Presenter Biographies

40th Annual Conference

Conference Presenters

B

Aimee Benavides is a federally and CA court certified Spanish interpreter with over 19 years experience. In addition to having worked extensively in court, she specializes in technical agricultural conferences and training workshops, focus groups that require simultaneous interpreting into English, and educational interpreting. She has also innovated ways to connect phone lines into interpreting platforms as a way to overcome platform shortfalls and help interpreters avoid being stuck as the pinch point between LEPs and the courts. Tamber and Aimee are 2 of the 3 members of TEA Language Solution.

Angie Birchfield, a California Court Certified Spanish interpreter, served as Unit Chair of IGA and on several California Judicial Council committees. She partnered with a key lobbyist for the exemptions that are now a part of AB2257.

D

Agustín Servin de la Mora is the President of DE LA MORA Interpreter Training. He was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, and has been a professional interpreter for 30 years, both as a freelance and a staff interpreter. He is one of the supervisor raters for the National Center for State Courts and has been a lead rater for the federal and consortium oral exams for court interpreters. He was the lead interpreter for the Ninth Judicial Circuit for over a decade, and served as a member of the Project Advisory Committee responsible for the creation of the National Standards for Healthcare Interpreter Training Programs for the NCIHC. He was a member of the Florida Court Interpreter Certification Board and a voting member of the Technical Committee of the National Consortium for Interpreter Certification. He is a state and federally certified court interpreter, as well as a certified medical interpreter. He has been a consultant for the National Center for State Courts for 20 years.

Alexander Drechsel works as a conference interpreter at the European Commission. He loves languages and communicating with people and is enthusiastic about technology: Alexander has been an iPad user since day one and also knows a thing or two about Android tablets. As Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of techforword, Alexander shares his knowledge in courses, on Twitter, and on his website. An avid podcaster, Alex writes and produces two podcasts for language professionals, Troublesome Terps and LangFM.

E

Elda Ellis has been a Certified Court Interpreter for almost two decades. The Daily Journal featured her series of articles on interpreter protocol. Ms. Ellis is the founder of Translating Worlds by EYE, providing coaching related to judicial proceedings protocol and ethics to certified interpreters, as well as a consultant for different professionals who interact with interpreters on a regular basis. Ms. Ellis is also an educator who specializes in Virtual and Onsite Best Practices, as well as interpretation and translation of blockchain, bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, fintech, lawTech and artificial intelligence for individuals around the globe. Originally born in Latin America, her immersion and understanding of the Latin American and American societies gives her the unique ability to accurately bridge the communication gap between both cultures.

G

Josh Goldsmith is a UN and EU accredited translator and interpreter working from Spanish, French, Italian and Catalan into English. He splits his time between interpreting, translating, and working as a trainer and researcher focusing on the intersection between interpreting, technology and education. As Co-Founder and Chief Educational Officer of techforword, Josh shares tips about technology, translation and interpreting in conferences and workshops, academic articles, and on Twitter.

Mylène M. Green is a federally and state certified court interpreter in California. Born in Santiago, Chile, Mylene has grown up with latin rhythms and enjoys an active lifestyle. Interpreting and fitness are two of her passions and she enjoys sharing them. Mylene holds licenses in the following formats: Zumba Basic, Zumba Toning, Zumba Sentao, Zumba Step, Strong by Zumba, R.I.P.P.E.D. and Cardio Sculpt.  She is a fitness instructor at Crunch Fitness.

H

Esther Hermida, federally certified interpreter, working with CoPTIC and Language Pros Hurt by AB5 has had a significant presence in the press and on social media in defense of freelance professionals.

David Higbee, a trilingual certified court/conference interpreter. He cofounded the group Language Pros Hurt by AB5 and actively advocates for freelancers in the press and social media.

Tamber Hilton is a federally certified freelance Spanish court and community interpreter based in Washington, D.C. She is a tech and audio aficionado, with a passion for solving technical problems in virtual event management and for helping people look and sound their professional best, virtually. In addition to interpreting and experimenting with RSI technology, she is a licensed lead trainer for Cross Cultural Communications’ The Community Interpreter curriculum, and has been training and mentoring community interpreters since 2011. Tamber has led the technical team for several important events with several different language pairs, all working simultaneously. These experiences have shaped the teaching and tech support methodologies used by TEA Language Solutions which is a partnership between Tamber, Ernest Niño-Murcia, and Aimee Benavides.

J

Judy Jenner is a Spanish and German business and legal translator and a federally court certified Spanish interpreter. She has an MBA in marketing and runs her boutique translation and interpreting business, Twin Translations, with her twin sister Dagmar. She was born in Austria and grew up in Mexico City. She’s a former in-house translation department manager and serves as one of the spokespersons for the American Translators Association. She writes the blog, “Translation Times,” pens the “Entrepreneurial Linguist” column for The ATA Chronicle, and is a frequent conference speaker, including at recent events in Czech Republic, Brazil, Sweden, Norway, etc. She is the co-author of The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation. She teaches translation and interpreting at UC-San Diego and at UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas).

