NCI's 2022 in Review

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Now that 2022 is behind us all, we at NCI wanted to take a moment and reflect on the past year and share some of what we’ve done with you. We hope that it will serve as a springboard to an exceptional 2023!

2022 was a transitional year for everyone as we worked to define the “new normal” that combines an extensive move towards remote interpreting brought on by the pandemic with a cautious return to in-person work. Through all this, NCI continued to try to provide the highest level of service that we could in support of our mission to advance language access and to contribute to the field as a whole.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to NCI’s work in 2022. Thanks to all our exceptional instructors and students! Thanks also to the University of Arizona College of Humanities for their stalwart support!

Below you’ll find information on our 2022 in three areas:

  • NCI’s 2022 training efforts (including our webinars and Court Interpreter Training Institute)
  • NCI’s online translation and interpreting certificates
  • The Multilingual Course Content Project

If you have any questions, reflections, or ideas for future initiatives, please let us know: Please also share your professional successes with us. We love to hear about it when your hard work pays off with state or federal certification or other accolades! We wish you the very best 2023, personally and professionally!

As usual, in 2022 NCI’s primary focus was providing training for interpreters and translators. Our trainings included a host of standalone webinars offered throughout the year, as well as our comprehensive Court Interpreter Training Institute (CITI), which ran from June 1 - July 15.

In 2022, NCI held 35 webinars which together provided professional development for just over 800 practicing and aspiring interpreters and translators.

Of these 35 webinars, 18 focused on Spanish/English interpreters and 17 were open to interpreters of all languages. We try to balance our Spanish-specific trainings and our open-language (that is, taught entirely in English) trainings, so that interpreters of all language pairs have professional development opportunities. If you have ideas for other trainings we might offer, please let us know:

Three of our webinars in 2022 were brand new, covering topics we had not addressed directly before, all of which were open to all interpreters. These were:

  • Emoticons, Emojis, Smileys and Stickers, Oh My! What is an Interpreter to Do?
  • Introduction to Translating Children’s Literature
  • Court Interpreter Ethics in Remote Settings

“Emojis” was taught by NCI’s own Dr. Holly Silvestri. It was based on her work as the lead author on the NAJIT position paper, “Recommendations Concerning Digital Communication Using Emoji in Legal and Medical Interpreting.”

“Translating Children’s Literature” was the second webinar we’ve offered in partnership with our colleagues at the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA). It was great working with them once again. We hope to continue offering these interesting and uniqe webinars. Check them out!

“Ethics in Remote Settings” was developed by Joshua Elliott, Executive Officer of the Office of Language Access in the Kentucky AOC, based on his experience overseeing the move to remote interpreting in courts brought on by the pandemic.

In 2022, we also worked with Joshua Elliott of Kentucky’s Office of Language Access on a new model for court interpreter professional development. Using grant funds, the State paid a flat fee for a series of webinars on topics of need for their interpreters. Those webinars were then made available to Kentucky’s court interpreters, enabling them to fulfill their continuing education requirements at no cost. The webinars were extremely well-received and well-attended. The results? The interpreters received exceptional training and maintained their certifications on the State’s dime, at a cost far lower than if the interpreters paid for their training individually. The State further developed its interpreter corps’ ability to provide equal access to justice and it extended training to all its interpreters, including interpreters of uncommon languages. It was win-win. We hope to explore this model of training delivery further in 2023 and beyond!

The 2022 Court Interpreter Training Institute (CITI) was our third CITI held entirely online, and our 39th CITI overall.

We learned a lot about online interpreting instruction during our inaugural online CITI in 2020, and we applied those lessons to great effect in 2022. All told, 28 working or aspiring court interpreters from 13 states as well as Puerto Rico and the Netherlands (of all places) attended.

2022 CITI group photo


As you may know, the CITI is one of the premier training opportunities for Spanish/English interpreters in the country. Held every summer, it offers 120 hours of intensive training focused on improving interpreting proficiency. One way we measure its impact is through pre- and post-testing using our interpreting performance tests. In 2022, our 28 graduates improved their scores an average of 29%. That is a very gratifying number! It speaks to the CITI’s ability to make interpreters better.

Student Experience

The students’ experience of the CITI is also important to us. In 2022, as every year, we get a wide range of students, from relatively new, aspiring court interpreters to seasoned veterans preparing for state or federal certification. Here are some impressions from a couple of 2022 CITI alums:

Attending this institute was an outstanding experience for me. I have been waiting for access to university level interpretation course for many years. It feels like fulfilling a dream. The instructors have a very high level, they generously share their experience. They are a pleasure to listen to. Every day, you learn something new. You feel committed to make progress with such a team and you want to give the best of yourself. You feel uplifted. I think that I have become another person over the course of these 6 weeks. Personally, I can assure you that there is a before and an after CITI.

Another 2022 alum, Hilda Zavala-Shymanik, recently posted on the NAJIT Blog about her experience, entitled “CITI: A New Convert”. It’s a good read!

Lastly, we’d like to thank all the instructors who made the 2022 CITI possible. Thanks to Joshua Elliott, Ernest Niño-Murcia, Carmen Patel, and Gloria Rivera! Special thanks to Carlos Radillo, Tamber Hilton, and Kelly Varguez for their excellent work running the intensive interpreting labs (as well as so much more)!

If you’re interested in the 2023 Court Interpreter Training Institute, which will be online once again, let us know:

For a few years now, NCI has offered a Spanish/English Online Translation Certificate. This certificate targets aspiring translators with little or no formal training in translation who wish to improve or expand their knowledge and skills in written translation. It consists of three 16-week course—focused on legal, medical, and business translation—that are self-paced, with weekly deadlines for activities such as reading, translation assignments and exams. The Certificate has been successful, and in 2021 received the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) West Region Outstanding Non-Credit Program Award. (Listen to what NCI Director and certificate developer Dr. Sonia Colina had to say about the award.)

Last year, we secured funding to develop two new online certificates modeled on this one. Dr. Colina, Dr. Silvestri, and several subject matter experts have spent 2022 developing the curricula for these certificates. The first, funded by a U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant awarded to the University’s Center for Latin American Studies (with additional support from the College of Humanities), is a Portuguese/English Online Translation Certificate. Like our Spanish certificate, the courses in our Portuguese certificate will focus on legal, medical, and business translation. We hope to offer the inaugural course starting in Fall 2024.

The second, funded by the University Provost’s Investment Fund, is a Spanish/English Online Interpreting Certificate. While it too is modeled on our existing translation certificate, its three courses will focus on legal, medical, and school interpreting. We plan to hold the inaugural courses for this certificate in Fall 2023. Stay tuned!

Providing quality course content in a student's native language improves educational outcomes.

Lucas & Katz 1994, Karathanos 2009, Jain 2017

While this may seem self-evident in theory, it is challenging in practice. Nonetheless, it’s clear that offering university-level courses in multiple languages has a number of salutary effects. It expands education globally, it recognizes the value of linguistic diversity and inclusivity, and it enables multilingual students to further develop their language skills at a professional level, just to name a few of its potential impacts.

To this end, in partnership with the University Provost’s Office and the College of Humanities, we embarked on a new enterprise, the Multilingual Course Content Project! To pilot the project, we translated the curriculum for a course in the University’s College of Public Health that was offered in the second half of the Fall 2022 semester. We are currently analyzing student outcomes from the translated course to assess the impact that course on student learning. Meanwhile, we are beginning to work closely with several University of Arizona departments as well as other universities to translate more coursework.