ISSUE 2 - April-June 2019



The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters keeps celebrating its 10th Anniversary!!

From the Chair of the National Board:

In our last newsletter we "launched" the NBCMI 10th year anniversary celebration, with the voices of some of those who laid the foundation including Dr. Izabel de V. Souza, Dr. Nelva Lee, and Linda Joyce. We are excited to continue celebrating with more voices from our past and present, in addition to attending conferences and symposiums around the country.

Having the opportunity to personally interact with old and new friends is always delightful, but more importantly, listening to feedback, ideas and suggestions is key to continue working in improving our services to our community of CMIs and to all medical interpreters interested in getting certified for their own personal growth and development of our profession. It is also very important to ask the conference organizers to apply for IMIA/NBCMI CEUs, if they are not offered. The IMIA recently made changes to their CEU process, making it more affordable and easier to do. It is your right to request CEUs, after all that is the reason you attend conferences.

We have been working for this profession for 10 years, and we will continue our mission for many years to come. As I mentioned in the last issue, we are working towards a credential that will be more inclusive of many other languages of lesser diffusion So, all those interpreters of varied languages who have been waiting for this opportunity, be on the lookout for our big announcement, keep checking our website.

The National Board celebrated big by offering five (5) full scholarships, one for each region of the United States. The response was excellent, and we will be sorting through the applications to pick the recipients of these scholarships. We will make the announcement on August 1 to the lucky recipients, stay tuned.

We hope to see you at the next conference and wish you a wonderful summer!

Jazmin Manjarrez, CMI-Spanish, NBCMI Chair

NBCMI Partners with Oregon Health Authority and Others:

By Casita Wild

Over the past decade the National Board has partnered with hospitals and organizations to help interpreters achieve national certification. The National Board is proud to announce a renewed partnership with Oregon Health Authority, which is a 5-year agreement to increase the likelihood of achieving the mission to increase certification numbers. OHA strives for maximum certification participation, while NBCMI is expanding to partner with larger institutions that have historically provided "in house" benchmarks to measure skill level. An added benefit is the National Board offers a customized approach to its partners to maximize efficiency, while simultaneously upholding the high standards the medical interpreting community continues to respect.

NBCMI provides comprehensive program guidelines and personalized program advising to assist each individual candidate reach their goal. There are two different testing modalities offered to increase program participation while still maintaining program integrity; the exams can be taken at a local testing center or online with a remote proctor.

As certification has expanded, the NB has also partnered with community health centers and organizations across the country to promote and support certification including: Comprehensive Community Health Centers (CA), Community Health Connection (OK), Novant Health (NC), Metrohealth and Cleveland Clinic (both in OH). We hope Health Authorities and organizations across the country will take this as a signal that NBCMI is open for business.

In the coming decade, the National Board is committed to expanding partnerships nationally and building new roads internationally, to strengthen the global presence. The goals include launching a new credential to expand the language base and provide high quality language access for those not yet represented in the CMI credential. As the CMI community continues to grow, so will the impact in closing the health care disparities gap.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all members for their continued support. The National Board is looking forward to another promising decade.

Casita Wild, NBCMI Operations Manager

Upcoming Events:

Friday, August 2 - Saturday August 3, 2019
NATI (Nebraska Association for Translators and Interpreters) 20th Annual Conference

Saturday, August 24, 2019
Language Services Managers' Symposium

Friday, September 13 - Saturday, September 14, 2019
TAHIT (Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators) 13th Annual Educational Symposium on Language Access

Saturday, September 14 - Sunday, September 15, 2019
OSTI 6th Annual Conference: “Bridges Across Borders”

Saturday, September 21 - Sunday, September 22, 2019
TAPIT Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators

Saturday, September 28, 2019
Arizona Translators and Interpreters - 2019 ATI Annual Conference

Friday, September 27 - Saturday, September 28, 2019
Orange County Department of Education Translators and Interpreters Conference

Saturday, September 28, 2019
OHCIA'S 7TH Annual Conference

Wednesday, October 23 - Saturday, October 26, 2019 ATA The 60th Annual Conference

Friday, November 1, 2019
2019 IMIA One-Day Regional Conference in Oregon

Regional Conference Celebrates Milestones

By Linda Joyce, M.S., CMI-Spanish

The IMIA Maryland Chapter hosted a great regional conference celebrating Ten Years of National Certification and the Year of Indigenous Languages on June 21, 2019 at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney, MD. Close to 100 interpreters were there from around the area and several states, including an interpreter and panelist who traveled a long distance - Yuka Lysiuk, the IMIA Chapter Chair from Hawaii!

