ISSUE 4: October – December, 2020

Dear Stakeholders: Season Greetings!

As the NBCMI Directors and staff reflects on the year and makes plans for the next, I feel grateful to be entering my second year as Chair of the National Board. It's been an honor to serve this amazing community and I thank you for the part you have played on the front-line during the pandemic and all the subsequent events thus far. I would like to use this letter to share a brief reflection of the 2020 but more importantly, a vision for next year for the community we serve.

The year 2020 has been "tumultuous" to say the very least, changing paradigms in the world and making history. Particularly, during the first half of 2020, our nation found itself drawn into two crises; not only for the pandemic and its implications on the health of minorities, but also for the "matters of life and breath."

As front-line healthcare workers, interpreters were immediately involved in assisting LEP individuals, despite the lack of proper protective equipment, in distress by the idea of getting sick and infecting their families. The NBCMI teamed up with the IMIA to send a message to public health and Hospital officials calling for more PPE. As the crises unfolded, many hospitals and businesses shut down and reduced their services to a minimum and the interpreter's community was hit very hard. The IMIA responded immediately with the creation of the COVID-19 Task Force, and the NB joined the efforts.

The National Board transitioned to a robust online proctoring service and encouraged interpreters to continue with the certification process and staying safe. Interpreters were given the option to navigate through difficult times, take the next step in their careers, and grow professionally. We identified cybercriminals and advised the interpreter community to take precautions against unscrupulous sources looking to capitalize on the Covid-19 crisis; we took immediate measures raising the security of our website registry to protect our CMIs.

But we didn't stop there. By the end of May 2020, we launched the Hub-CMI program allowing all other languages beside those we certified, to get a credential from the NBCMI through a written exam. Many interpreters that had already passed the written exam and were waiting for an oral exam for their language got the immediate benefit of a credential. Many other interpreters responded with great enthusiasm for the opportunity to obtain a new credential.

We couldn't believe our eyes when the worst year on record for wildfires in California arrived, and extended to Oregon and Washington. Our hearts broke once more as tens of thousands of residents were under evacuation orders when more than 4 million acres burned. Once again, our interpreter heroes worked tirelessly as emergency responders.

In recognition and support of the heroic efforts put fourth by the interpreter community The National Board launched the 2020 scholarship opportunity to commend their bravery and resilience.

Resilience… certainly will be the word of the year for many of us. I don't want to end the year without thanking you for your constant support for our programs, especially in times when many hurdles needed to be overcome, and when we often wondered if it was even possible to do so. The collective effort once again proved to be the most powerful tool and encouraged us to take action and move forward to better support our healthcare system, and strengthen our interpreter and Limited English Proficient community.

"What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives have not even happened yet."...... Anne Frank

The NBCMI vision for 2021 is that we all experience a greater sense of purpose and passion through plans and projects that make a difference. Our mission is to support the medical interpreter's community and move from dreaming to realization through our programs. Our goal in 2021 is to help hundreds of interpreters advance and achieve prosperity through the CMI and Hub-CMI credentials.

The strategy is to keep working side by side with our community to guide and support them, because resiliency comes from not giving up, turning possibilities into intentions and then into actions to make worthwhile changes happen. The next twelve month represents more challenges and more opportunities. Remember: the best way to predict the future is to create it! And the NBCMI will be here for you ♥ Always!

Best wishes and Happy Holidays from the NBCMI Executives, Directors and Staff

Xiomara Armas

Xiomara Armas, CMI, BSBA

NBCMI 2020

Scholarship Program
Making a Difference in COVID Times:
Positive Experiences and Contributions as a Medical Interpreter

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives forever. Despite the multiple challenges faced by our Interpreter community they have responded as frontline heroes. To commend their bravery and resilience, the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) launched the Scholarship Program for 2020.

The deadline has come and gone but we could not be more pleased and energized by the level of response to the scholarship announcement. The number of applications submitted was extraordinary but only the lucky five (5) selected who submitted the best fit for the theme this year, will receive scholarships that include:

  • Registration
  • Written exam
  • Oral exam
  • NBCMI Badge

Winners will be announced on January 20th 2021

We thank you all who supported our efforts in get the word out about the scholarship. We are inspired by the commitment, resilience and compassion our interpreting community has shown throughout these trying times. The Board would also like to thank all who submitted their applications. Your words and stories of how you have made a difference during these pandemic times are awe inspiring. Your contributions to the response to COVID warrant accolades. And despite the fact that times are indeed hard, you have proclaimed and shown that interpreters can and do make a positive impact.

