NCI's Year in Review 2023

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Now that 2023 is behind us, 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 2024!

2023 saw the continued negotiation between in-person and remote language service as the field strives to improve access while maintaining the quality necessary to make that access meaningful.  It also saw AI’s initial forays into the field and the continued professionalization of educational interpreting with the publication of national codes of ethics and standards of practice by the AAITE.  NCI’s Dr. Holly Silvestri was part of the AAITE team that worked on that initiative. 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 2023.  Thanks to all our exceptional instructors and students!  As always, thanks also to the University of Arizona College of Humanities for their unflagging support!

Below you’ll find a few highlights from our 2023.  Have a look!

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 2024, personally and professionally! We would love to share your news in future newsletters!

As usual, in 2023 NCI’s primary focus was providing training for interpreters and translators.  In addition to our regular offerings, we provided on-demand and customized training to several agencies on a number of topics.  We’re proud to have worked with the Arizona Supreme Court, Clark County School District, the Central Arizona Area Healthcare Education Center (AHEC), among others!

Our trainings also included a host of standalone webinars offered throughout the year, as well as our comprehensive Court Interpreter Training Institute (CITI), which ran from May 22-June 30. 

In 2023, NCI held 38 webinars which together provided professional development for almost 1200 practicing and aspiring interpreters and translators.  Half of these webinars were focused on Spanish/English interpreters and half 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:

Several of our webinars in 2023 were brand new, covering topics we had not addressed directly before or covering them in a new way.  Two were particularly noteworthy:

“Interpreting for Special Education in Early Childhood” was taught by NCI’s own Dr. Holly Silvestri.  It is the fifth webinar focused on educational interpreting that Dr. Silvestri has developed and taught for NCI.

“Making the Leap from Industry to Literary Translation” was the third 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 unique glimpses into an area of translation that we do not usually have the chance to explore.  We’ll be holding another in 2024!

In Fall 2023, we worked with Kentucky’s Office of Language Access on a new model for court interpreter professional development.  For a flat fee, Kentucky’s OLA “subscribed” to 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 continue this approach to professional development and to include other states in 2024!

The 2023 Court Interpreter Training Institute (CITI) was our fourth CITI held entirely online, and our 40th CITI overall.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this since 1983!  Our 40th CITI hosted 43 working or aspiring court interpreters from 14 states as well as Mexico and Puerto Rico. 

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 2023, our 43 graduates showed an average improvement of 29%.  In this case, that equaled an absolute jump of +11% from the pre-test to the post-test.  Those are very gratifying numbers! It speaks to the CITI’s ability to make interpreters better.

The students’ experience of the CITI is also important to us.  In 2023, 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 2023 CITI alums:

[The CITI] was honestly life changing. Being able to learn from and with experts in the field, to cover such a wide range of relevant topics, and to get so much one-on-one attention and hands-on practice experience, I feel so much more prepared and inspired.  I have such a respect for this line of work, and I feel extremely excited to continue my commitment to this path. [After the CITI] I feel more committed than ever!


CITI was more than worthwhile for me. At first, I came in thinking I was just going to leave feeling more than prepared for my second attempt at the state oral exam. What I received was so much more. All three of the main instructors left me speechless. I feel so inspired to become like them one day, especially as a young professional who is just getting her journey started as a judicial interpreter. Not only that, I felt that my colleagues were some of the most dedicated, intelligent interpreters that I have ever met. I feel inspired and grateful that I had the time, money, and passion to follow through with CITI.

Lastly, we’d like to thank all the instructors who made the 2023 CITI possible.  Thanks to Joshua Elliott, Ernest Niño-Murcia, Carmen Patel, Carlos Radillo, and Gloria Rivera!  Special thanks to Tamber Hilton, Katty Kauffman, and Kelly Varguez for their excellent work running the intensive interpreting labs (as well as so much more)!

If you’re interested in the 2024 Court Interpreter Training Institute, 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 extremely successful and has grown significantly in enrollment since it was first offered.

In 2023, using our Translation Certificate as a model, NCI developed a new Spanish/English Online Interpreting Certificate.  The interpreting certificate consists of three courses focused on medical, legal, and educational interpreting.  The first course for this certificate, Medical Interpreting, was held in Fall 2023.  Enrollment was nearly at capacity and the course was well received by the students and its instructor.  Legal Interpreting is starting up this month.

NCI Director Dr. Sonia Colina has also been working with several subject matter experts to develop a new Portuguese/English Online Translation Certificate.  We anticipate offering the inaugural course starting in Fall 2024.

A review of 5,008 recent studies revealed that only 9% of these studies included non-English speaking volunteers (Chen, Demaestri & Schweilberger, 2022).  As you might imagine, the lack of non-English speakers in most research limits the breadth of applicability of research findings.  Moreover, given its rarity, there is reason to wonder how effectively non-English speakers are integrated into research when they are, and whether their consent to participate is fully informed.

In 2023, NCI Director Dr. Sonia Colina continued her work in this area.  Her efforts are two-fold. First, she is interested in determining the extent of the problem and how it manifests in practice through the paucity and quality of language services employed at all stages of the research enterprise.  Second, Dr. Colina is exploring how this problem can best be addressed  to make research more inclusive and effective.  You can read more about this topic in an article Dr. Colina published in 2023, When Research Study Materials Don’t Speak Their Participants’ Language, Data Can Gt Lost in Translation.  It’s interesting stuff!

Once again, we wish you an excellent 2024!  We’re excited about continuing to advance our mission, and we hope you’ll join us!