K

Katty Kauffman is a seasoned conference and court interpreter and a member of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) and TAALS. She is an instructor at York University’s graduate school (Glendon MCI). Trained in Chile and the United States, her experience covers over two decades on site and, more recently online, in addition to her work as a freelance conference interpreter, she has worked in court in New York, Miami and the Washington, DC metro area and served on staff at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She is federally certified in Spanish and accredited by the Maryland and Florida AO as well as SOSi.

L

Tzol Lopez Beverly is a CHI Certified Healthcare Interpreter. She teamed with Angie Birchfield, Michèle Stevens, and Julie Ducker to obtain the exemption for Interpreters and Translators from AB5.

M

Vanessa C. Marcano-Kelly is a native of Caracas, Venezuela. She is a certified court interpreter in the state of Iowa and lead linguist at Caracas Language Solutions, LLC since 2015. She is also a contracted translator with Principal Financial Group, a Fortune 500 Company. Vanessa specializes in community, conference, and legal interpretation, as well as translation, subtitling, and some voice over work. Vanessa’s interpretation and translation experience is extensive and multifaceted. Past performance includes Sen. Bernie Sanders, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, former Democratic presidential candidates Sec. Julián Castro, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren; community meetings with the US Department of Labor, former US Congressman Tom Latham, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario, among others. She graduated with honors with a BA in Global Studies and French from South Dakota State University. She received a judiciary interpretation and translation specialization certificate from Des Moines Area Community College. 

Athena Matilsky holds an MA in Conference Interpreting from Glendon College, York University, as well as a BA in Spanish Interpreting and Translation from Rutgers University. She is a Federally Certified Court Interpreter (Spn<>Eng), a Certified Healthcare Interpreter (Spn<>Eng) and an Approved Court Interpreter (Frn<>Eng). She was formerly editor-in-chief of Proteus (NAJIT’s academic publication), and she is currently on the NAJIT blog committee. She served as a staff interpreter for the NJ judiciary from 2013-2016. Now, she owns her own company, Athena Sky Interpreting, where she coaches students on interpreting technique. When she is not studying or teaching, you may find her studying French or practicing Acroyoga. Website: https://athenaskyinterpreting.com/Acroyoga.

Jackie Metivier has 30 years of experience serving as a Spanish/English consecutive and simultaneous interpreter in North Carolina. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communi­cations at the Universidad Intercontinental in Mexico City. Jackie is classified as A1. Master Certified Spanish<>English Court Interpreter and an ATA-Accredited translator from English into Spanish. She served as President of the Carolina Association of Translators and Interpreters (CATI) from 2003-2006. Jackie founded Bilingual Communications, Inc., which provides English<>Spanish translation, interpretation, and video voice-over services. Her company translates approximately 150,000 words per month for clients such as Duke Energy, Truist, Susan G. Komen, NC State University and selected law firms. In 2019, Jackie and her team provided simultaneous conference interpretation for 100+ COVID-19 conferences for North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper. Jackie and Yasmin are biological sisters from Puebla, Mexico, who married biological brothers from Flint, Michigan.

Yasmin W. Metivier. A -1 Master English/Spanish Interpreter with more than 25 years of experience in the courts, government, agriculture, public meetings, health and safety in the service industries, technology, and other fields at a regional, national and international level. Yasmin has been the interpreter for several Governors and, most recently, for NC Governor Roy Cooper’s press conferences (150+ and ongoing), Gubernatorial debate, and inauguration in 2020. An accomplished public speaker on Latino culture and business, she also teaches bilingual people to be interpreters in educational settings. Her experience living in several foreign countries has helped her understand the immigrant’s life and based on this experience she was the creator, writer, and producer of the Bibi Series, a twelve-part award-winning life skills and financial literacy Spanish language audio series developed for BB&T. Yasmin is a professional voiceover and on-camera talent. She has been the recipient of several awards and served on many boards.

N

Ernest Niño-Murcia is a freelance interpreter and translator based in Des Moines, Iowa. As a state and federally certified court interpreter, he has interpreted legal proceedings and prepared translations, transcriptions, and expert witness reports/testimony for clients in the private and public sectors. He has interpreted for public figures such as Newt Gingrich, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds outside of court. In 2020, he co-founded T.E.A. Language Solutions to provide remote interpreting training, consulting, and live technical support to interpreters and clients. As a speaker and trainer, he has presented live and online sessions through organizations including NAJIT, the University of Arizona’s National Center for Interpretation, and the U.S. Department of Justice, among others. Additionally, Ernest is a Jeopardy! Champion (2012), whose greatest achievement on the show was beating an attorney to the buzzer to answer “co-defendant” in the “11 letter words” category.

