NAJIT Board and Committee Updates

This page is NAJIT’s way of keeping members and friends informed as to what your NAJIT Board & Committees are doing for our members and our profession. Here you will find information regarding events NAJIT representatives are attending and updates regarding the initiatives we are focused on to benefit the association.

As a member-driven organization, NAJIT is only as strong as the involvement of its members. Share your ideas directly with the Board of Directors. Let us know what issues are important to you. Share any events you feel NAJIT should be aware of. Most important of all, join us in carrying out our mission. Volunteer for a committee or a short-term project. NAJIT will greatly benefit from your insights and contributions.

Aimee 250×250 round
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Hilda Shymanik
Hilda Zavala
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Janis Palma

Latest NAJIT news:

March 8, 2021– The NAJIT Board has written a letter urging all public health officials as well as court administrators who employ and contract with interpreters to explicitly include on-site court interpreters among the listed groups of personnel for Phase 1 vaccinations. Click the icon on the right to read the letter.

March 8, 2021 – During the February Board of Directors meeting, a motion was presented to add some discounts to the Association’s current dues. As reflected in the minutes, the Board completed the discussion of the motion by email, and have now unanimously approved the following permanent discounted rates for NAJIT members under the following categories:

Active Member 3-year renewal – $330 (a savings of $15/year, or a total of $45)

Household Discount – 2 active members (living at the same address) $215 (a savings of $35 for both)

Click the icon on the right to read the entire email announcement.

March 5, 2021 – A recent news report identified a subcontractor working as a translator for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in California who was arrested for disclosing confidential information about an ongoing DEA investigation. In response to this report, the NAJIT Board of Directors has sent official letters to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the DEA, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California stating our position against the practice of contracting language services through low-bidding companies that employ interpreters and translators who do not have the proper qualifications and experience. This letter is also available on the NAJIT Advocacy page. You can also click the icon on the right to read the letter.

February 18, 2021 – The NAJIT Board of Directors drafted a statement against reductions in minimum hours for remote interpreting. Click the icon on the right to read the full statement.

February 16, 2021 – The NAJIT Board of Directors has drafted and submitted comments in response to the California Judicial Council’s Recommended Guidelines and Minimum Specifications for Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) for Spoken Language Interpreted Events. These guidelines are proposed as both a current and post-pandemic guideline for providing remote interpreting for court proceedings. Click the icon on the right to read the comments that were submitted.

February 10, 2021 The NAJIT Board of Directors sent a call to action to courts regarding the importance of interpreter safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click the icon on the right to read the letter. 

February 3, 2021 In the Board’s ongoing effort for greater transparency of governance and Board activities, the following policy “Role of the Chair” is being made available for members to view in the governance section of the NAJIT website member portal. Any future changes to this policy must be promptly shared with membership. Click the icon on the right to read the new policy. 

February 2, 2021 – The NAJIT Bench and Bar Committee has created a resource that every court and law firm should have at hand when providing language access to limited English proficient (LEP) individuals through an interpreter. It is a step by step guide on how to verify interpreter credentials to assure proper language services. Click the icon on the right to view the resource.

December 8, 2020  The NAJIT Board of Directors wrote a letter to clarify some misconceptions that may exist regarding the federal court interpreter certification. Click the icon on the right to read the letter.

November 14, 2020: On November 14th at 6:30 PM EST the Board of Directors hosted a virtual town hall. The Board shared current NAJIT objectives and initiatives as well as fielded questions and listened to comments from those in attendance. This event is part of the Board of Directors’ broader initiative to engage with our members and provide access to NAJIT leadership.

October 30, 2020 The Kansas Supreme Court opened proposed Rule 1705 for public comment . The proposed rule would require court interpreters to undergo an orientation in order to be eligible to interpret in the Kansas State Courts. The NAJIT Board of Directors submitted a letter in favor of the orientation program, but only as a first step in what should be a truly robust process of judiciary interpreters’ competency assessment. NAJIT argued in favor of a certification program in Kansas in which the proposed orientation is only one element.  The NAJIT Advocacy Committee also submitted a separate letter to the Kansas Supreme Court, in which they congratulated the Court for this proposed step towards a “comprehensive language access program,” but also advised that orientation alone cannot ensure the delivery of professional court interpreting services in accordance with the Kansas Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters. Click the icons to the right to read the comments submitted by the NAJIT Board of Directors and the Advocacy Committee. 

