Last weekend, DE LA MORA Interpreter Training teamed up with various members of the interpreting community to host a summit with the theme of “Finding the Parallels.” We examined the crossroads where legal and medical interpreting intersect, and learned from doctors, interpreters, and law enforcement officers who all have experience in the field.

Giovanna Lester and Patricia Alonzo opened the weekend with presentations from the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) and the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) respectively.

They were followed by a panel discussion on finding the parallels between the interpreter codes of ethics in both medical and legal settings. Among the experienced members of the panel were ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Gio Lester, Patricia Alonzo, instructors Claudia Villalba, Katty Koffman, and Athena Matilksy, and Dr. Lizbeth Mendoza, with Agustín de la Mora acting as moderator.

Participants listen to the panel discussion comparing ethics in medical and legal environments.

Saturday started bright and early with a class on note-taking for consecutive interpreting by Claudia Villalba, emphasizing the importance of jotting down memory triggers with words, abbreviations, symbols, or pictures as needed, and giving us great advice on how to do so.

Dr. Lizbeth Mendoza then taught participants how to care for a mind and spirit exhausted by the traumatic situations interpreted in a court room or by a death bed, focusing on self-awareness and relaxation techniques.

Group activities with Claudia Villalba help interpreters hone their note-taking skills.

After Athena Matilsky led us in a more in-depth look at comparing medical and legal interpreting protocol, Agustín de la Mora helped participants hone their sight translation and simultaneous interpretation skills, giving participants plenty of practice all along the way.

Dr. Mendoza’s explanation of common injuries helped medical interpreters know what to expect and what terminology to learn next, while our last presentations of the weekend by Matthew Ihnken gave us a law-enforcement officer’s insight into dealing with DUI crime investigation and domestic violence.

Throughout the weekend, medical and legal interpreting walked hand in hand, as they often do in real life whenever a crime causes an injury or a medical report is used as evidence. Each presenter used his or her knowledge and expertise to send participants off with a richer knowledge of their profession and valuable advice for dealing with its challenges.

We thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, and we hope to see you there next year!




A participant shows off his certificate of completion at the end of the weekend.


Watch this short Highlight reel: