Interpreter Community

CWCIA was present at InterpretAmerica’s 5th Summit held June 12‐13, 2015 at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, California.

   IA5 Summit    

 Approximately 125 attendees from all over the country visited CWCIA’s booth, speaking with President Gilbert Calhoun, and learning more about the association’s work. Board member Robert Duran and his wife Yolanda, were on hand to field questions about the Poster, which showcased CWCIA’s accomplishments and highlighted its goals. The booth and Poster were in the same hall alongside those of other industry leaders such as the American Translator’s Association (ATA), the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI), and the California Healthcare Interpreters Association (CHIA).

Lorena Ortiz Schneider, board member and IP&O member was one of 7 speakers presenting the Interpret-ED talk “Interpreter Pay & Working Conditions: Who is in Control?” The 15-minute talk was meant to stimulate thought about the wisdom of working for the large conglomerates offering interpreting as just another item in their bundled services. It was well received, and even tweeted about as a topic of great concern industry wide.
All plenary sessions and talks were live video streamed by VoiceBoxer, and viewed by an additional 80 people remotely.
CWCIA’s attendance was very well received, and many expressed delight that we were there. Others didn’t know who we were, so it was a great opportunity to get on the industry map. Though the conference was small, it was attended by leaders of the interpreting industry nationwide who tirelessly work towards bringing all sectors together for a common goal: to have a voice in shaping our profession.
InterpretAmerica collaborates with GALA, and will hold a conference, Think! Interpreting, in New York from March 20‐23, 2016 and the InterpretAmerica Summit will be back in California in the spring of 2017.

CWCIA was invited by the California Federation of Interpreters (CFI) to present at their annual conference in 2014, which was held in Los Angeles and was titled: Focusing on Our Future


From left to right: Maria Palacios, Veronica Perez, Gregoria Lara (CFI conference organizer), Gilbert Calhoun, Lorena Ortiz Schneider

The California Federation of Interpreters (CFI) was interested in bringing unity across interpreting sectors in California and thus reached out to CWCIA at a time when court interpreters are increasingly seeking work in the Workers' Compensation arena. CWCIA believes that we all share the same goals when it comes to improving working conditions, bringing wages into the 21st century and protecting the interests of the interpreter community (which includes Language Service Providers). CWCIA’s intention as an association is to include all interpreters, whether they lead small to mid-sized local LSPs or work as freelancers, because without one, there wouldn’t be the other. The presentation was about how interpreters working in the field of Workers’ Compensation are facing the same challenges as are court interpreters and offered solutions for finding common ground for supporting each other in the face of the increasing use of non-certified/qualified interpreters by large LSPs or by those who don’t understand the importance of professional interpreters.

 The presentation,  Grace Under Fire was a joint effort, with the IP&O Committee contributing information, that then became a power point presentation. Lorena Ortiz Schneider was the presenter, with President Gilbert Calhoun, IP&O Member Veronica Perez and CWCIA Secretary Maria Palacio in attendance. The substance of the presentation was to offer a sampling of the hybrid medical-legal language and in particular acronyms, that work comp interpreters must know, and then to describe the best practices used in our field. The message was that while, as interpreters, we share many things in common, interpreting in the work comp setting brings with it its own set of challenges and procedures that court interpreters wanting to enter the field must know about in order to meet with success.

 Notable is that CWCIA was invited to present alongside such well-known speakers such as:        

  • Marjory Bancroft of Cross-Cultural Communications

  • Caitilin Walsh, President of the American Translators Association

  • Holly Mikkelson and Laura Burian, faculty at the Monterey Institute of International Studies

  • Claudia Villalba, on behalf of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators

  • Tony Rivas, lead trainer on behalf of the National Center for Interpretation at the University of Arizona

  • Agustín de la Mora, on behalf of de la Mora Interpreter Training based in Florida

  • Tony Rosado, well-known interpreter trainer and author of The Professional Interpreter blog

  • Katharine Allen, co-president of InterpretAmerica

Oakland comments

CWCIA leadership at the public hearing in Oakland submitting public comments in oposition of SB863.


Thank you to our members/contacts

Dear Colleagues,

 Thank you SO MUCH for sending your comments in!!

 On April 11, 2018, CWCIA sent out an appeal to all of the major interpreting associations, including ATA, NAJIT, AIJIIC, InterpretAmerica, ALC, as well as to CCHI, MIIS and CCC, urging them to comment on the proposed fee schedule the DIR came out with earlier this month.

 They all pushed out our message to their contacts, in the thousands as was the case by CCC (their newsletter reaches 1100) and InterpretAmerica (their posting online got over 800 views). Information was also sent to SLATOR, which published an article about it and that newsletter gets world-wide readership.

 There were only 22 pages of comments posted on the Forum website by April 13, 2018, the deadline. Then, on Monday, there were 290 pages! The DIR was certainly hard at work over the weekend.

 As I sat down to read them over the following days, another 100 pages were posted. This is nothing short of remarkable: a total of 394 pages. Yes, I read them all.  And all of you played an integral part by commenting, posting to your social networks, spreading the word and encouraging others to defend our profession.

 Comments were made not only by dozens of freelance interpreters in and out of CA, but also agencies, association leaders, educational and training programs, attorneys, physician associations (CSCIMS) and advocates for injured workers CAAA.

 SCIF, Zenith, Liberty, OneCall, as you may have expected, all commented in favor, but the overwhelming majority of comments were against the proposal.

 We have given the DIR/DWC a lot to chew on and hopefully this sends them back to the drawing board for a long time.

 Thanks again for your commitment to our profession,

Lorena Ortiz Schneider for CWCIA