September 2020 – The NAJIT Board created suggested guidelines for interpreters returning to work in courts holding in-person proceedings. The document can be found on the NAJIT resources web page, under professional resources. Click the icon on the right to read the guidelines.

September 1, 2020 – The Board is thrilled to announce that Gladys Matthews will be assuming the role of Editor for the NAJIT Observer (TNO). Gladys succeeds Giovanna (Gio) Lester. We want to express our deepest appreciation to Gio for her years of service to the NAJIT Blog. Her tireless efforts have been a tremendous benefit and resource to NAJIT, our members, and the profession.

Gladys holds a degree in French from the Universidad de Costa Rica and a master’s degree in terminology and translation and Ph.D. in linguistics with an emphasis in legal translation from Université Laval in Canada. She has served NAJIT for many years in varying capacities, most recently as Chair of the Board. You can always email Gladys with comments or ideas for submissions at

August 25, 2020 – The menu on the NAJIT website has been updated to improve both functionality and intuitiveness. In our fast-paced lives, it is important to retrieve information as efficiently as possible. The Board will always look for ways to streamline how members and the public interact with NAJIT.

August 11, 2020 – The Board welcomes Kathleen Shelly to the position of Editor in Chief of Proteus, NAJIT’s newsletter. Kathleen has served as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Proteus and as a long-time editor. She has a vision for Proteus that the Board is excited to support. Kathleen has a master’s degree plus doctoral work in Latin American literature from the Ohio State University and was a college professor for 12 years. A member of NAJIT since 2005, she has also served as Secretary of the Board of Directors. She always welcomes the opportunity to work to promote the interpreting profession. You can email Kathleen with comments or ideas for submissions at

August 2020“How do I become a judiciary interpreter?” This may be the most frequently posed question to judiciary interpreters and certainly the one posed to NAJIT most frequently. The Board has developed a flyer to help address this question. We are all committed to welcoming more colleagues to the certified ranks and we encourage you to share this resource. Click the icon to the right to read the flyer. 

July 30, 2020 – The Board values every opportunity to interact with our members. We are committed to a dialogue that will always convey our understanding that NAJIT is here to serve the best interest of our members and the profession. To that end, a tentative schedule, thru May of 2021, of NAJIT Board meetings open to members is now posted on the NAJIT Calendar.

July 10, 2020 – Thanks to a suggestion from a longtime NAJIT member, Daniel Sherr, a new option has been added allowing members to pay for credit card transactions fees when renewing or joining. The payment of credit card fees will be considered a donation to The Society for the Study of Translation and Interpretation (SSTI), the non-profit educational and research foundation of NAJIT. We thank Daniel for his suggestion.

June 11, 2020 – NAJIT Anti-Discrimination Statement: NAJIT is an organization that brings together language professionals serving deaf and hearing populations of all ethnic backgrounds and many different nationalities from around the world, including our very own Native Americans. We take pride in the diversity that characterizes our profession and the people we serve and strongly denounce and repudiate any and all acts of discrimination or violence on the basis of language, skin color, gender, physical or mental disability, national origin or ethnicity.

June 10, 2020 – 2020 NAJIT Election Results: Congratulations to the 2020 Board of Directors. The Board has selected returning board member Aimee Benavides as the Chair of the Board, Hilda Zavala as Treasurer, and returning board member Teresa Salazar as Secretary.

May 2020 – A new NAJIT Position Paper on Team Interpreting in Court Related Proceedings is now available. Click the icon to the right to read the document.

May 15, 2020 – Due to the recent doubts and concerns raised around the election for the NAJIT Board of Directors, the Board took action in response to the serious allegations made and consulted with NAJIT’s retained legal counsel. In the interest of transparency and as a show of good faith, we are attaching the response received from the attorney to dispel any lingering questions as we move forward with the election and the planning for the annual meeting on June 6, 2020.

As always, the Board appreciates the interest of the membership in NAJIT and in ensuring that processes and bylaws are complied with.

