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Spring 2024 Newsletter 🌱

A note from Kay Heikkinen, NOTIS Publications Chair

Happy spring, everyone! I can’t guess what the weather will be like as you read, but as I write, we have abundant, beautiful flowers under equally abundant rain clouds. The chilly days remind me of a spring a few years ago, when I was utterly lost in Chicago, trying to find my way home from taking my late husband’s Egyptian family to visit his grave. I was despairing, but my brother-in-law—not a literary scholar but an electrical engineer—suddenly began reciting lines from a ninth-century Syrian poet:

          Spring has come to you, strutting free,
               laughing in beauty, speaking nearly,

                    while in pre-dawn dark, there came Nowruz*
                         to waken yesterday’s sleeping blooms.

I don’t think the sun came out, but things became a little easier, and we found our way home.

Rain or shine, NOTIS has interesting and exciting events coming your way in the near future! To begin with, please mark your calendars for our annual Summer Picnic, scheduled for Saturday, August 3, at Lincoln Park, and of course for our Annual Conference, #NOTIS2024, which will be held Saturday, September 14, at the Lynnwood Event Center. For now, please scroll down for a list of upcoming NOTIS events. We’ve got a little something for everyone! 

In this issue of NOTIS News Quarterly, you’ll find: 

  • photos from recent events;
  • good news about a recent donation to NOTIS, to help medical interpreters with certification exams;
  • a vignette, a poem, and a translation, from two of our members;
  • news from the board;
  • upcoming NOTIS events; 
  • and more... 

Happy reading, and to all, again, a happy spring!

Nowruz, celebrated on the first day of spring, marks the beginning of the Persian New Year.

Recent NOTIS sightings 👀

Northwest Literary Translators and friends — Lola, Melody, Knox, Kate, Wendy, Dominique, and Shelley — gather for a photo after their March event at Folio Seattle: a Poetry Translation Workshop led by Wendy Call. “Everybody smile and say ‘Criticism!’”  📷 by Kay Heikkinen

Rosemary Nguyen (L), NOTIS Treasurer, and Maria Lucas (R), NOTIS Vice President, at the American Bar Association (ABA) Conference on Language Justice and Technology. Together with Christina Woelz, they spent the weekend representing NOTIS and distributing leaflets to promote our Ethics Panel

NOTIS Board Member Howard Chou poses with a very good comfort pup during their volunteer shifts at the Seattle King County Clinic, a free medical, dental, and vision clinic held annually at the Seattle Center. Howard has been volunteering as a Mandarin/Cantonese interpreter at SKCC for over 5 years now.  

A note of gratitude from the Seattle/King County Clinic Team to all who volunteered their time at this year’s event. To learn more about the clinic, held annually at the Seattle Center, visit: https://seattlecenter.org/skcclinic/

ATTN: Medical Interpreters 💸

NOTIS is excited to announce a new program to reimburse up to $205.00 in exam registration fees for medical interpreting students who have completed training and are ready to take the CCHI or NBCMI exam. This opportunity has been provided by an anonymous donor and is being administered through NOTIS.

If you, or someone you know, is planning to take the CCHI or NBCMI exam and would like reimbursement of your registration fees, please contact NOTIS Treasurer Rosemary Nguyen at treasurer@notisnet.org for more details about this one-time opportunity. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds run out.

PAIN: About the Poem

In the summer of 2021, I wrote this poem titled “Dolor” in Spanish during a mental health interpretation break at a psychiatric hospital in California. Due to safety reasons, cellphones and other personal belongings were not allowed for visitors or contractors. I was given access to a locker and was only allowed to bring my main work tools, a pen, and a notebook.

Although I always strive to provide a smooth interpretation, medical interpreting has its challenges on an emotional level. Seeing pain and human suffering touches me to the core. I do deliver good news when interpreting for providers, but, most often, the news is difficult (i.e., cancer diagnoses, goals of care for end of life, sudden and expected death at intensive care and ER units).

Creativity is one way I practice self-care. What is your main way to practice self-care? —Romina Espinosa


Hay mucho dolor en el mundo.
Enfermedades mentales,
enfermedades físicas. 
Algunas no se ven...
Muchos juzgan, se burlan. 
Critican sin saber.
El dolor existe,
necesitamos aprender
el significado de la palabra

Romina Espinosa


So much pain in this world.
Physical illness,
mental illness.
Illnesses unseen...
So many jokes, so much teasing.
Criticizing without knowing.
Pain exists,
we need to learn
the meaning of the word

Translation by Jasmine Prézeau

Romina Espinosa (Lima, Peru) is a Spanish<>English interpreter, translator, and creative writer based in San Diego, California. She works as an in-house medical interpreter at UC San Diego Health. As the owner of a small business, Espinosa Interpreting, Ms. Espinosa has been offering language access services for direct clients and boutique language agencies since 2017. Romina holds a BA in International Studies, a Certificate in Translation and Interpretation (Spanish/English) from UC San Diego, and an MA in Gender and Diversity Studies from University of Oviedo, Spain. In the US, she is a certified Spanish medical interpreter through the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI). In 2023, Romina was elected Treasurer of the OSTI (Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters) Board. In her spare time, Romina (a five-time marathoner) enjoys nature runs, selecting fresh produce for a new recipe, and painting with acrylics.