P

Leilani Padilla-Young lives in New Mexico with her husband John and her doggie Aysha. Leilani earned a B.A in Interpretation by ISIT, Mexico. Leilani obtained her New Mexico Court Interpreter Certification in 2015. During her 23-year career, Leilani has interpreted for the following personalities: UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon; Mexican President Vicente Fox; NM Congresswoman Deb Haaland, New Mexico Governor Michelle Luján Grisham, to name a few. Between 2008 and 2013, Leilani interpreted the State of the Union speeches by US Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for Azteca-America on live TV. Leilani has provided interpreting services for US Embassy in Mexico, United Nations, District Courts throughout New Mexico, Caterpillar, Procter and Gamble, among others. Leilani is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Translation and Interpretation at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey.

Janis Palma is an English<>Spanish judiciary interpreter and legal translator certified by NAJIT and the U.S. Courts, and is a State of Texas Licensed Master Court Interpreter.  Her 40-year experience includes contract work for government agencies, state, federal and immigration courts, conference work in the private sector and seminar interpreting for the U.S. State Department. She has been an instructor and developer of educational materials on judiciary interpreting and translation and has served as a consultant for higher education institutions, professional associations, and government agencies. In 2004 she translated a book by Guillermo Baralt from Spanish into English, titled, The History of the Federal Court in Puerto Rico: 1899-1999. Ms. Palma joined the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico as a staff interpreter in April 2002, was a supervisory interpreter for 6 years, and retired in 2017. She still enjoys volunteering for her professional associations and is currently on the NAJIT Board of Directors.

R

Madeline Rios, a Court Certified Interpreter (AOUSC and CA) and ATA Certified Translator, was instrumental in mobilizing community organizations in support of our freelance colleagues.

Dr. Gloria M. Rivera, CMI, CHI is an English<>Spanish certified medical interpreter, conference interpreter, translator, and instructor. She is a physician/surgeon who obtained her degree from Universidad San Martin de Porres (Lima, Peru). She holds a professional certificate of translation and interpretation from UCSD Extension and taught for said Professional Certificate. Dr. Rivera is part of the core faculty of the National Center for Interpretation (University of Arizona). She is also the owner of Blue Urpi, a company focused on providing medically accurate training for certified and aspiring medical interpreters. She is the recipient of 2018 CHIA’s Instructor of the Year Award.

Dr. Rey Romero is Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics at the University of Houston-Downtown, where he directs the Translation minor, the interpreting minor, and supervises the field experience course. Dr. Romero believes that the field of sociolinguistics should be central in ensuring language access to linguistic minorities, whether by incorporating linguistic concepts in interpreting and translation training, applying sociolinguistic research on the teaching of heritage languages, or by analyzing the sociolinguistic implications of language policy, social justice, and their legal and health ramifications.  He is also an Adjunct Professor of Legal Spanish at the University of Houston’s Law Center, and he has taught at Georgetown University, The University of Texas-Pan American (now UTRGV), Texas A&M University, and the University of Houston.

Tony Rosado is a U.S. Department of State conference level independent contractor (highest classification in federal government), an Attorney at Law and Foreign Legal Consultant. He has over 30 years of experience practicing interpreting and teaching and is a guest professor, instructor and examiner in universities and colleges in all continents except Asia. An attorney from Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City, he has worked internationally as a conference interpreter, and interpreted for high profile court proceedings, Olympic Games, and TV broadcasts, including presidential debates and political conventions. He has worked with many top level politicians, celebrities, athletes, and entrepreneurs. The author of two books on court interpreting, he is a visiting professor at various universities in the U.S. and overseas, a well known conference presenter, and the author of the popular blog, “The Professional Interpreter.”

T

Naomi Todd-Reyes has been working as a Certified Court Interpreter in New Mexico since 2011, having worked previously as a translator and interpreter in Santiago de Chile. Prior to interpreting, she worked in the NGO and International Development fields in various Latin American countries and on the US-Mexico border. She has Master’s Degrees in Latin American Studies and Community & Regional Planning from UNM and did her thesis work on organic and fair trade coffee certification and gender in Oaxaca, Mexico. Naomi has interpreted for several international meetings, conferences, and plenaries for organizations such as the USDA, the Kellogg Foundation, the Americas Conference of Mayors, the New York Times, and the National Park Service, among others. Naomi is currently part of a team that interprets a live stream Spanish language broadcast of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s weekly Covid-19 press conferences.

W

Telia Mary Williams, ESQ., is a judge pro tempore for Las Vegas Township, and has regularly presided over civil and criminal cases where courtroom interpreters are utilized. She owns a boutique law firm, where she often engages the services of an interpreter. She has a penchant for travel (having lived, worked in, or visited 25 countries), and for languages, having studied several, and earning an attorney certification for document review in Spanish and German. Ms. Williams graduated with honors from Yale University and Harvard Law School, and was named among the “Best Lawyers in America” for 2021. She is a frequent speaker and published author. She recently contributed a chapter on the role of law in the work of celebrated American author, Flannery O’Connor, to “Listening,” a philosophy journal published by Duquesne University, based on a talk that she gave to an international conference in Dublin, Ireland. Ms. Williams is currently writing a book on the Bar Exam and Law School Admission Test.