Board of Directors

Meet our NOTIS Officers and Directors: January-December 2020 contact the board    | See the 2021 slate

Chair, Translation Division

Shelley Fairweather-Vega Shelley is an ATA-certified Russian to English translator and an enthusiastic Uzbek to English translator. She now lives in Seattle, but also has roots in Oregon and Idaho. Shelley holds a B.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University and an M.A. in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington. Her interest in international affairs and politics – plus a passion for puzzles – led her to translation, a career that makes a vital contribution to how people can share experiences, solve problems, and create art across linguistic and cultural borders. After working for libraries, the Peace Corps, and the U.S. Department of Justice while translating on the side, Shelley switched to full-time freelancing in 2012. Her translation clients are attorneys, academics, authors and activists around the world. She runs FairVega Translations and its sister company, FairVega Russian Library Services, which helps public libraries build and improve their Russian-language collections. Shelley is also a member of the American Literary Translators Association.

Vice President

Lindsay Bentsen is a French to English Translator and Interpreter. Originally from Montesano, WA, she has since lived and worked in five different countries. After receiving her BA in French, Anthropology, and Global Studies, she spent several years abroad, mostly in France and Morocco. Upon her return to the United States, she earned her MA in Translation & Interpretation at the Monterey Institute of International studies. The majority of her translation work is in the pharmaceutical and medical field. As an interpreter, her work is varied, and includes medical, conference, and liaison interpreting. She is a contract interpreter for the Department of State, which allows her to travel and meet new people—two of her favorite activities.

Acting Secretary

Laura Friend is an ATA-certified Russian and French to English translator specializing in legal translation. She is originally from the Washington, D.C. area and has traveled widely. She attended elementary school in Paris, France for two years and has studied, worked and lived in Russia (back in the USSR), Spain and Germany. Later she taught Russian as an adjunct professor and a teaching assistant at Georgetown University and the University of Washington. Her other languages include Czech, Spanish and German. Laura holds degrees in Russian language, culture and area studies from Yale University, the University of Washington and Middlebury College, as well as certificates from the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute and Leningrad State University. She has lived in the Puget Sound area for over twenty years, first in Seattle and now on the Kitsap Peninsula. In 2017 Laura chaired the ATA Slavic Languages Division Nominating Committee. She has interpreted informally for food banks, churches and hospitals; she is also a former Red Cross volunteer. She loves nature, music, film and reading. Her favorite cult film director is Guillermo del Toro.


Melody Winkle  is an ATA-certified German to English translator. A Washington State native, she has been in Seattle for many years, after several years in Alaska and Berlin. She came to translation after a career in libraries and technology, having worked in higher education, small businesses, non-profits, and as a co-owner of a technology workers co-op. Melody finds translation to be a great fit with her interests in languages, research, and technology. She focuses on marketing, medical and literary translation, and has branched out into subtitling. She enjoys reading, hiking, and gardening.

Chair, Legal Division

Luisa Gracia Camón is a Spanish Certified Court interpreter and the Program Lead and Interpreter Coordinator for Seattle Municipal Court. She holds a Degree in Translation and Interpretation (English and French) from Spain. Luisa is an Official Translator and Interpreter for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain and she worked at the Legal Unit of the European Commission Translation Service. Luisa is a member of the Washington Supreme Court Interpreter Commission. She has been a language instructor for more than a decade, and now teaches Advanced Translation and Interpreting Skills at Bellevue College. She has recently developed Washington state's first court interpreter mentoring program to train novice interpreters. She serves as the Chair of the Legal Division, Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS). She loves travelling and meeting with family and friends.

Olga Cuzmanov is a Professional Engineer (PE) licensed by the Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors in Idaho, USA with more than 20 years of engineering experience. Born and raised in Romania, she earned her Master of Science in Thermo-Energetic Systems from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest – Power Engineering Faculty. She moved to the United States in 1990 and worked as an engineer in the business and government sectors. Since 2013, as owner of ENRO Translations, she has provided translation services between English and Romanian or Moldavian languages and specializes in technical translations. She is currently an associate member of ATA (American Translations Association) and the ATA Science and Technology Division. A member of ISPE (Idaho Society of Professional Engineers), she passionately promotes careers in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) fields for girls and women. She enjoys traveling, driving her blue Jeep, reading literature in both English and Romanian and learning about artificial intelligence.

