Court Interpreter Skills Development Workshop In the Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Spanish Languages


Date: October 20 and 21st, 2012                              Time: 8:15 a.m. -5:00 p.m.

Location: Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Cost: $200.00 (Includes Continental breakfast, workshop and glossary materials)

The Widener Legal Education Institute is pleased to offer a language specific workshop on court interpretation for individuals interested in becoming a Court Interpreter for the Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian or Spanish Languages. Plenary sessions will be language neutral.


This language specific workshop on court interpretation is designed with the beginner and intermediate – level court interpreter in mind. The goal of this workshop is to guide the participant in the development of the indispensable, practical skills that are particular to the consecutive, simultaneous and sight interpretation modes. The workshop is a collaborative effort with Widener University School of Law, the First Judicial District (the Philadelphia Courts) and the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC). In support of the collaboration are the Philadelphia companies which offer interpretation and translation services, EZ Language, Language Services Associates, Quantum, Inc. as well as the Delaware Valley Translators Association. This workshop will ensure equal access to justice for litigants with limited English proficiency, (LEPs), and provide institutional training for spoken language interpreters with regard to court proceedings in the Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Spanish Languages.


Following the workshop, participants should:

  • Develop Key skills: note-taking, consecutive & simultaneous interpretation, sight translation
  • Develop Protocols, standards of practice & best professional practices for court interpreters
  • Become familiar with Legal terminology and glossary (English – Foreign Language)
  • Understand the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct for Judiciary Interpreters

Instruction assumes some prior basic training and exposure to these modes of interpretation. The main instructional strategy for this workshop is a graduated difficulty approach to the task of simultaneous interpretation. Coursework will move from simple exercises to hone listening-speaking skills, through lag development, to the simultaneous interpretation of edited recordings. Plenary discussion topics will include information about certification examination rating and scoring.

Instructional materials will cover a wide range of subject matter, from literature, glossaries to a guilty plea colloquy, jury instruction and trial transcript exercise. These materials will contribute to the growth of participant’s general and subject-specific vocabulary. All exercises will be followed by peer and instructor assessment of the performance with respect to analysis of the source language, and the accuracy, linguistic integrity and delivery in the target language. These discussions will create an opportunity to reflect on and develop the desired simultaneous interpreting strategies and skills.


To maximize the learning experience, participants are encouraged to bring:

  • Laptop or a CD Player (Compact)
  • Digital Recorder
  • English-Foreign Language Dictionary
  • Legal Terms Dictionary (English and/or English – Foreign Language)
  • Completed preprogram assignment (preprogram glossary assignment to be distributed in advance of the workshop)

Note: Dictionaries are optional as there is Internet access in the classroom. Instructor will provide additional materials for continued development outside the classroom.


Agustín Servin de la Mora (Plenary instructor and Spanish language small group instructor) is the President of the Florida Institute of Interpretation and Translation. He was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, and has been a professional interpreter for the last 22 years, both as a freelance and staff interpreter. Mr. de la Mora is one of the Supervisor Raters in the United States 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, is a member of the Florida Court Interpreter Certification Board and a voting member of the Technical Committee of the Consortium for Language Access to the Courts. Mr. de la Mora is certified by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, as a Federally Certified Court Interpreter. He is also a Certified Court interpreter by the Florida Court Interpreter Certification Board. He has been a consultant for the Administrative Offices of the State Courts, conducting orientation seminars and advanced skills workshops for interpreters in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin. As a recognized professional in his field, he has been featured as a speaker and presenter in several national conventions, including the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, the American Translators Association and the National Association of State Court Administrators.

Jacki Noh (Korean language small group instructor) has been an interpreter, translator, trainer, voice-over talent for over 25 years. She belongs to the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), has served on the Judicial Council of California Court Interpreters Advisory Panel, and is a former board member of the American Translators Association (ATA). She is on the US State Department’s list of approved conference interpreters and a certified court interpreter for the State of California. She has interpreted throughout the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Middle East. Noteworthy assignments include interpreting during the G20 Leaders’ Summit, Six-Party Talks in Beijing, for the World Baseball Classic and three different Olympiads. She holds a Master of Arts in Conference Interpretation from Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation (GSTI), Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) and a BA from University of California at Berkeley.

Natalia Petrova (Russian language small group instructor) has diverse experience as a Russian<>English interpreter, translator and interpreter trainer. She is a State Court certified interpreter in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. She received certification as a medical interpreter from the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters in 2012. Natalia works for Albert Einstein Medical center in Philadelphia. She also does free-lance work as a court and conference interpreter and translator. Among her clients are the Russian Academy of Sciences, International Visitors Council, US Department of State, Rotary Club, courts and medical providers of the tri-state area. Natalia is a member of ATA and DVTA.