Virtual Happenings

Despite the pandemic, several groups and organizations were successful in transitioning from in-person, onsite conferences to online web conferences. And as always, the National Board was proud to sponsor learning and continuing education opportunities for our CMI's and support these innovators and we look forward to continue our support.

Here were some of the web conferences where the NBCMI was either present, was a sponsor, or presented.

Orange County Department of Education 4th Annual Interpreters and Translators Conference

While the NBCMI was not able to sponsor the event, our Secretary, Gustavo Negrete, attended the event and wrote.

"The Orange County Department of Education's Interpreters and Translators Conference was well organized. Natalia Abarca, the presenters and everyone who worked behind the scenes were amazing. The presenters were and are titans in their respective fields and were representative of the diverse fields of interpreting and translation; education, medical, conference, court, and federal. I look forward to attending next year."

2020 Arizona Translator and Interpreters (ATI) ANNUAL CONFERENCE VIRTUAL

The NBCMI were proud Platinum Sponsors of this event. CMI's had the opportunity to hear and learn from a who's who of giants in the interpreting and translation industry. The Board looks forward to continuing and strengthening our patronage of ATI.

Midwest Association of Interpreters and Translators (MATI)

This year's presenters, as we are sure in years past, was a powerhouse lineup of experts. This year, the NBCMI were one of several sponsors of the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters (MATI) Annual Conference. This is their 17th annual conference and it was an honor and a privilege for the Board to have, for the first time, sponsored this event. The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters looks forward to continue to sponsor MATI and other organizations who support interpreters and translators.

The 2020 Global Fluency Virtual Diversity and Inclusion Summit

Westbridge Solutions partnered with GUIDE, Inc. to present the 2020 Global Fluency Virtual Summit! The theme for this year's 2-Day Virtual Summit was "Inclusion, Allyship & Belonging: Building Community and Cultivating Corporate Culture." Maria Baker from IMIA wrote "Much food for thought…Congratulations on a great event!"

ATA61 Annual Virtual Conference

This year, the National Board got the opportunity to exhibit at the ATA's 61st Annual Conference. Our exhibitor was nonother than our illustrious Vicechair, Maggie Hong. Here is what Maggie had to say. "ATA 61st Conference was held on October 21-24. I was proud to be given this opportunity to attend the meeting on behalf of National Board. As usual, this is the most important meeting in translation and interpretation industry in the United States with the largest number of attendees. NB was very proud to be one of the exhibitors in this conference, to communicate with conference attendees, and address their questions virtually. This year's conference had great presentations on a wide range of topics and several virtual social networking events. How interpreters and translators are affected by the pandemic and what should we do to adapt during the pandemic and in the post-COVID 19 world was on everyone's mind and a hot topic for discussion. I personally was very encouraged to hear that many hospitals and healthcare groups are increasing awareness of the importance of medical interpretation certification. Even though they do not require their staff interpreters to be certified medical or certified healthcare interpreters when hired, they highly encourage staff interpreters to get certified on the job."

The Professional Association of Mississippi Interpreters and Translators (PAMIT) and the Interpreters and Translators Association of Alabama (ITAA)

FIRST Joint Conference

This first ever joint conference organized by the Professional Association of Mississippi Interpreters and Translators and the Interpreters and Translators Association of Alabama. The Board was honored and proud to be a sponsor of this joint conference and looks forward to next years. PAMIT and ITAA can count on the continued support of the National Board. Congratulations to both organizations on a successful event.

Our very own Secretary, Gustavo Negrete, was a panelist on a panel discussing the topic of "Meeting the Challenges of Language Access - 2021 and Beyond". Here are a few words from Gustavo on the conference. "By far the most engaging and thoughtful conference I have ever attended. From the keynote and through the entirety of the conference I was drawn in. Every conference I have ever attended accomplishes their goals; they are well organized, the presenters are well prepared, the topics are interesting and well worth the investment. But this conference was unique. Despite this being a virtual event, the feeling of community was palpable. Sharing the virtual space with spoken and signed language interpreters was amazing. It was an honor and a privilege to have shared the stage, so to speak, with my fellow panelists. All of them powerhouses in the industry and I got to be among them. The moderator did a spectacular job of moderating. I had an amazing time both as an attendee and a panelist and I can't wait for next years."

