Board of Directors

Officers of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators

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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
abroad. .

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.


Hilda Zavala-Shymanik
Lake in the Hills, IL
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Term: June 2020 – May 2023

Hilda Zavala-Shymanik 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.


Francesca Samuel
Tucson, AZ
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Term: June 2022 – June 2024

Francesca Samuel is a freelance interpreter/translator and founder and president of A la Carte Translations, a web-based translation business. She has been a member of NAJIT since 1999.

A graduate of the Pima College Translation and Interpreting Program, Ms. Samuel has 20+ yrs. experience as an EOIR contract interpreter and approximately 30 years of experience as a translator.

Francesca is an avid volunteer and passionate about the profession. She has presented on immigration, business management and social media at several annual conferences, including FIT, NAJIT, CFI, ATA and ATI and continues to spread awareness about the working conditions of immigration court interpreters.

She served as administrator of the American Translators Assoc. Spanish Language Division from 2012-2016 as well as president of Arizona Translators and Interpreters (ATI) during the same period.

Currently, Francesca serves on several committees and boards which include Arizona Translators and Interpreters, the ATA Spanish Language Division Professional Development and Hospitality/Public Relations committees, and NAJIT’s Training and Education and Social Media committees.

A proud native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Francesca lived in New York City before moving out West to Los Angeles and eventually settling down in Tucson, AZ with her husband and children.


Laura McGilvra
Seattle, WA
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Term: June 2022 – June 2024

I am a Washington State Court certified Mandarin Chinese interpreter. I have a Master’s degree in Conference Interpretation and have taught interpretation at Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS). Most of the work I do involves conference interpretation, business meetings and negotiations. In the past couple of years, I have done more judiciary interpretation than before. I studied Journalism in college and earned a degree for it. I also have a nursing degree and was a registered nurse.

I am from Taiwan originally. I worked on small farms growing up, and in factories during summer vacations, earning my own tuition when I was going to school there. I think my working while growing up helped build a character of hard work and perseverance, besides I loved being able to work to contribute to my very humble family.

I am an active person, so other than continuing to improve my knowledge and skills related to my professional work, I also enjoy hiking, traveling, gardening, playing the piano, baking, and fencing. I also love to sit down and listen to good podcasts and read a book, especially books with good stories and good endings. I love animals, especially dogs!


Anahit Flanagan, PhD
Waltham, MA
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Term: June 2022 – June 2024

Anahit Flanagan is a professional interpreter and educator with more than four decades of experience. She specializes in judiciary and medical interpreter services.

Anahit has worked extensively in state and federal court settings across a number of jurisdictions, including Massachusetts, New York, Arizona and Washington State. She has worked on high profile and sensitive court cases and is highly specialised in the areas of medical and legal interpretation. Anahit is actively developing two comprehensive trilingual medical and legal glossaries for interpreters. As an educator and coach, Anahit has taught students and professionals of all ages and experience levels in the Armenian and Russian languages. She has extensive experience preparing interpreters to work in immigration and naturalization services. She has developed and implemented Russian language curricula and assessments for students of all ages. Anahit has also provided oral and written translation services and has edited books, workbooks, audio and video material.

Anahit holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics from Moscow State University of Linguistics, a Master of Arts in Russian from Boston College, and a Bachelor of Education in English as well as a Bachelor of Education in Russian from Brusov Yerevan State University of Languages and Social Sciences in Armenia.

Past Board Members

Director & Chair

Janis Palma
San Antonio, Tx

Term: June 2020 – June 2022
(Director: June 2020 – May 2021, Chair May 2021 – June 2022)

Aimee Benavidea

Director, Chair, &  Secretary

Aimee Benavides
Fresno, CA

Term: September 2017 – June 2022
(Chair: May 2018 – October 2019, Director: October 2019 – May 2019, Chair: May 2019 – June 2020, Secretary May 2021 – June 2022) 

Teresa Salazar

Secretary & Director

Teresa Salazar
Falls Church, VA

Term: June 2018 – June 2022
(Secretary: June 2018 – May 2021, Director: May 2021 – June 2022)

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
(Director: June 2018 – October 2019, Chair: October 2019 – June 2020)

Claudia Rubio Samulowitz

Secretary & Treasurer

Claudia Rubio Samulowitz
Lafayette, Indiana

Term: June 2018 – June 2020
(Secretary: June 2018 – May 2019, Treasurer: May 2019 – June 2020)

portrait of Hilda Shymanik


Hilda Zavala
New York, New York

Term: July 2016 – May 2019
(Treasurer: May 2017 – May 2019)

Director, Treasurer, & Chair

Gladys Matthews, PhD
Quebec, Canada

Term: March 2016 – June 2018
(Treasurer: March 2016 – May 2017, 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