Board of Directors

Officers of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators

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Janis Palma
San Antonio, Texas
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Term: June 2020 – June 2022

Janis Palma became a federally-certified judiciary interpreter in 1981, while working as a freelancer in Miami, Florida. She worked briefly as a staff interpreter for the Southern District of Texas in the Brownsville Division shortly after getting federally certified, then freelanced again, mostly for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. In 1986 she was accredited by the ATA as a translator into/from English and Spanish, and between 1986-87 worked for the U.S. State Department as a contract escort & seminar interpreter, then again between 2000-2001 while she lived and worked in Washing D.C., where she also freelanced in D.C. Superior Court. In 2002 she joined the District of Puerto Rico as a staff interpreter, where she was appointed Supervisory Interpreter from 2009 to 2015. She retired in 2017 and moved to San Antonio, Texas, where she currently lives with her daughter, son-in-law and 2 of her youngest grandchildren.

Janis Palma joined NAJIT in 1984, served as President during the late 80s and early 90s during the transition from CITA (Court Interpreters and Translators Association) to NAJIT, and is currently a Life Member. She was certified by NAJIT in 2004. She has also served as President of the Society for the Study of Translation and Interpretation (SSTI) Board of Directors, the Board of the Texas Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (TAJIT), and the Asociación Profesional de Traductores e Intérpretes (APTI) in Puerto Rico. During her 29-year career Ms. Palma has published extensively, participated in many professional conferences, taught courses and workshops around the country, and been a rater for federal and state certification examinations. She is still active interpreting in various federal courts, translating for private clients, and volunteering for her state’s professional association, in addition to writing a paper whenever she can to present at a professional conference, or a piece for the NAJIT blog.

Aimee Benavidea


Aimee Benavides
Fresno, California
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Term: September 2017 – June 2022

Aimee Benavides is a Federally Certified and California Court Certified Spanish Interpreter. She has over 16 years of experience as an interpreter having been a full-time staff interpreter and currently as a freelance interpreter. She lives in Central California with her husband and 2 children. She is passionate about the profession and enjoys seeing all that can be accomplished when we work together. She states that the keys to success both for individual interpreters as well as the association include education, specialization, diversification, marketing, appropriate use of technology and outreach to clients including Bench and Bar. As a NAJIT member she looks forward to helping the Association move forward to improve transparency and member participation and confidence.


Hilda Zavala-Shymanik
Jersey City, NJ
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Term: June 2020 – May 2023

Hilda Zavala is a state certified/approved Spanish court interpreter and translator with more than thirteen years of experience in legal, medical, corporate, and non-profit settings in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Wisconsin.  She is an active and voting member of NAJIT, ATA, the NYCT and other professional groups.  She is also former president of the New York Circle of Translators and former board member (director, treasurer), conference committee chair, and advocacy committee member of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators. Hilda has two certificates of Legal Interpreting: Spanish/English, the latest one from NYU. Hilda has been a Staff Interpreter at Essex County Superior Court in New Jersey for over 4 years.  Born in Chicago, Hilda lived for 20 years in Mexico and loves traveling.  She continuously looks for opportunities to promote and advance the interpreting profession.


Javier Castillo
Greenville, NC
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Term: May 2021 – June 2023

Javier is president of Castillo Language Services, Inc. in Greenville, NC. He is an
interpreter, translator, consultant, trainer and internationally recognized
speaker. He is a Federally Certified Court Interpreter, NC AOC certified court
interpreter, a Certified Medical Interpreter, (CCHI), conference interpreter and
contract interpreter for the U.S. Department of State and routinely interprets for
international delegations and high-level speakers across the United States and

Since 2007, Javier has offered training workshops for court, medical, conference
and community interpreters across the United States. He has provided in-house
training for staff interpreters at hospitals, Administrative Offices of the Court,
and Departments of Social Services.

He has designed and taught courses on working with interpreters in the legal
field at Campbell Law School and the UNC School of Law. He’s also taught
Continuing Legal Education courses for members of the judiciary.

Javier is a frequent speaker and trainer at national and international conferences.
He is the President of the Carolina Association of Translators and Interpreters
(CATI), and the Head of the U.S. Chapter of IAPTI (International Association of
Professional Interpreters and Translators), and an active member of the
American Translators Association and NAJIT.

Teresa Salazar


Teresa Salazar
Falls Church, Virginia
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Term: June 2018 – June 2022

Teresa Salazar has been a practicing professional interpreter and translator for over 30 years, with a B.A. in International Relations from Boston University, and an M.A. in Translation and Interpretation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. For 11 years, she was a free-lance interpreter working with the U.S. Department of State and other international organizations, as well as working with law enforcement on Title IIIs involving on-site interpretation and transcription and translation. Ms. Salazar has also worked with the National Center for State Courts’ State Court Interpreter Certification, as well as being actively involved with the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination since the mid-90s. Currently, she is the Director of Interpreting Services at the US District Court for the District of Columbia where she recruits, contracts, and provides orientations as needed for interpreters, and also supervises her court’s participation in the federal Telephone Interpreting Program (TIP) which assists federal courts around the country which have limited access to qualified interpreters. From 2013 to 2017, she was an instructor in interpreting and translation at the University of Maryland’s Program in Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translation. Teresa has been an active member of the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) chairing the Subcommittee on Skill Level Descriptions for Interpretation Performance, and worked on the ILR Skill Level Descriptions for Audio Translation Performance among other activities. Additionally, she participated on behalf of NAJIT on the original American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) drafting committee of the Standard Guide for Language Interpretation, and then participated independently on the drafting committee of the recently passed Standard Practice for Language Interpretation. Currently she is working on the drafting of a standard for interpreter testing, also under the auspices of ASTM.

Past Board Members

Hebba Abulsaad


Hebba Abulsaad
Nashville, TN

Term: May 2019 – May 2021

Armando Ezquerra Hasbun

Director & Chair

Armando Ezquerra Hasbun
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Term: June 2018 – June 2020, Chair: October 2019 – June 2020

Claudia Rubio Samulowitz


Claudia Rubio Samulowitz
Lafayette, Indiana

Term: June 2018 – June 2020

portrait of Hilda Shymanik


Hilda Zavala
New York, New York

Term: July 2016 – May 2019

Director & Chair

Gladys Matthews, PhD
Quebec, Canada

Term: March 2016 – June 2018, Chair September: 2017 – June 2018


Ernest Niño-Murcia
Des Moines, Iowa

Term: May 2016 – June 2018

Interim Director

Julie Sellers, PhD
Atchison, KS

Term: September 2017 – June 2018