Interpreters and other participants heard a series of presentations and panel discussion, and all were eager to discuss the issues facing interpreters today, while celebrating the past.

Evelin La Paz, National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters Director, headed up the speakers at the conference by going over the accomplishments of the National Board in continuing to expand the CMI program internationally and the plans to add the possibility for more interpreters to get certified beyond the six languages that the National Board now offers.

Linda Joyce, a former National Board Executive Director and now a medical interpreter at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta hospitals, gave the Keynote address, documenting how far we have come in the field of medical interpreting, including certification, and where we are headed. It will be important in the future to recruit new interpreters to the field, expand the number of certified interpreters, increase the standards for certification, and build the profession.

Dr. Izabel Souza, interpreter, educator, researcher and published author, led a group of interpreters to Washington, DC the day before the conference to lobby U.S. Congress representatives for recognition and reimbursement of interpreters, as well as to counter the proposed attacks on parts of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, that would affect language access for patients who need interpreters for their medical encounters. She also gave a presentation at the conference on reexamining a medical interpreters' role in the therapeutic encounter to ensure that meaningful communication occurs.

There were several other outstanding speakers and panelists who took up a variety of issues, including Chan Yi Hin, who is not only a Cantonese and Mandarin interpreter but also an ASL and Hong Kong sign language interpreter. Carmelina Cadena, a Q'anjob'al and Akateko interpreter and owner of Maya Interpreters, gave an informative session on interpreting for speakers of Mayan languages.

Kudos to the IMIA Maryland Chapter, and Kathy Howell, the IMIA Md. Chapter Chair, who did an outstanding job organizing and chairing the conference. Many volunteers helped make the conference a big success.

The conference ended with a reception celebrating the Year of Indigenous Languages.

Conferences Photos:

Linda Joyce Keynote speaker at 2019 IMIA Maryland One-day Regional Conference

1st CMI in Maryland: Maria Teresa Shuck and NBCMI Director Evelin La Paz

Linda Joyce, Evelin La Paz and Dr. Izabel Souza

Carmelina Cadena and the happy recipient of the NBCMI voucher at IMIA Maryland


"We want to thank everyone for the support and assistance you provided to us when we participated in the 1st Minnesota Conference on Meaningful Language Access. The conference was a huge success: there were close to 300 participants from Minnesota and even from other states.

We were able to share information about IMIA with so many interpreters and tell them about the benefits of becoming a member of IMIA! We are very confident that Minnesota IMIA chapter will grow even more after the conference!

It was so wonderful to have our dear colleagues from the NBCMI: dear Jazmin Manjarrez, the Chair of NBCMI and Ingrid Oseguera, the Director of NBCMI! Minnesota interpreters were able to learn from them firsthand about the National Certification of Medical Interpreters and we are hoping to see more certified medical interpreters in Minnesota thanks to their participation in this great event!"

Judith Custodio and Natalia Holen MN IMIA Chapter


By Gulnara Akbarova, CMI Russian, NBCMI Director

The keynote speaker of the Conference was Judy Jenner, a Spanish and German business and Legal translator, and a federally court-certified Spanish interpreter.

Judy's presentation "10 Habits of Highly Successful Translators" had a lot of useful information for people new in the industry and those who want to advance their career, also for interpreters and even people working in other fields. Judy is as funny as she is smart, but her confidence and positivity are contagious. My takeaway from her presentation was "educate, but be kind and don't be a finger-wagging translator."

For the first time the CATI Conference had a Speed-Networking Table, where individuals, organizations and companies could leave their resumes, brochures, business cards and a Book Swap, where participants could find resources to add to their home libraries and collections.

There were three sets of three breakout sessions in fields of translation, interpreting and business skills for the participants to choose:

  • "Sight Translation: Where Translation and Interpretation Meet" session was presented by Jeannette Houchens, Certified Medical Interpreter (CMI-Spanish), and a Certified Court Interpreter for South Carolina.
  • "Trauma Informed Interpreting: The TIMIS Study" presented by Lluís Baixauli-Olmos. TIMIS stands for Trauma Informed Mental Health Interpreting Services.
  • "A Conscious Approach to Healthcare Interpreting" was presented by Jeremy Palomo MBA, CoreCHI, AHEC educator. For the complete article please click here

More Conferences Photos:

Xiomara Armas, NBCMI Vice Chair at CHOA 2nd annual symposium

Dr. Nelva Lee Founder and CEO of MiTio and 1st Chair of the NBCMI at CHOA 2nd annual symposium

Utah Language Access Conference

Ingrid Oseguera NBCMI Director and former NBCMI Chair Carlos Martinez-Morales from ULAC 2019