14th Annual TAHIT Educational Symposium on Language Access

"RESPONDING TO CHALLENGES IN PUBLIC HEALTH TODAY AND BEYOND: HEALTHCARE INTERPRETERS AND TRANSLATORS EDUCATING LEP COMMUNITIES". The NBCMI was a proud exhibitor at the TAHIT Educational Symposium on Language Access. Just like other organizations, TAHIT also switched their symposium to a virtual format. What is truly unique about the TAHIT Symposium is the technology they employed to deliver a spectacular symposium. Our very own Secretary, Gustavo Negrete, was the exhibitor at this two-day event and here is what he had to say. "Two words, augmented reality. The setup of this symposium was very elegant. To my knowledge, this is the first time any organizer has ever employed this type of technology in a conference for interpreters and translators. From the main hall, the presenter's hall, networking lounge, exhibitor's hall, everything was just very well laid out and easy to navigate. The use of AR allowed for exhibitors to set up their virtual booths and customize them. It was impressive. For the attendees, there was a virtual lobby, a schedule of events to choose from that was like a marquee and you could visit the exhibitor booths at any time. The breakout sessions were precise and there was plenty of networking time. The organizers were so supportive of the exhibitors and sponsors during the event, making sure that traffic was driven to our booths and would check in to make sure we were not experiencing technical difficulties. It's the level of attention to detail that made the event."

CAPI Colorado Association of Professional Interpreters

The National Board was proud to be a sponsor of this event. We hope to foster further and future collaboration with the Colorado Association of Professional Interpreters (CAPI). Our very own Rockstar, Director, Ana Catalina Jones, presented our certification program including our HUB-CMI program. Here is what she had this to say about the event.

"I presented on the certification program overview, and it being my first virtual conference since the pandemic, I thought everything was very well organized to be user friendly towards the attendee.

There were close to 12 attendees in my presentation, and everything was manageable through Zoom. Several of the organizers were present to answer any questions, be available for the presenter for technical issues and troubleshooting, and explain the rest of the activities.

Something that I loved about this conference is that we had a few CMIs and also other interpreters certified by CCHI, but when attendees would ask about the difference between the two, we moved past the differences and focus on our main goal: to get more interpreters certified for exceptional patient outcomes, and they all highlighted how vital certification is, which was nice to see any potential tensions dissipate."

IEO Second Conference

This year, the Board had the honor of being Silver Sponsors of the second Interpreter Education Online International Conference 2020 Winter Edition. The theme, "Language Access and the New Reality. IEO can count on the National Board for continued support.

Our very own superstar, Director, Gulya Shigabutdinova, was in attendance. Here is what she had to say.

"2020 presented the entire world with unforeseen challenges: an unprecedented healthcare crisis, mass unemployment, ubiquitous remote work and education, and more. These challenges were precipitated by a horrible series of events and poor decisions. But is there anything that happened this year that we might benefit and grow from? This idea was the focus of the IEO Conference that took place on December 3rd and 4th. A group of talented panelists that included language, healthcare, and legal professionals shared their insight on how to adjust to the transforming landscape of 2020, and discussed new opportunities that have opened up even as so many old ones were lost.

The most important shift that so many of us have experienced: going remote. Most interpreters have had to adjust to new circumstances and provide their services remotely. But not to worry- there are some great opportunities out there. For one thing, interpreters now can now go global; since providers now use remote interpreting services regardless, for many of them there is no difference if they employ local interpreters or those who live abroad.

Interpreters will need to embrace the new reality and develop important new skills such as Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (RSI) in order to stay competitive. On-site interpretation will be back, but remote interpretation- specifically VRI- is here to stay. In that light, the most common advice offered throughout the conference was: regroup, get good noise-canceling headphones, get familiar with various VRI platforms, and get comfortable in front of the camera- because starting now, interpreters are going to be a lot more visible, and the sky's the limit!"

Heartwarming Articles

Five-Year-Old Girl Makes Festive Hampers for Children In Hospital Over Christmas

"A five year old girl has decided to give out a little Christmas love this year by putting together some hampers for kids who are going to be in hospital over the holidays."

Local nurses collecting toys for orphans in Juarez

"For the seventh year in a row, Operation 2540 has been collecting toys and non-perishables to give an unforgettable Christmas to orphans in Juarez. Elijah Molinar, president and founder of Operation 2540, said they had to adapt this year but they never thought about stopping the action."


"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future."

Agnes M. Pahro