Maria Farmer was born to a Mexican mother and American father in Caracas, Venezuela.  Her father was a U.S. diplomat whose postings in México, Colombia, Spain and Perú provided María with a tremendous opportunity to cement two languages into her brain. She worked two years in the hospitality industry and three in the cruise ship industry. After moving to Washington, she worked as the language liaison for a timeshare company with a large owner base located in México.  She also developed an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) course which she marketed to the Kimpton Group hotels and the Mayflower Park Hotel, as she wished to make English more accessible to the housekeeping and kitchen employees.  María has a WA State Court Interpreter Certification. When María isn’t looking for places where she can interpret, she is being supportive mom to twin 13-yr. old sons.  She wishes she could still run marathons (but her knees say ‘no’), loves feeding her friends and family home-baked goods, taking photographs of anything and everything in nature, hearing owls in the night, looking at Hubble Space Telescope photographs, treehouses, and watching movies.

Adriana González is an English-Spanish interpreter from Guadalajara, Mexico. Before immigrating to the United States in the year 2004, she advanced her language skills by participating in advanced English classes in different institutions, including Proulex from the Universidad de Guadalajara. Before becoming an interpreter, Adriana spent half a decade in the banking industry. In 2017 she became a Washington State Department of Social and Health Services certified medical interpreter and completed the Bellevue College Certified Interpreter Program.  When not interpreting, Adriana enjoys making art projects with her children, being outdoors and spending time with friends and family.

Pinar Mertan was born in Ankara, Turkey and started learning English in school there. She studied law at Istanbul University and dedicated her summers to improving her English by attending language schools in England and the US. She worked as a legal counsel for the Siemens legal department in Istanbul, then became a sworn interpreter and translated documents from English to Turkish and vice versa. In 2000 she moved to Redwood City, California, and then to Issaquah, Washington in 2007. She became a certified medical interpreter and a registered court interpreter in 2017, one of only a few certified Turkish interpreters in Washington state. Pinar has two children and she loves reading, biking, swimming, skiing, traveling, gathering with friends, organizing events and cooking. She visits her parents, relatives and friends in Turkey every year.

Yasemin Alptekin is a native speaker of Turkish with years of experience in simultaneous translation between English and Turkish, specializing in legal, medical and educational interpretation/translation as well as literary. She has an academic interest in translation theory and also translates literary and technical texts. Yasemin has been involved in translation and interpretation work since she started learning English as a second language at Robert High School in Istanbul, Turkey, where she started a “Translation Club” to understand the cultural nuances between the source and target languages to build strong bridges of communication. She later studied linguistics, literary translation theory and techniques while pursuing a BA in Western Languages and Literature at Bosphorus University in Turkey. After coming to the US for her graduate studies, she was hired by a the Turkish Education Project funded by World Bank. She served as a liaison and interpreter for the Turkish delegations visiting the US, and helping the administrators as a translator/interpreter for three years and as a Program Director later for another three years. Yasemin recently completed all the requirements to become a Registered Court Interpreter in Turkish. 

Maria Lucas is an ATA-certified English to Spanish translator and a federally certified court interpreter, who is also certified by the states of California and Washington.  She was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain and attended Universitat de Barcelona where she obtained a B.A. in Romance Languages Philology and was awarded an Erasmus scholarship to Università degli Studi della Basilicata, in Potenza, Italy. She also completed an M.A. in Spanish at the University of California Los Angeles. She is a native speaker of Catalan as well and fluent in Italian and German. She is currently working as a freelance interpreter and translator in the Seattle area. Before moving to Seattle, she lived in Italy, Scotland, Germany, China and California and traveling around the world was her passion. She met her husband in La Paz, Bolivia during one of those trips and the rest is history. Ever since her two kids came along, spending time with her family and exploring the U.S. have been her favorite activities.

Office Manager

Naomi Uchida has been the Office Manager, membership director, and workshop coordinator of NOTIS since February 2013, responsible for managing the administrative activities of the society. Naomi is originally from Kobe, Japan, and she has worked in management and administration in the US. Before starting at NOTIS, she worked for seven years at a wholesale textile company in Seattle after graduating from Bellevue College. She has completed the translation and interpretation certificate programs at the Translation & Interpretation Institute in Bellevue, Washington, and she has been a freelance translator from English into Japanese since 2007.

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