Marwan Abdel-Rahman [Marwan ElBakri] (Arabic language small group instructor) was born in Cairo, Egypt. He received his formal education in Cairo and was the school valedictorian at Egypt’s High School Diploma exams. He graduated from the Political Science Department at Cairo University (one of Egypt’s elite colleges) before migrating to the United States in the late eighties. While in the United States, Mr. Abdel-Rahman attended New Jersey City University from 1993-1996, completing his master’s degree. He taught English as a second language (ESL) at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City and began taking the NJ-AOC interpreter’s exams in1997. Mr. Abdel-Rahman became the highest ranked Arabic interpreter in New Jersey in 1999. He passed the Berlitz Agency exams in 1998, the Federal Bureau of Investigation exams in 1999 and the New York State exams in 2000. He received intensive training and passed exit exams at the United States District Court, Southern District of NY in 2001. He also passed the United Nations Verbatim Reporters’ exams in 2005. Since 2002 Mr. Abdel-Rahman has interpreted in a variety of high level events (as well as regular court events) such as several UN conferences in NYC, Court Martial trials in Texas, a variety of federal courts’ trials around the country (NY, NJ, IL and FL) usually involving charges of terrorism. He has also interpreted for several TV stations in NYC. In 2010 and 2011, Mr. Abdel-Rahman interpreted testimonies of members of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem and the West Bank during a series of federal court trials and court-ordered depositions. In 2011, he interpreted for two television networks in connection with the Arab Spring uprisings including interpreting live aired speeches given by some fallen Arab dictators.

Professor Christina Wu Yee (Mandarin and Cantonese language small group instructor) holds a M.A. degree in Chinese at San Francisco State University and earned her B.A. in Education. She fulfilled respective positions as Director of the Language Center and Instructor of Chinese at City College of San Francisco and Lecturer for the Dept. of Foreign Languages & Literatures at San Francisco State University. In 2010, she received an Award of Distinction from the Chinese Language Education and Research Center. This award was honored and based on recognition of Chinese language teachers and administrators who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of Chinese language education in the US. Professor Yee has taught Chinese courses at San Francisco State University & City College of San Francisco ranging from elementary language courses to advanced level courses. Christina has composed and presented various papers for Foreign Language Association of Northern California (FLANC) and Chinese Language Teachers Association of California (CLTAC). She has conducted workshops using themes such as “Using Technology in the Electronic Classroom”, “Using the Master Console for Interactive activities & Communication”, “Multimedia Material Presentation for Spanish Instructors”, and ” To Use Chinese Multimedia Material in the Electronic Classroom”.

Other notable professional activities include: Executive Council Member of the Foreign Language Association of Northern California (FLANC). Board Member of Chinese Language Teachers Association of California (CLTAC). Chair of the Judge Committee to train judges for the Chinese -Mandarin Speech Contest which over 700 students and 80-90 Judges participates every year, 1995-2012. President of the Chinese Language Teachers Association for Northern California (CLTAC), 1986-1989. President of the Foreign Language Association of Northern California (FLANC), 1995-1998. Board of Director, Southwestern Conference on Language Teaching (SWCOLT), 2000-2003


8:15 – 8:45 a.m. Continental Breakfast/sign in

8:45 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Workshop


Workshop registration …………….$200.00

Note: Needs based scholarships can be made available to participants who qualify. Please contact Nicole E. Ballenger, Esq. at 302-477-2290 or for further information.


Friday, October 12, 2012 You can pay by check. Make check payable to Widener University. Please return the completed registration form with your check to:

Widener Law Center Legal Education Institute

Attn: Nicole E. Ballenger, Esq.

4601 Concord Pike

Wilmington, DE 19803

or Fax the completed registration form with credit card information to

Legal Education Institute., fax: 302-477-2059


All cancellations must be sent in writing to

Nicole E. Ballenger, Esq., 4601 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803.

Refund for cancellations received in writing by October 12, 2012: Fee less $50.00. Refund for cancellations received in writing after October 12, 2012, No refund. Widener reserves the right to cancel within 10 days of the program, with a full refund to participants.

Certificate of Completion: Participants must attend both days. Upon conclusion of the workshop, all participants will receive a Certificate of Completion.


Nicole E. Ballenger, Esq.

Phone: 302-477-2290




Dear members,

I hope you are all having a wonderful and productive summer. I wanted to provide you with a long overdue update on our past and upcoming activities and share the report on the findings from the member survey conducted last March. The remarkable message coming from this study is that we are indeed a vibrant, talented, committed and impressive group of individuals, from diverse backgrounds and cultures, all looking to serve our clients and communities with our expert language services. I am proud, as I am humbled to be in your company. I hope you will find this report informative and helpful and that you will consider getting more involved in DVTA activities. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any other board member with your ideas, suggestions, or to volunteer for any of our committees.