Jasmine Prézeau, in her own words: “Like Romina, I am a fellow linguist – translator, interpreter, editor. It was an honor to translate and ‘interpret’ her poem. A native New Yorker, and the child of immigrants from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, I feel that being the product of two cultures and being born into a third has set the stage for a lifetime of exploring the world, bridging cultures, and connecting the dots.”

Warm Welcomes:
Meet Our New Board Members

Eunyoung Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea. She has been working as a conference interpreter and WA Court Certified Interpreter in the Korean language since 2011. Along with interpreting for all types of legal and conference settings, she has conducted training sessions for prospective court interpreters for the court certification exams. Emerging technology is an area of focus in her interpreting, and she enjoys the challenge of working with complex technical topics. Eunyoung holds a BA in English Language and Literature from Sungshin Women's University in South Korea and an MBA from the University of Washington with a focus on International business and eCommerce. Her early career was in international commerce and, during that time, she lived and worked in Hong Kong and Germany while traveling extensively. Currently she is a Court Interpreter Program Coordinator for the WA Administrative Office of the Courts. Eunyoung enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her family. She loves anything outdoors in the PNW and finds equanimity and peace in walking her dog, running, and hiking.

Dubravka Martincic is a Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian medical and legal interpreter and a translator of personal legal documents. She holds certifications by DSHS and WA State Courts as well as an MA in Teaching English and German Languages and Literature from Croatia. Dubravka’s interpreting career began in Nashville, Tennessee, at Vanderbilt University Hospital, when she was asked to assist with interpreting for Bosnian refugees. Around that time the war in Bosnia brought an influx of refugees to Kentucky and Tennessee, putting interpreting services in high demand. At the same time, a couple of professional, federally certified interpreters started an association called TAPIT (the Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators). Dubravka worked closely with the founders of TAPIT, learning invaluable skills, building her freelancing business, and eventually serving as the Association’s president from 2005-2006. In 2006, she moved to Washington State, where she currently lives and works. Dubravka is an avid gardener, cook, and yogini.

Fond Fare-thee-wells 👋

In January of 2024, we said “See you around!” to three esteemed members of our all-volunteer Board of Directors: Katerina Warns, Yasemin Alptekin, and Deirdre Ruth-Murano. We’re so grateful for the important work each of them has done — and continues to do — for NOTIS and the broader community. We look forward to seeing what they do next, and we hope to see them again soon. Three cheers for Katya, Yasemin, and Deirdre! 🎉 🎉 🎉

Below, they reflect on their time at NOTIS, their experiences in the industry, and what lies ahead... 

Katerina Warns

I greatly enjoyed my two years as a NOTIS Board member. What a friendly and supportive group of people who work selflessly for the good of our membership! It was a lot of firsts for me: being a Director of any Board, hosting a hybrid board meeting at my house, writing articles for the Northwest Linguist and NOTIS News Quarterly, helping organize a webinar and various social events, performing a solo dance at the holiday party… If you are an introvert (like some of us translators), joining the NOTIS Board or one of its committees is the best cure! I have now moved to “Friends of the Board” status, which I hope is a lifetime title, and will be applying this newly acquired courage to other aspects of my volunteer life.

Yasemin Alptekin

NOTIS has offered me a wealth of opportunities for professional growth. Be it through networking with other members, participating in trainings and conferences, or serving as a NOTIS Board Member, the past three years have been extremely rewarding for me. I find the volunteer spirit of the Board Members impressive and amazing, with hours of dedication spent organizing events and training programs designed to serve our members at the highest level of professionalism.

I have enjoyed writing for the NOTIS Newsletter and partying with my fellow interpreters at picnics and year-end gatherings. My tenure as a Board Member also gave me an opportunity to find ways of giving back to my peers in T&I via grants and awards, and I enjoyed adapting our grants program (formerly “scholarships”) for major conference attendance. For several years, I also served as Secretary, taking notes at Board meetings and providing the minutes.

