Translators and interpreters connect at ATA 63rd Annual Conference (ATA63)

OUr Board of Directors

Meet our NOTIS Officers and Directors: January-December 2022 CONTACT THE BOARD Email the Board   


Vice President

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.

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.


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. 


Rosemary Nguyen is a native speaker of English who learned Vietnamese while working for four years with Vietnamese refugees in Hong Kong and later living, studying, and teaching in Vietnam for two. She began working as a medical interpreter in 1990, earning her DSHS certification in 1993 and her AOC court certification in 1994. In addition to her work as a full-time contract interpreter and translator, Rosemary has participated in designing and rating certification exams as well as teaching interpretation and translation skills. She has translated one novel and two books of short stories, all of which have been published. Rosemary currently lives in Renton, Washington and splits her time fairly evenly between interpreting for local courts and translating for clients nationwide.

Zakiya Hanafi, PhD, Stanford ’91, is a DSHS-certified medical interpreter (Italian); a linguistic quality reviewer and translator for the medical devices industry (French and Italian); and an Italian and French to English translator specializing in the humanities. Drawing on her scholarly background as an Assistant Professor of Romance Languages in the 1990s, in addition to her own research on the scientific revolution, she has published over a dozen translated books with various academic presses. Since 2012, as an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Human-Centered Design and Engineering, she has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in technical communication and cross-cultural design at the University of Washington. Born and raised in Canada, she makes frequent cross-border trips to visit family up north. She is also an avid cat and gardening enthusiast.

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.

Tarja Sahlstén is a native speaker of Finland. She has always loved languages and knew already as a little girl that she wanted to be a translator. She studied English, German, and Italian for three years in Turin, Italy, and then went for an M.A. in Translation Studies at the University of Turku (Finland). Tarja translates from English, German, and Italian into Finnish. She has been an audio-visual translator and subtitler, working for multiple clients for more than 20 years. She has also translated some books and comics into Finnish. After moving to Seattle in 2016, Tarja began working as a Localization Specialist. She has always been an active member of the translation community, serving on the board of the Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters and traveling the globe to attend international conferences. She loves to travel and explore the world.

Yoseph Petros, a first-generation immigrant from Ethiopia, has been living in the United States since 1983. He completed his second degree in Human Resources from the University of Pittsburgh in 1985. His work experience includes teaching; Assistant General Manager and Curriculum Development (Tourism Training Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia); Senior Social Worker (New York); Production Line Supervisor (Cardiac Pacemakers, St. Paul, MN); Ministry (here in Seattle); and last—but definitely not least—interpreting and translating since 2003. Born on the border between Ethiopia and Kenya, Yoseph grew up surrounded by more than 7 languages. He has lived in and visited Ethiopia, Kenya, Botswana, Germany, Canada (visit only), and, since 1983, the U.S. He has spent time in many cultures, among many different peoples, and he enjoys interacting with people of varying experiences. He used to love traveling, but not anymore; he is now settled­ (“if that means anything”). Today, Yoseph hopes to continue improving his interpreting and translating skills and is excited to work with NOTIS—where he expects to help the career/trade grow.

Katerina Warns is a native of Novosibirsk, Russia where she began her career as a technical translator for a major Siberian geological research institute before moving to the United States in 1992. She lives in Poulsbo, Washington, on the Kitsap Peninsula, and works as a freelance translator, editor, and interpreter. She loves her profession, and she believes that bridging linguistic and cultural gaps helps companies succeed in the global marketplace while allowing individuals to gain self-confidence and trust. Katerina has been certified as an English to Russian translator by the ATA since 2001, and she is also certified by the State of Washington as a medical interpreter and translator. Her favorite assignments over the last few years have been reviewing translations for the U.S. State Department’s Russian language website, translating and recording children’s books for the Unite for Literacy Project for beginning readers worldwide, and - most recently - being a part of the King County COVID Language Access team. She loves theatre, both as a spectator and a former volunteer. Her newly discovered passion is hiking the beautiful trails in the Puget Sound area. Her favorite quote is from Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Yvonne Simpson is certified as a Spanish Medical interpreter by the National Board (NBCMI) and Washington DSHS. She holds an MA in Spanish Sociolinguistics from Arizona State University. She taught Spanish at ASU and Phoenix College and was Lead Interpreter at a level 1 trauma center in Phoenix. Returning to her native Washington, she knew she wanted to work at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and she is now Director of Interpreter Services at that facility. There, she supports a team of interpreters, translators, and cultural mediators providing language access and culturally humble healthcare. Yvonne began participating with NOTIS in 2017 as a trainer for Community Interpreter Division workshops. Her favorite time of year is the summer when you can find her gardening, hiking, traveling, and swinging in her hammock. 