Warm regards,

Tony Guerra

President of the Board of Directors, DVTA


Who are DVTA members, what do they think and what do they want?


Last March, 270 surveys were sent out by email to both current members and former DVTA members (back to 2009).We received 93 responses. Below is a sample profile of those that participated:

82% of the respondents were current members, with 52% active as interpreters and 41% active as translators and the rest comprised of students, institutional members and “others.”

Languages represented in the survey:

Not surprising, 63% worked primarily in the Spanish language followed by 18% in French. German, Italian and Portuguese shared an average of 12%, while Russian respondents were at 6%. The remaining percentage of respondents reported working in Asian, Central and Eastern European, Asian and Mid East languages.


Most respondents (80%) indicated joining DVTA primarily for the networking opportunities. However, other compelling reasons included jobs, sense of community and professional development.

The Respondent Profiles working in the Language Industry:

Of those who responded, interpreters outnumbered translators by a 12% margin; however, among the interpreters, those who identified themselves as consecutive dominated the poll at 65%, while 52% of these also counted themselves as simultaneous. Of this simultaneous group, however, only 26% classified themselves as conference interpreters. Those who identified their practice as escort interpreters also comprised 26% of interpreter respondents. It is probably safe to say that within the survey, there was a lot of overlap from the interpreter community.

As a matter of fact, 48% of all who responded listed themselves as both translators and interpreters. Of the translators, 44% worked in proofing and editing while only 12% worked on localization and 19% in transcription. Interesting as well was that 15% worked doing foreign language voice over, which is seeing a growth in demand.

Where they work:

An impressive 51% work for private clients, while those who work for local LSP (language services providers) ranked only at 24%, and those working for international LSP’s ranked 14%. In addition, respondents included a handful of staff translators and Project Managers.

What types of training programs are desired by the membership?

Translation: 64.5% polled in favor of CAT SW (Computer-Aided Software) training. This overwhelming vote has been acknowledged by the Board and is already being acted on. (Please stay tuned for announcements regarding the training to be held this coming September conducted by DVTA member and CAT tools guru, Rosalie Wells). Also, many responded that they would like more language-specific courses. We will be developing courses not only in Spanish but also in other languages and welcome volunteers for these committees to make it happen. 28% of our newer members indicated that they would like training for novices. (It should be noted that certified trainer and board member, Gabriela Jenicek, is offering courses for beginners throughout the year.) In early 2013, the DVTA Board is looking to bring in an expert on translation and interpretation software, especially in voice recognition and transcription technology. More news on this in September.

Interpretation training:

Again, 53% of the members expressed a strong desire for simultaneous conference and audio equipment training to be able to build on their skills and marketability in this field. This past June, DVTA teamed with corporate sponsor, Mainline AV, to offer a one-day intensive, hands-on workshop on the newest technology. (For more details, see Carlota Dalziel’s June blog report). Due to popular demand, a similar workshop with more substance will be offered again in December 2012. Highly ranked (56%) was also the desire for specialized legal terminology for our court interpreters who need ongoing professional development and continuing education credits. Lastly, 40% asked for more medical interpreter training for those members working (or aspiring to work) in hospitals and other medical settings.

Business Skills Training:

This category was highly supported by participants. The three most popular seminar suggestions received 60% favorable responses and included “Creating a Website and Branding your Services,” “Business Development: Generating and Following-up on Leads,” and “Negotiating Skills and Maintaining a Profitable Margin.” Courses on Client Management and Project/Time /Energy Management were also received favorably by 40%. These have yet to be developed but are on the horizon, and we are looking for volunteers to take this initiative and get behind their actualization for the coming Fall/Winter.


Since many of our members are very busy during the week and weekends, or live on the outskirts of the Delaware Valley and must travel long distances to training opportunities, webinars offer a very attractive option. The three leading proposed webinars that dominated the poll category with each receiving more than 50 % support were “Intro to CAT tools for Beginners,” “Effective Note-taking in Various Interpretation Settings,” and “How do language Companies Select their Vendors?” These exciting webinars are all easily actionable if we make use of the impressive talent from within our current membership. Again, volunteers are most welcome!

As for the promotion, timing and pricing for the above seminars, the members asked for an average of 2 seminars per year, with 1-2 months’ advance notice, daily seminar rates of not more than $150 per day (or not more than $35 for webinars), and preferably within 50 to 100 miles travelling distance. Of course, depending on the topic, we acknowledge that a commute of more than 25 miles could be challenging for many, and we will do our best to consider this while evaluating accessibility, availability and cost when selecting venues.


