ATA Law Seminar

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ATA Law Seminar

February 16, 2019  |  Jersey City, New Jersey  |  Hyatt Regency

Attention ATA-Certified Translators!
Earn 7 CEPs for attending this seminar.

Intermediate-to-Advanced Interpreting and Translation Workshops.

Schedule of Events

7:15am-8:15am Registration / Continental Breakfast
8:15am-9:15am Welcome / Keynote Address
Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Takeaways from 26 Years of Managing a State Judiciary's T&I Program
Robert Joe Lee
9:15am-9:45am Coffee Break
9:45am-12:45pm I-1: Performing from the Stand: Advanced Sight, Simultaneous, and Consecutive Skills
Melinda Gonzalez-Hibner
  T-1: Translating Legal Documents: Expert to Expert
Holly Mikkelson
12:45pm-2:15pm Lunch on your own
2:15pm-5:15pm I-2 (Part I): Anatomy of a Deposition and How to Master this Niche
I-2 (Part II): Ethics in Action: Moving Beyond Should and Shouldn't

Elena Langdon
  T-2: Translating Legal Terms Based on Functional Equivalency
Sandro Tomasi

Registration Rates

Take advantage of discounted rates, available until February 6.

Early Registration (by February 6)
ATA Member: $345
Nonmember: $480
NYCT Members: $345

Late Registration (after February 6)
ATA Member: $480
Nonmember: $615
NYCT Member: $480

Register Today: ATA Members  |  Nonmembers | NYCT Members

Things to do in Jersey City/NYC

Hotel Information:

Hyatt Regency
Two Exchange Place
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Visit the Hyatt's Website

There are a limited number of rooms available at the discounted rate: $179 Single/Double (exclusive of tax).

This special rate is available until January 29, 2019, or as space allows. Make your reservations by calling +1-800-233-1234. Don't forget to ask for the special ATA rate!

For directions, transportation options, and parking information, click here.


The following organizations have approved this seminar for CE credit.



CEUs approved










How to Receive Credit

To learn which sessions have been approved and to receive credit, you must contact that organization and follow the instructions they provide.

Welcome / Keynote Address

Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Takeaways from 26 Years of Managing a State Judiciary’s T&I Program

Come learn how a huge government bureaucracy (the New Jersey Judiciary) was transformed from one that had virtually no policy regarding (or understanding of) translation and interpreting to one where appropriate standards of quality control and professional performance by language professionals are an unquestioned, normal part of its operational culture. The speaker will share what he thinks were the key elements to successful social change within the New Jersey Judiciary, including the development and implementation of policies, credentialing programs, and management structures. He will also summarize some interesting findings on translation and interpreting exams and some relationships between the two.

Robert Joe Lee worked for the New Jersey Judiciary from February 1978 until he retired at the end of December 2008. After a few years working as a research associate in the Probation Division and staffing the Supreme Court Task Force on Interpreter and Translation Services, he managed the state’s program to ensure equal access to the courts for linguistic minorities from the program’s inception in December 1985 until his retirement. He has authored numerous publications on court interpreting and coordinated the development of court interpreter tests in numerous languages, as well as numerous policies in the field. In collaboration with the staff of the National Center for State Courts and three other state judiciaries, he helped establish the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification and led New Jersey to be a charter member. He chaired the Consortium’s Technical Committee and served on its Executive Committee from the Consortium’s inception until retiring. He currently assists state court interpreter certification testing programs, conducts original research and publishes his findings, and gives presentations to translation and interpreting students and at conferences.


Intermediate-to-Advanced Interpreting and Translation Workshops.

Interpreting Workshops

I-1: Performing from the Stand: Advanced Sight, Simultaneous, and Consecutive Skills

Experienced interpreters seeking to improve their already well-honed skills often lack the time and opportunity to attend training that is focused on challenging, hands-on practice. This in-depth training will remedy that problem. Attendees will work on their sight, simultaneous, and consecutive skills through exercises devoted to specific terminology. Practice during the workshop will stress a holistic approach to skill development. Attendees will be exposed to a mix of lecture and hands-on practice as we review strategies to acquire new terminology and strengthen interpreting and performance skills. Attendees will learn terminology used in criminal cases; learn about terminological research and the value of glossaries; review techniques to improve sight, simultaneous, and consecutive performance; increase confidence in performing "for the record"; and practice correct delivery through group exercises.

Melinda Gonzalez-Hibner is an ATA director and chair of ATA's Interpretation Policy Advisory Committee. She is certified as a court interpreter by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, qualified as a contract interpreter by the U.S. Department of State at the seminar level, and is an ATA-certified Spanish>English translator. Her interpreting experience is diverse, including court, community, military, and conference assignments. She currently serves as the staff interpreter for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. She has a BA in Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin and an MS in political sociology from the London School of Economics. In addition to ATA, she is a member of the Texas Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators and the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators.