May 6, 2020 – Read about the evolution of NAJIT Elections. Click on the image on the right to read the full document.

April 29, 2020 – Joint letter from the Advocacy and Bench and Bar Committees regarding proper protocols for remote interpreting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 17, 2020 – The Board would like to take this opportunity to thank members for their patience and trust with regard to the annual conference. At this time, COVID-19 is at the forefront of our thoughts as we all do our best to keep our members, ourselves, and all of our families healthy and safe by obeying the various stay at home orders in effect in our various states. The Board, working through our administrator CMAC, has been working diligently over the past several weeks to seek a resolution with the conference hotel to cancel the conference without incurring a hefty cancellation fee. The NAJIT annual conference has many moving pieces to it which make it a wonderful first class experience as we saw at our 40th Annual Conference in Nashville. We are now in a position where we can announce that our Annual Conference in Ft. Lauderdale is officially cancelled. Had the Board rushed to make this announcement to members or place it on the website before finalizing the necessary negotiations with the hotel, NAJIT could have incurred a fee in the tens of thousands of dollars. As a Board we had to find a delicate balance between keeping members apprised of the situation and being responsible stewards of the Association’s funds. Registration was suspended once the Board realized the conference would not be proceeding as planned.Thus far, anyone who requested a refund was issued a full refund with NAJIT assuming the transaction fees incurred, and not charging the customary $35 cancellation fee. For those who have not yet received a refund, NAJIT HQ will be contacting you in the coming days. The annual meeting will still be held, albeit virtually, so that we can have election results announced and take care of NAJIT business. We will provide more details as they become available. The Board will continue to keep members informed of future online programs that may be offered.

April 16, 2020 – The NAJIT Bench and Bar Committee has put together a number of resources for court interpreters: Language Access Matters Video, Language Access and Court Interpreters PowerPoint, Arabic and Spanish versions of the Infographics created in 2018, and the NAJIT Language Access Matters campaign. View the Bench and Bar area of the NAJIT website for complete details and links.

March 27,2020 – NAJIT is aware of the uncertain situation so many of our members find themselves in as a result of the economic constraints brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will disseminate any helpful information as it becomes known. In this spirit, here are a few of the pertinent provisions of the CARES Act (COVID-19 stimulus) along with additional resources to help you navigate this new legislation. Click the image on the right to read the full message.

March 21, 2020 – The NAJIT Board has published the latest Cybernews. Click the icon on the right to read this months issue.

March 21, 2020 – The NAJIT Board of Directors has been made aware of a scam targeting language professionals. We always urge our members to err on the side of caution when receiving unsolicited requests for jobs or contract work. Safeguarding our members’ interests is a top priority and we will continue to bring these situations to your attention as we encounter them. Click the icon on the right to see the full message, including a copy of this most recent scam.

March 9,2020 – The NAJIT Board is excited to launch the 2020 NAJIT Scholars Program. The Scholars Program of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) selects up to five scholars from qualified applicants to attend NAJIT’s 41st Annual Conference. Click the image to the right to view program details.

March 9,2020 – NAJIT is proud to welcome the new Editor-in-Chief of Proteus, Salua Kamerow. Salua is a Colombian attorney, holds a Master of Laws from Penn State University, and a Master of Science from the NYU Translation Program. Salua joins a long list of distinguished Editors-in-Chief of Proteus. We are currently accepting contributions for the spring issue. Email Salua at (deadline 3/15)

February 11,2020 – An in-depth court interpreter compensation report written by NAJIT members Mary Lou Aranguren (California), Milena Calderari-Waldron (Washington) Robert Joe Lee (New Jersey) and Sandro Tomasi (New York) sheds new light on how state court interpreters are undervalued and underpaid. The report addresses the job of a court interpreter, expressed in terms understood by human-resources personnel and administrators, making two key comparisons: a) state to federal courts compensation comparisons and b) court interpreter to court reporter job and salary comparisons. Click the icon on the right to view the report.

October 17, 2019: The NAJIT Board announces Armando Ezquerra Hasbun as its new Chair of the Board.