In response to the majority’s request for more than one networking event per year, DVTA reinstated the summer party, with a very nice turnout on August 1st at Maria Weir’s Garden. We acknowledge that many of us were away for the summer and will continue to look for other professional and social opportunities for additional networking events so that they occur throughout the year.

Web Site:

Hopefully, you are reading this report on Regrettably, most of the members polled indicated that they rarely visit the website, and if you do, it is once every 2-3 months. However, our job is to make the dissemination of information easy and accessible to all, so we also distribute many postings on our web through our listserv, blog and via email to make sure our members do not miss out on any news or opportunities.

DVTA Meeting Members’ Expectations, Needs and Interests:

The organization was ranked by 44% of the membership as mostly meeting their expectations, and a very encouraging 28% as always meeting their needs. It was both encouraging and gratifying to see that the efforts of the board are recognized and that, as we strive to improve, we are supported. Thank you to everyone who participated!




The DVTA Summer Cocktail Networking Party was held on Wednesday, August 1, at the home of Board Member Maria Weir in Gladwyne, PA. It was decided to risk the announced 50 % probability of rain and make it an outdoor event. The decision paid off, as a scarce few drops did nothing to dampen the merriment of the 35 guests. Congregated in Maria’s beautiful garden and pool area guests busily exchanged cards and titbits of information related to the fields of interpreting and translation. The delicious munchies for the evening were catered by Wegmans’ and washed down with refreshing Sangrias and Margaritas. The event had been scheduled from 5:30pm until 7:30pm, however, the attendees were still making merry when this member left at 8:30pm, paying no heed to the flood alert that luckily didn’t happen! A big “thank you” goes to Wolfgang Gunther and Rudy Tellez for the photographs taken throughout the evening.

The networking event was preceded by a Board Meeting at 4:30 pm that was attended by Board members Anne Connor, Carlota Dalziel, Dorothy Evans, Maria Weir and Gabriela Jenicek, as well as DVTA President Tony Guerra.

The agenda for the meeting included the planning of proposed DVTA events to be held into February 2013. Venues and dates were considered. The anticipated upcoming programs include a full day seminar on CAT Tools to be presented by Rosalie Wells in the Fall, a follow up of the very successful seminar on Interpretation Technology held last June at the St.Davids Golf Club and presented by Todd Cassidy, and a Transcription Seminar to be presented by Jaime Fatas, pending confirmation of his availability and a suitable location. Possible dates were suggested for the DVTA Winter Party, with special consideration given to practical aspects such as accessibility to the venue as well as the availability of plenty of parking space. Gabi Jenicek informed members of an invitation for DVTA Board members to speak about our organization at the Philadelphia Family Court Building on October 2 at a meeting to be held for participants of the Philadelphia Court Shadowing Program. This ongoing and popular program gives new interpreters the chance to shadow experienced colleagues, thus learning the ropes of the profession hands-on.

Please check out the DVTA blog and see our website for registering for these upcoming events.


National Board for Certification of Medical Interpreters – monthly webinars

The National Board for Certification of Medical Interpreters holds monthly webinars to inform medical interpreters about their medical certification program.  The schedule for the rest of 2012 is as follows:

August 23  11:00 AM

September 21    4:00 PM

October 22  12 noon

November 27   1:00 PM

December 19    11:00 AM

To HEAR the webinar, access the Audio portion of the meeting, use your phone: USA Toll-Free: (877) 336-1839 ACCESS CODE: 9024911 (International or USA Caller Paid Toll: (636) 651-0008 ACCESS CODE: 9024911)

To SEE the presentation, access the Web portion of the meeting, use your computer and Internet Explorer is the most appropriate browser: Web Meeting Address: Meeting Number: 8773361839 ACCESS CODE: 9024911

Procedures for the audio:

1. Dial in and wait until you are added to the call 2. Put your phone on mute by pressing *6 (to un-mute press *6 again) 3. Please do not place your phone on hold during the webinar.

You can also download the latest presentation displayed during the most recent Webinar series at

Calling all Vietnamese and Korean medical interpreters

The National Board for Certification of Medical Interpreters needs your help in piloting the certification exams for these languages.  The pilot exams are free and you will have this great practice for taking the certification exam when it becomes available by the end of the year.  The pilot tests are scheduled at your convenience at Einstein Hospital.  The exams are administered by phone.  There are two sight translations from English into the target language and then twelve consecutive dialogues of medical interpreting encounters.  The test takes about 1 hour.  If you would so kind to consider this request contact Rita Weil, Secretary, National Board for Certification of Medical Interpreters,  at