What is NAJIT and how did you find out about the NAJIT Conference Scholarship?
NAJIT is the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators. I received an email from the program administrators at the MS in Translation & Interpreting (MSTI) and learned that NAJIT offered a scholarship for students to participate in their annual conference. It seemed a great opportunity for me since I am looking to explore the field of legal and judicial translation.
I was super excited when I received the notification that I had won the scholarship.
Only five students in the country were awarded the scholarship so I felt very fortunate to be selected.
What was your experience attending the conference ?
I enjoyed the conference very much. It was in a beautiful place, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the sessions I attended were very interesting and engaging and I met many experienced professionals in the field. I have not had any work experience in interpreting so most of the concepts in the sessions were new to me and a great opportunity to gain extremely valuable information directly from the professionals. I now look forward to taking the interpreting class next Spring semester.
What did a regular day look like at the NAJIT Conference?
There were sessions running for the entire day and in the evening networking opportunities to connect with professionals in the field. We had just a bit of free time on Sunday morning and of course I took advantage of it to explore the beautiful beach at Fort Lauderdale!
Did anything at the NAJIT Conference surprise you?
I was very impressed by the welcoming attitude of the entire NAJIT board towards the scholarship winners. They really made us feel so welcome and special! They had a VIP reception for the scholarship winners on Friday evening and we were mentioned at the luncheon and were given our certificate and our scholarship award at the reception on Saturday night.
What is your biggest takeaway from the conference?
There is a great demand for court interpreters, and a lot of opportunities to receive specific training to be certified as court interpreters. It seems like very hard work, at times with a lot of emotional load, as judiciary interpreters assist people often in difficult situations. However, I do believe there is also a great sense of pride and accomplishment in contributing to granting equal access to justice to everyone. I can’t think of a higher purpose than this.
Anything else you’d like to share?
While the content for the conference was generally more focused on interpreting, and mostly for the language pair English-Spanish, I was able to connect with a translator and interpreter who works with Italian, which is my source language. It was also great to connect with the other scholarship winners, who work with different languages (Chinese, Japanese, German and Spanish). All the other scholarship recipients were from Middlebury Institute, I was the only one from a different school. I was very proud to represent NYU and SPS!