September 10, 2019 – Click on the icon to the right to watch a video of Chris Mellinger interviewed in Stellenbosch by Anthony Pym. Chris is SSTI’s newest Board member. He shares information about his role at UNC Charlotte.

September 7, 2019: During the recent town hall the NAJIT Board randomly selected the winners of the 40th Annual Conference raffle. Join us in congratulating the winners!

Winners of a 1-year NAJIT membership: Leslie Tabarez and Helene Conte.

Winners of a NAJIT Academy webinar registration: Lisa Lopez and Sandra Aidar-McDermott.

September 7, 2019: The NAJIT Board held a virtual town hall open to members. The Board shared current NAJIT objectives as well as discussed recent announcements. The session was recorded and is available on the NAJIT Governance page. Login to your NAJIT account to access the governance page.

August 23, 2019 – “Subject to Interpretation” with Agustin de la Mora interviews NAJIT Chair, Aimee Benavides – Click the icon on the right to listen to an interview with NAJIT Chair, Aimee Benavides, to hear her discuss entrepreneurship, being your own business, and the benefits of joining a professional association.

August 12, 2019: NAJIT Mourns the Loss of John Estill – The NAJIT Board of Directors and our management team extend sincere condolences to the family and friends of long-time NAJIT member John Estill upon his passing. John served as the chair of various committees and contributed greatly to the Association and the profession. He was a loyal NAJIT supporter and a dear friend to many of our members. His loss is deeply felt but he leaves a legacy of service and devotion for his family, friends and the profession he loved so much. May he rest in peace.

August 9,2019 – The NAJIT Board of Directors is pleased to announce that longtime NAJIT member, Georganne Weller, has been granted a NAJIT Lifetime Membership as prescribed by the NAJIT bylaws. The response from members in support was tremendous. Georganne is much beloved and appreciated by colleagues all over the world and we feel honored to grant this to her.

June 26,2019 – NAJIT writes a letter to California legislators supporting an exemption for freelance interpreters be added to Assembly Bill 5. Click the icon on the right to read the letter.

May 20, 2019 – 2019 NAJIT Election Results: Congratulations to the 2019 Board of Directors election winner: Hebba Abulsaad. The board has selected returning board member Aimee Benavides as the Chair of the Board, returning board member Claudia Rubio Samulowitz as Treasurer, and returning board member Teresa Salazar as Secretary.

May 14, 2019 – Letter to Texas Legislature: The NAJIT Advocacy Committee writes a letter to Texas legislators in opposition of proposed Bills SB 2176 and HB 3627. Click the icon to the right to read the letter.

May 1, 2019 – After ten years, the newly revised NAJIT Position Paper on Transcription/Translation is now available. The position paper is for the benefit of both the users of transcription/translation services and the practitioners who provide them, addressing topics such as the qualifications required to do this type of specialized work, quality assurance, and the role of the transcription/translation expert as expert witness. A useful tool that examines this hybrid specialization from both the theoretical and practical perspectives. Click the icon to the right to read the document.

April 1, 2019NAJIT Scholar Winners: The NAJIT Board is proud to announce the 2019 NAJIT Scholars. Click the image to the right to view all five scholarship recipients.

December 4, 2018 – The NAJIT Board held a virtual town hall open to members and non-members. The Board shared current NAJIT objectives as well as discussed recent announcements. The session was recorded and is available on the NAJIT Governance page in the member portal.

November 9, 2018: NAJIT Mourns the Loss of Esther Navarro-Hall –NAJIT joins our colleagues, members and the entire profession in mourning the passing of Esther Navarro-Hall. Esther was a prior NAJIT Director and former Chair of the Board of Directors. Her vision helped lead NAJIT to greater heights and her legacy lives on in our Association and the entire profession that she so selflessly served. Esther is gone too soon, but she has left an indelible mark on our profession and on everyone she touched. May cherished memories bring comfort to her family and friends, and may she rest in peace. Click the image on the right to read more about the life and work of Esther Navarro-Hall.

November 7, 2018 – Announcement from the Board of Directors: Click the icon on the right to read a letter from the Board of Directors announcing a new member benefit (The NAJIT Healthcare Program) and some other important items.

