Authority.

One of Helen’s major interests is guiding translators and interpreters who are just entering the professions. It is this commitment to helping newcomers that prompted her to co-found The Savvy Newcomer, a blog that is now recognized as a go-to resource for launching a career in translation and interpreting.

Helen’s background as an English and Spanish teacher also led to her involvement with Cuatro Mosqueteras, a team of bloggers working to improve Spanish writing, as well as her participation in the ASTM work group for translation standards.

Helen is a member of the American Translators Association, the International Medical Interpreters Association, and the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators among others. She served as president of the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters from January 2014 to September 2016.

Traditionally, there are two ways to improve writing:

  1. Teach grammar and spelling points in isolation. Many instructors have found this to be ineffective for heritage speakers.
  2. Assign writing assignments based on realistic communication expectations, and work on the needs of the group as they come up. Instructors who work with this approach have been far more effective. This is the Gaucha approach. Helen Eby has been using this approach with small groups and individuals very effectively for the last five years.

The writing activities chosen cover a variety of formal and informal interactions, ranging from the “tú” to the “usted” forms, and ranging from listing facts to giving advice or expressing hopes and dreams.

Who is our target audience?

Participants are expected to have a high level of  Spanish oral language proficiency. They will be expected to participate in reading assignments to improve their writing skills. Bilingual employees and Certified and Qualified interpreters are welcome to take this course.

As participants improve their reading and writing skills, they will grow in their ability to handle complex texts in the workplace, read material about medical and legal topics originally written in Spanish, and they will write with less grammar and spelling mistakes when required to do so at work.

Participants will have two types of interaction with the instructor:

  • Group sessions will be 90 minutes long. In these sessions, the group will discuss the assignments in general, and there will be group conversations about readings, literature, resources, challenges, and an orientation to the next assignment.
  • Personal weekly online appointments scheduled for 20 minutes at a predetermined time to discuss their personal progress. The one-on-one sessions will allow participants to get individualized feedback and at the same time participate fully in the group sessions.

Participants are expected to submit their written assignments to the instructor by Monday so she can review them in time for Wednesday group class.

This course is broken up into two semesters:

  • January to May: 15 sessions focusing on several different types of texts (Tweets, Facebook, complaint letters, advice letters, etc.).
  • September to December: 12 sessions focusing on different topics (history, geography, business, literature, etc.).

Technical requirements

  • Computer with good internet connection (participants will be entering answers on their computers on a regular basis)
  • Headset (using speakers for audio creates echos for the other listeners)
  • Microphone (all participants will be interacting live on their microphones)


Participants will be billed in monthly instalments.

The January to May session will be billed as follows. There is a discount for members of professional associations on this page.

 Regular priceMember of professional association
Price per month (4 payments)$200$180
Total for 4 months$800$720
Discounted price for payment in full$725$625

The September to December session will be billed as follows. There is a discount for members of professional associations on this page.

 Regular priceMember of professional association
Price per month (3 payments)$200$180
Total for 3 months$600$540
Discounted price for payment in full$540$485


Spanish Writing Syllabus January to May 2017

DateGeneral topicSpecific topic
January 19, 2017Informal textsFacebook post
January 26, 2017Informal textsTwitter post
February 2, 2017Informal textsLetter to a friend
February 9 2017Informal textsLetter to a family member
February 16, 2017Business: Daily useComplaint letter to a billing department
February 23,2017Business: Daily useComplaint letter to a service department
March 9, 2017Business: Daily useRequest for a product
March 16, 2017Business: Daily useRequest for information
March 23, 2017BusinessOffer a product
March 30, 2017BusinessSend a resume
April 6, 2017BusinessAnswer a complaint question
April 20, 2017BusinessExplain how to use a product
April 27, 2017AdviceDear Abby type column
May 4, 2017OpinionLetter to the editor: 150 words
May 11, 2017AdviceAdvice to a younger family member


Spanish Writing Syllabus September 2017

DateGeneral topicSpecific topic
September 7, 2017NewsSummarize an article from a Spanish newspaper online
September 14, 2017NewsSummarize an article from a Spanish newspaper online
September 28, 2017Science200 words on a scientific topic
October 5, 2017ScienceEdit last week's draft
October 12, 2017Geography300 words on a geography topic
October 19, 2017GeographyEdit last week's draft
November 2, 2017History400 words on a history topic
November 9, 2017HistoryEdit last week's draft
November 16, 2017Technology500 words on a technology topic
November 30, 2017TechnologyEdit last session's draft
December 7, 2017LiteratureWrite a book review
December 14, 2017LiteratureEdit last session's draft