Growing up in Houston, Texas, I was continually exposed to Spanish and developed a grasp of the language basics from an early age. It was a twist of fate, however, that gave me the opportunity to convert that into a solid command of the language.
Engineering and IT Background
I studied chemical engineering at Texas A&M University and worked one summer as a summer process engineer for Amoco Chemical in Texas City, Texas. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering, I joined Anderson Consulting (now Accenture), where I worked in an international high tech group with a special emphasis on Geographic Information Systems (GIS). My first project was in Madrid, Spain, where I worked with a local team on a project to design and implement a business system for the local gas and electric company. More importantly, I established a strong foundation for working in Spanish at a professional level.
Over the next seventeen years, I worked on a wide range of information technology (IT) projects, helping companies implement computer systems to support their businesses. This work covered the full project lifecycle from business requirements analysis through design, development, and implementation for both package and custom-designed systems. The technologies I worked with varied from project to project, but included Geographic Information Systems, Oracle database management system and programming tools, Java, Active Server Pages, and SQL Server. The driving force of most projects was centered on data modeling and relational database design.
While I was developing my business and technical skills, I followed a concurrent path to maintain and expand my Spanish language skills. I pursued coursework and worked directly with the Latino community in a variety of bilingual roles. Among others, these roles included working as a domestic violence advocate, an ESL instructor, a Spanish-language computer class instructor, and coordinator of a Mexican consulate-provided adult basic education program in a federal prison. This type of work eventually led me to my true passion, translation and interpretation.
Translation and Interpretation Continuing Education
In order to establish and deepen the competencies and knowledge required to provide high-quality translation and interpretation services, I have continually pursued a wide range of professional training opportunities, beginning with completion of the certificate tracks in both translation and interpretation at the Translation and Interpretation Institute at Bellevue College in Washington State. Additional training has included coursework through the Southern California School of Interpretation, Agnese Haury Institute for Spanish Court Interpretation at the University of Arizona, attendance at the American Translators Association annual conference in 2005 and annually since 2011, along with attendance every year at multiple local translation and interpretation workshops.
Alongside formal training and educational opportunities, involvement in the translation and interpretation professional community was fundamental in my establishment of a solid professional practice. Because of this, I have always taken part in professional organizations and have taken on leadership roles as the opportunities arise. I am currently (2014-2015) vice president of NOTIS, which is the local chapter of the American Translators Association. I previously (2012-2013) was president of the Washington State Court Interpreters and Translators Society (WITS). I also serve on the advisory committee for the Translation and Interpretation Institute at Bellevue College and was a board member for the Washington Coalition for Language Access (WASCLA) from 2010 to 2012.