I-2 (Part I): Anatomy of a Deposition and How to Master this Niche

Intended for experienced interpreters who want to branch out to a new niche, this workshop will outline the procedures, expectations, and nuances of interpreting during a deposition or similar hearing. It will focus on the specifics of interpreting at legal and non-court hearings in the U.S.: sworn depositions with attorneys, hearings for government agencies such as the Division of Unemployment Assistance and the Department of Industrial Accidents, and other similar situations. We'll cover videoconferencing, how to make fast friends with the court reporter, how to deal with "immigrant speak," and logistics. Preparation (and survival) strategies, vocabulary, and dos and don'ts will also be addressed. Some examples will be given in Portuguese, but the workshop is open to all. Depositions can be tricky, but after this session attendees will feel more prepared and confident to tackle a new interpreting environment.

I-2 (Part II): Ethics in Action: Moving Beyond Should and Shouldn't

Ethics is a complex and often heated topic in any professional field, and it's no different for legal interpreters. We'll look closely at the canons and ethical decision-making models of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, as well as specific case studies to elicit a rich discussion on what it means to be an ethical interpreter. We'll focus on the thought process and advance preparation required to act swiftly when an ethical dilemma arises. Together, we'll try to move beyond blanket statements while building skills to act in difficult situation—skills that go beyond saying "it depends." We'll also explore whether there are "universal truths" when it comes to ethics and interpreting. Please note that we'll apply the principles of "flipped classrooms" for this workshop: attendees will be sent questions in advance and be required to submit responses before the workshop in order to take better advantage of the time we have together.

Elena Langdon is an ATA director. She has been a professional interpreter and translator since 2000, focusing on the medical and legal fields. She is an ATA-certified Portuguese>English translator and is certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters as a core-certified health care interpreter. She has a master's degree in translation studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has presented around the country and internationally and has been teaching interpreting and translation since 2005 at institutions such as Boston University, Smith College, and the University of Chicago. She supervised a staff of 50 interpreters at a large health care system in western Massachusetts for over six years. She was also the chairperson of the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. She currently helps produce webinars for interpreter trainers for the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care.


Translation Workshops

T-1: Translating Legal Documents: Expert to Expert

This language-neutral workshop will address the issues encountered by legal translators of all languages who must deal with the sometimes impenetrable and arcane language of the law. Lawyers the world over, regardless of the legal system they work in, are known for using language that laypeople find nearly impossible to understand. But when translating a document written by an expert for an expert (i.e., by a lawyer in one country for a lawyer in another country), translators must convey meaning in a style typical of the target-language legal system without distorting the source message. In this workshop we'll review the features of legal language in English, with references to what scholars have written about this genre in other languages and legal systems. We'll also explore solutions for conveying meaning accurately without sacrificing style and tone. Attendees will practice deconstructing or stripping down passages from English legal texts to discern the meaning so that they can reconstruct the message at the appropriate register in their target language. In addition to practice passages, attendees will receive a bibliography of works on legal language and translation. By the end of this workshop attendees will be able to list the features of legal language and identify strategies for translating such language.

Holly Mikkelson is Professor Emerita at the Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation, and Language Education at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. She is an ATA-certified Spanish<>English translator and a state and federally certified court interpreter who has taught translation and interpreting for four decades. Her interpreting clients over the years have included several court systems and many local and national law firms, and her translation clients include the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition to co-authoring Fundamentals of Court Interpretation: Theory, Policy, and Practice, she is the author of Introduction to Court Interpreting as well as the Acebo interpreter training manuals and numerous articles on translation and interpreting. She has presented lectures and workshops to interpreters and related professionals throughout the world. She was the 2011 recipient of ATA's Alexander Gode Medal for outstanding service to the translation and interpreting professions.

T-2: Translating Legal Terms Based on Functional Equivalency

Since legal translation and interpreting are comprised of not only translating from one language to another but also translating from one legal system to another, it is vital for court interpreters or legal translators to go beyond the linguistic aspects of the source- and target-language terms and be mindful of the legal concepts behind them to provide accurate translations in their own line of work. This workshop will provide essential legal translation theory along with techniques that can be applied to written and oral communications, as well as Chinese-, Russian-, and Spanish-into-English translation examples based on functional equivalency.

Sandro Tomasi has been a Spanish>English interpreter and translator since 1991. He is a New York State court interpreter and is certified as a medical interpreter by the State of Washington. He is the author of An English-Spanish Dictionary of Criminal Law and Procedure, a contributing author to the second edition of the Diccionario Jurídico, Law Dictionary, a consultant on the fourth edition of Dahl's Law Dictionary, Diccionario Jurídico Dahl, and a correspondent for the 10th edition of Black's Law Dictionary. He has trained interpreters and translators at conferences for professional associations and at workshops for various state courts in the U.S. He has also taught interpreter courses for the City University of New York's continuing education programs at Hostos College and Queens College and an online legal-terminology course for the New Mexico Center for Language Access.



Please contact ATA at (703) 683-6100 or

~ An ATA Professional Development Event ~