October 23, 2018 – “Subject to Interpretation” with Agustin de la Mora interviews NAJIT’s Executive Director –Click the icon on the right to listen to an interview with NAJIT’s Executive Director, Rob Cruz, to hear about how he came to the profession and his work at NAJIT. Find all episodes of “Subject to Interpretation” here.

July 26, 2018 – NAJIT releases a statement on the perils of subpoenaing an interpreter to testify about the substance of an assignment. Click the icon on the right to read the statement.

June 20, 2018 – NAJIT Addresses the Georgia Commission on Interpreters: Executive Director, Rob Cruz, represented NAJIT by addressing the Georgia Commission on Interpreters on June 20th, 2018 as part of their continuing efforts to promote high standards regarding language access. Mr. Cruz spoke on key aspects of the profession such as attracting more potential interpreters and the importance of continuing education requirements. Click the icon on the right for more details on the event.

June 9, 2018 – 2018 NAJIT Election Results: Congratulations to the 2018 Board of Directors election winners: Aimee Benavides, Armando Ezquerra Hasbun, Claudia Rubio Samulowitz, and Teresa Salazar. The board has selected Aimee Benavides as the Chair of the Board, returning board member Hilda Zavala as Treasurer and Claudia Rubio Samulowitz as Secretary. The Nominations Committee should be commended for all of their efforts.

May 22, 2018 – Announcing a new resource to aid in sharing the benefits of working with a professional interpreter: The NAJIT Bench and Bar Committee is proud to share a second infographic resource. This infographic is designed to help share the benefits of working with a professional interpreter. Click the thumbnail to the right to access the infographic. Access the bench and bar page to view more resources.

May 1, 20182018 NAJIT Scholar Winners: The NAJIT Board is proud to announce the 2018 NAJIT Scholars. Click the image to the right to view all five scholarship recipients.

April 13, 2018NAJIT Responds to a Draft of a New Fee Schedule for Workers Compensation Interpreters in California: Lorena Ortiz Schneider, from the California Workers’ Compensation Interpreters Association, brought to our attention that a draft of a new fee schedule for workers compensation interpreters in California has been released and is open for public comment. Click the icon on the right to read the full story and NAJIT’s response.

February 28, 2018 – Announcing a new resource to aid in working with interpreters in a legal setting: The NAJIT Bench and Bar Committee is proud to share a helpful script for professionals who are working with interpreters in a legal setting. It doesn’t come naturally, but with these tips, it can certainly be a smooth process.

February 7, 2018 – Thanks to an excellent suggestion, we are proud to present an additional member benefit: discounted subscription to Nominations for the Board are ending shortly – stay tuned for more information regarding upcoming elections.

December 20, 2017 – The call for papers has officially ended. Thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal! The board is pleased to announce that we received the highest number in recent years for our annual conference to be held in San Francisco June 8-10, 2018, with almost 100 proposals. The conference committee will now begin the challenging task of choosing between the excellent proposals to put together the preliminary program for the conference which will be made available as soon as it is ready.

November 10, 2017 – Take a look at a recent article written by Sylvia Falchuk on her experience being a presenter and an attendee at the NAJIT 38th Annual Conference, “2017 Artículo NAJIT para revista CTPCBA FALCHUK“. The article was published in Spanish. Here is an abstract of the article written in English.

October 25-28, 2017 – NAJIT exhibited at the ATA conference. NAJIT Chair, Gladys Matthews, attended several events on behalf of NAJIT (Interpret America 6 and a meeting of the National Interpreter Association Coalition (NIAC)). We would also like to thank the NAJIT members that helped share NAJIT’s story with ATA attendees: Heidi Cazes, Liz Essary, Eneyda Dubon, Anastasiya Kogan, Gunilla Medina, Athena Matilsky, Sabine Michael, and Garrett Michaelson Bradford.

October 20, 2017 – This is the first of many regular updates from the Board to NAJIT members and friends of NAJIT. We will share with you the projects we are working on for the benefit of membership and the association.

  • One current project we are working on is the formation of the committees. It’s not too late to volunteer. Committee appointments, including the chairs and co-chairs, will be announced soon.
  • NAJIT will be at booth 28 at the ATA conference this month. Stop by and say hi!
  • You can now follow NAJIT on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.