Deirdre Ruth Murano has been a Washington Court-Certified Spanish interpreter since 1994, when she started working in King County courts. Before that, she taught some of the first Spanish classes to be offered at Lakeside Upper School. Deirdre was born in Seattle, has a BA in French from Swarthmore College, and has lived in France and Central America. In addition to studying terminology and grammar, she enjoys history, politics (!), film, theater, her dog, her family, and reading.

Our staff membeRS

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 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 has been a freelance translator from English into Japanese since 2007. She enjoys morning runs while admiring the beauty of nature.

Marketing & Communications Specialist 

Brianna Salinas considers herself a lifelong student of language. She grew up between Washington State and Arizona and later lived and studied abroad in both Germany and Spain. In Spain, she found community with other artists and linguists and began taking on translation and subtitling projects—immediately cultivating a love for translation. She has a B.A. in English Literature, and she recently obtained her M.A. in Hispanic Literary Studies (both from the University of Washington). While completing the latter, she co-led a Translation Studies group on campus for which she organized readings, workshops, and speaking events. In addition to her work with NOTIS, Brianna serves on the Advisory Board for the UW’s faculty-led Translation Studies Hub. She recently translated a selection of Argentinian sonnets by Alfonsina Storni and a book written by a Mexican-American poet in collaboration with other members of his largely immigrant farming community. In the near future, Brianna plans to pursue a second graduate degree in translation studies. When away from her desk, Brianna enjoys reading in parks, climbing mountains, exploring small towns and other in-between places, riding her bike, shooting film, and playing with dogs.

Video Assistant

Juan Pablo Piedrahita was born in Medellín, Colombia and moved to Seattle in 1999. This experience and his constant connection with these two cultures gives him a unique experience that is both bilingual and bicultural, and it's connected to an expanding cultural and linguistic worldview thanks to his love of travel. In Seattle he attended college to earn his first degree in Audio Production, and in 2009 following a career in tech which unexpectedly ended up focusing on localization, he went back to school to hone his writing and language skills by taking Creative Writing and Advanced Translation courses. This has all coincided with a nine-year career in language interpreting along with translation from English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English since 2019. Juan Pablo is an advocate for immigrant rights and provides volunteer interpreting and translation work for The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the King County Bar Association. When he's not behind a computer clacking away, he's making ambient music in front of another screen, going on rock climbing and camping trips, and attending local cultural events.

Video Assistant

Amine El Fajri is a Court and Medical Certified Arabic/French Interpreter, translator, and instructor. He has over 15 years of experience specializing in law, medical interpreting, and translation. He is also the owner of Utah International Services, a company that provides accurate training for certified and aspiring court and medical interpreters. In addition to the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters (NAJIT), he is a voting member in the American Translators Association (ATA) and a board member of the Utah Translators and Interpreters Association (UTIA).

Video Assistant

Yuka Matsudaira is a Japanese Language Conference Interpreter, Washington State Court Registered Japanese Interpreter, and an English to Japanese Translator. She holds a Master’s Degree in Conference Interpretation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. Yuka was born and raised in Japan, where she worked as an in-house and freelance interpreter/translator for many businesses—including IT companies, law firms, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and TV stations. After moving to Seattle in 2002, Yuka has been interpreting and translating for more diversified clientele. Her current specialties include law, IT, marketing, engineering, energy, education, entertainment and more. As a Washington State Court Interpreter, she interprets for local courts and law firms on a regular basis.

Marketing Intern

Gabriel Sepulveda is a senior year student of the Bachelor's in Digital Marketing program at Bellevue College. He is currently participating in an internship at NOTIS, helping with their online marketing as he completes his capstone project with their organization. Gabriel was introduced to NOTIS through his father who is a Spanish interpreter/translator and a member of NOTIS. After graduation, he plans to continue his studies in Web Application Development with a second bachelor’s degree. His long-term vision is to continue his entrepreneurial endeavors with the goal of one day owning one or more businesses. During his free time, he enjoys learning and thinking about philosophy, science, physics, and entrepreneurship.

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