At NOTIS, I have made life-long friends, and I gained more confidence in my professional standing. Connecting with such dedicated interpreters and translators from other languages and cultures has been especially rewarding. NOTIS will be my professional home for as long as I serve as an interpreter and translator, and I plan to maintain my friendship with such a distinguished group of people.

I would encourage other NOTIS members to get involved in any way they can. By volunteering at events and participating in trainings, you become an informed member of the policies and changes in the fields of interpreting and translation.

Deirdre Murano

This year marks my 30th year as a court interpreter. I still love it: thinking fast, watching the law at work, hearing stories, learning-learning-learning. It’s a treasure trove of interesting details, and—let’s face it—drama.

Serving on the NOTIS Board was another fun part of the job. It was a joy collaborating with colleagues in other language fields and other languages on behalf of the profession. I would still be on the Board were it not for the climate crisis requiring more of my time. I remain active on the Ethics Panel (send your questions to ethics@notisnet.org!). I am also on the Advocacy Committee, which is working hard to ensure that RCW 2.43.030 is upheld by the courts. Courts continue to hire uncredentialed interpreters in the many languages for which credentials are available, despite the unequivocal language of the RCW. If you would like to know how you can contribute to this effort, contact the Advocacy Committee through NOTIS (info@notisnet.org). Together we can—and we have—improved working conditions for ourselves and our colleagues. 

Want to earn continuing education credits on your schedule? NOTIS offers a variety of on-demand courses as wellTo learn more about our in-person, online, and on-demand events, click the button below. NOTE: The top TEN listings are on demand 😮 

Visit the NOTIS Events Calendar

Also of Note 🗒️ 

Have something to share? A call for submissions or proposals? A recent publication? An upcoming event or scholarship? Something else of note? Submit your updates to social@notisnet.org!

  • #ATA65, the Annual ATA Conference, is coming this fall to the PNW! For details on this year’s event — in Portland, Oregon — visit atanet.org/ata-events/annual-conference/.
  • Bilingual (SP<>EN) volunteers needed for intake and interpreting at the Free Legal Clinics held by El Centro de la Raza, the Latino/a Bar Association of Washington, and the King County Bar Association. These clinics take place in Seattle on the third Wednesday of every month, now through November. Learn more and sign up here
  • Call for #NOTIS2024 Sponsors! NOTIS is seeking sponsors for their 2024 Annual Conference (Sept. 14 in Lynnwood, WA). To read about this year’s sponsorship opportunities and learn how you can promote your organization’s brand at #NOTIS2024, click here
  • NOTIS is extremely grateful for your participation in our Member Satisfaction Survey. We received tons of valuable feedback, and we’ll share more with you soon. For now, please join us in congratulating our raffle winners: long-time NOTIS members Diana Arbiser and Edmundo de la Garza 🎊 
  • Alf Mabrouk to NW Literary Translator and NOTIS Board Member Kay Heikkinen on the publication, in her Arabic-English translation, of Before the Queen Falls Asleep, by Palestinian author Huzama Habayeb.
  • A resounding round of applause for Mia Spangenberg: winner of the 2023 ASF Nadia Christensen Translation Prize for her translation excerpt (Finnish to English) of Pirkko Saisio’s Pienin yhteinen jaettava (The Lowest Common Denominator). Click here to read the full announcement from the American Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) . 
  • Three cheers for Wendy Call! We’ve hardly cracked spring, and she’s already celebrated three publications: How to Be a Good Savage and Other Poems, written by Mikeas Sánchez and co-translated from Zoque and Spanish by Call and Shook; Nostalgia Doesn't Flow Away Like Riverwater, by Irma Pineda, translated from Isthmus Zapotec and Spanish; and Best Literary Translations 2024 (an anthology), with guest editor Jane Hirshfield and series coeditors W. Call et al. 
  • Congratulazioni to Zakiya Hanafi: winner of the MLA’s 2023 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Scholarly Study of Literature for her translation of Guido Mazzoni’s On Modern Poetry. Follow this link to read the MLA’s glowing review of Hanafi’s translation, and stay tuned to the NW Linguist Blog for more... 
  • Attention Persian-English poetry translators! The submission deadline for the Mo Habib Translation Prize for Persian Poetry has been extended to May 1, 2024. Read more about the prize here
  • Call for Proposals! NOTIS is seeking presentation proposals for their Annual Conference, #NOTIS2024, on Saturday, September 14, in Lynnwood, Washington. Click the image below for details. 

Thank you for reading the spring 2024 issue of NOTIS News Quarterly! Questions about the content? Want to submit something for our blog or newsletter? Interested in advertising with us?

If you’ve thought “yes!” while reading any of the above questions, consider contacting the NOTIS Publications Committee at social@notisnet.org. We look forward to corresponding with you! 


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