The Criminal Justice Center of Philadelphia opens its door for a seminar to more than 100 interpreters – by Maria Weir

The weekend of October 20-21, 2012, Widener University School of Law, the First Judicial District (the Philadelphia Courts) and the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) with the collaboration of EZ Language, Language Services Associates, Quantum, Inc. as well as the Delaware Valley Translators Association offered a language-specific workshop on court interpretation for Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Spanish Languages.

Early Saturday and Sunday mornings a continental breakfast waited the arrival of interpreters from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and some of them Chicago, New York and Ohio.

The Plenary Sessions were conducted by Agustin de la Mora, who offered many tips and information about key skills on note taking, consecutive, simultaneous and sight translation, as well as protocols, standards of practice and best professional practices.

After the plenary sessions, attendees gathered in small groups with recognized instructors: Agustin de la Mora for Spanish, Jacki Noh for Korean, Natalia Petrova for Russian, Marwan El Bakri for Arabic and Christina Wu Yee for Mandarin and Cantonese. Each group practiced with audio recordings, transcripts and documents, skill- building exercises in all three interpreting modes, and discussed terminology and cultural awareness.

The seminar also included the presentation of Gabriela Jenicek on The Pennsylvania Code of Ethics for Judiciary Interpreters.

The Honorable Judge Ida Chen, who has been an avid advocate of interpreters, conducted an animated and instructional Mock Trial on “How to Interrupt and Correct the Judge”.

All participants received a copy of the Interpreter’s Quick Reference Manual for Protection from Abuses (PFA) in Courtroom 3 of Family Court, which contains the translation of all legal forms used in this Court. All in all, an incredible enterprise, under the leadership of Judge Chen, and a great help to the interpreting community!

The organization, instructors, materials and networking with fellow interpreters turn the weekend at the Criminal Justice Center in an instructional experience and a professional opportunity for the constant quest of being the best in our profession.

Thanks to all the organizers and instructors who made it possible!

By Maria Weir

English<>Spanish, Interpreter and Translator.