ATISDA Blog (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area)

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And the nominees are…

The ATISDA elections are just days away and the excitement is palpable. If you are an active member of the group, please make an effort to attend Saturday’s election event from 10 a.m. to noon in Encinitas (information). This will be your opportunity to help shape the organization’s future and make valuable connections with other members. If that weren’t enough, we’ll also be serving a free breakfast—so you can cast your ballot and satisfy your palate at the same time.

To help everyone prepare for the elections, we are dedicating this blog to the nominees for Board members. First, we will list the nominees and the positions they are running for, then we will include a short bio and information members need to know to make an informed decision. If you can’t attend the elections on Saturday, you can still vote by email. Information on how to do that will be sent soon to everyone in the group, so be on the lookout for that. In the meantime, we invite you to read up on the nominees so that you’ll be ready to make your selections when it’s voting time. And, one last thing, please check back to this page in the next few days for any updates on the elections!

And now a word from our nominees:

Yolanda Secos: nominee for Vice President

Yolanda Secos is an English-to-Spanish translator, specializing in education. She has been an Atisda member since its foundation in 2008 and has served as VP of Social Media since 2012. Bio: It is an honor and a pleasure to be nominated to run for Vice President of ATISDA. I was born in Madrid (Spain). After obtaining my degree in English Philology & Education from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, I worked as a foreign language teacher in Spain and England, where I was awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). In 1999 I arrived in the US as part of the Visiting Teachers from Spain Program. During the seven years that I worked as a bilingual teacher in Texas, I was asked to interpret at IEP meetings and translate all kinds of documents to facilitate home-school communication. Upon moving to San Diego, I got a Professional Certificate in English & Spanish Translation and Interpreting from UCSD Extension while working as a Spanish language teacher. I have been a freelance English-to-Spanish translator specializing in education since 2006. I am a voting member of the American Translators Association (ATA) and a member of the ATA Spanish Language Division (SPD) Leadership Council. I have served as the ATA SPD Social Media Committee Chair since 2012 and as a Website Committee member since 2014. I live in San Diego with my husband and my two children.

What you need to know: I have been an ATISDA member since its founding in 2008. I have served as VP of Social Media since 2012 and as interim Secretary since 2014. If elected, I would be ready to assist the new president of the Association and strive to serve its members. Associations circulate information, and in this day and age that is done through social media. In 2012 I created the ATISDA Facebook page and, a year later, the ATISDA Discussion group on Facebook. Last year I was very fortunate to meet Daire Coco and get her to write for our blog. ATISDA really needed to have one, but I wanted to find the right person for the job. The ATISDA blog launched in August of 2014 and here you are reading this! I would like to keep on expanding our social media presence. Over the next two years, I would like to contribute my time and energy to have ATISDA chartered by the ATA. ATISDA is a small, but diverse association. We have translators and interpreters who come from very different cultural backgrounds. Some of them are freelancers, many work from home, but others work in-house. I believe that the ATISDA board should always keep this in mind.

Leo van Zanten: nominee for Secretary and Treasurer


Bio: Leo van Zanten is a part-time Dutch translator from English and Spanish with NAVAZA Translations. He holds a Masters in Plant Breeding from the Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, and has worked for the international community in South America, West Africa, Europe, and the US. He’s been translating for more than 20 years for a wide variety of clients, the international community, and Fortune 100 companies. He has been a voting member of ATA since 2007 and a member of ATISDA since its inception in 2008. He was involved in outreach activities, and is currently responsible for the development and maintenance of the ATISDA website.

What you need to know: The candidate is honored with the nomination for a Board position, but it should be noted that he lives in Ventura County (170 miles north from San Diego) which leads to a potential geographical constraint to participate in person in every meeting of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors.

Gabriela Mejia: nominee for President


Bio: I was born and raised in Uruguay. I graduated from Union County College Interpreter Program and studied simultaneous interpretation at NYU-SCPS. Today I am a Federally Certified Court Interpreter, NJ Master Level, and CA State certified. For the past 2 years I have served as VP of interpretation for ATISDA where I’ve been a member since 2009. I was very excited to present 3 different workshops as a volunteer. Two of them to help prepare for the Spanish federal exam and the last one to help new or aspiring interpreters learn how to take the first steps in the interpreting world where I’ve been working professionally for 17 years.

What you need to know: If elected, I would strive to serve the association’s members to develop their skills and become the best they can be, continue to support ATISDA’s Discussion group on Facebook, contribute to our blog, and encourage our members to do the same. I think all members of the current and future board have always been dreaming of having ATISDA chartered by the ATA. If we continue to work as a team, while delegating to the different committees and giving them autonomy, even as small as ATISDA is right now, the potential for growth is immense. Our members are translators and interpreters with very different backgrounds and languages. We all have in common the desire to be recognized in our profession the way we deserve, and to train ourselves while learning from each other. One of my objectives is to invite nationally well known professionals in our field to present to our group, and cover translation and interpretation to make sure every member feels represented. We have a variety of members who have different needs, some are independent contractors, others work in-house and many others do it from their homes. Having that in mind, our board should try to find different ways to make sure they feel they are being represented.

Artemisa Valle: nominee for Treasurer 


Bio: Artemisa Valle was born in Mexico and moved with her family to the United States in 1965. She began her career as a Computer Programmer at Pacific Mutual Life in Newport Beach, California, and she moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1988. There she attended California State University, San Jose, where she pursued an Information Management coursework and worked at Wells Fargo Bank as a Computer/Business Analyst where she continued honing her business administration and analytical skills. Upon her returning to Orange County, she raised a family while participating as a volunteer at the Parent and Teacher Association, or the PTA, where she contributed as the treasurer both at the local and district level. When she arrived in San Diego she completed both a Paralegal and an English-Spanish Translation/Interpretation certificate programs at UCSD, Extension. In 2010 she began working, first as a volunteer, at Casa Cornelia Law Center where her current major responsibility as Assistant to the Pro Bono Program is to coordinate the Volunteer Interpreters and Translators Program. In 2008 she collaborated with other UCSD students of the T/I certificate program at UCSD and formed the Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area (ATISDA) to support the students and new T/I professionals with affordable opportunities to meet others like-minded and to promote the T/I profession.

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Happy New Year – 2014 in review


Happy 2015! This coming year is sure to bring a lot of changes to ATISDA, especially with new elections taking place at the end of the month. The next blog will let ATISDA members know everything they need to know about those upcoming elections, so stay tuned for that.

For now, we wanted to announce that our blog is now five months old and continues to draw new viewers from all over the world. If you’d like to find out just where our readers are located, as well as other interesting stats about the blog, check out the “year-in-review” summary that our friends at WordPress compiled for us. Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.