Holly is a Big Deal in Ohio

I was at a Holly Mikkelson training on August 3rd and afterward at lunch I asked her if I could blog about it.  She said yes, but another NAJIT member, esteemed colleague, and past guest blogger beat me to the punch.  I asked John P. Shaklee if I could repurpose his post for the NAJIT blog and he said “of course”.

I’ve had the pleasure of working and training with John throughout my career in Ohio. He is an Advisor to the board of the Community and Court Interpreters of Ohio of which he is also member. He is an Ohio State Certified Court and CCHI Certified Healthcare Interpreter (Spanish<>English). He currently serves as president of the Northeast Ohio Translators Association (www.notatranslators.org).  He is also a member of the American Translators Association (www.atanet.org). Past publications include ATA Chronicle, Intercambios and he blogs at johntheinterpreterguy@wordpress.com. – Kevin


Holly Mikkelson, Associate Professor at Monterey Institute of International Studies http://www.miis.edu. presented “Advanced Techniques in Translation for Interpreters” in conjunction with CCIO http://www.ccio.org and Shirley Corossel of the Columbus Bar Interpreting Services http://www.cbalaw.org. Topics included features of legal language, typical legal documents and certifying translations. Holly marched the group through two troublesome translations and provided tips and tools to produce an accurate document.


Fellow interpreter, Adriana Fonseca, inquired about a consular electoral card. A defense attorney requested a sight translation on the spot. What does the interpreter do? We don’t know if the card is forged or real nor is that our responsibility. We just reproduce the text and read aloud what appears, digit by digit.


Collocations are the way words go together: a judge hands down a sentence or issues a sentence. Hizzoner does not give a sentence. Interpreters learn what verbs accompany XXX action. It’s a boxing match and baseball game, not a baseball match. How can one verify a term? Ask a native speaker. Research until you drop – don’t guess! According to Miss Mikkelson “a translation is never finished, merely abandoned … Do the best you can, verify, double check and confirm. You can only do so much, be honest on what you can’t read, don’t make wild guesses … if there’s a line cut off or a smudge or the corner torn, include each descriptive in translator’s notes in brackets.” Reproduce the appearance of the original as closely as possible. Also be judicious on what you select from the Internet.


There is no equivalent of official translators AKA sworn or public translators in the United States nor do any laws govern them. Anyone who wants to say she is a translator can. Other countries require a seal and stamp with strict rules on how to handle a translation. Translators in the U.S. can cobble together an equivalent by drawing up a notarized statement to certify the translation. The notary does not attest to accuracy, but the translator’s identity. My late professor, Leland Wright from Kent State University’s Institute for Applied Linguistics http://appling.kent.edu, shared the attached template. Tailor the certificate with your own information. (certificate of accuracy)


Read the source text aloud in order to figure out how it sounds, not only to you but also the target audience or reader. This practice helps to better understand the text. Please post on what you learned last weekend. Want to learn more? See you at the next CCIO workshop!


Originally published @ notaohio | August 9, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p2gvyN-oG

7 thoughts on “Holly is a Big Deal in Ohio”

  1. Jennifer De La Cruz says:

    Hi, John and Kevin!
    Thank you for these tips. Sometimes it is easy to get lost in details of whether or not a particular difficulty calls for us to step outside our roles as the translator or interpreter. Although I tend to suggest being conservative when it comes to using one’s own voice to call attention to an issue, we may be the only ones who are aware of potential falsified documents (for example) and so the question of our role is a valid one. What comes to mind is a document written in a language that does not share its alphabet or character set with English. The interpreter or translator would naturally wonder whether he or she should speak up. Thanks again for the tips!

  2. Gio Lester says:

    “Research until you drop – don’t guess!” YES!

    We are so lucky we have the internet to turn to. I mean, being able to reach out to our colleagues in a moment’s notice is a priceless experience. Last night provided such a moment.

    Research finished – involved about 8 people. Document delivered. Client is happy. So am I.

  3. John P. Shaklee says:

    Just yesterday I took Holly’s suggestion and read a business proposal aloud to “hear” what the client may hear. Twice words appeared that obviously didn’t express my intention. I grabbed the thesaurus and researched further. Result? It’s worth the time to speak a text in my own voice. Thanks again, Madame Mikkelson.

  4. Janis Palma says:

    One of the great things about our profession is that one never stops learning. Thanks for all these tips Holly! And thank you John and Kevin for posting them.

  5. Pingback: NAJIT Blog
  6. Lavelle Sappington says:

    Hey comments , I Appreciate the analysis , Does someone know if I might be able to get access to a blank DA 2166-8-1 form to complete ?

    1. Bobby Lacasse says:

      Greetings Lavelle , my partner saw a blank DA 2166-8-1 form using this da form 2166 8 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *