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

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Take Your T&I Skills to the Next Level

Whether you’re a T&I professional in search of continuing education credits, or someone looking for a T&I study program, now is a good time of year to do something about it. In fact, with so many upcoming workshops and information sessions on T&I programs in Southern California, we thought it would be helpful to provide a list* of events that we have found:

Aug. 24: UCSD Extension T&I Program Information Session; La Jolla

This free session is for anyone interested in learning about UCSD Extension’s certificate programs in Spanish/English translation and interpretation, as well as the profession in general. Online registration is highly recommended.

Aug. 28-30: Workshop Series on Medical Terminology and Translation; Pomona

This three-day event is organized by GlobalTradu Language Services and features six workshops by Fernando A. Navarro, a renowned Spanish medical translator, lexicographer, and author of the Diccionario Crítico de dudas inglés-español de medicina. The opening day also offers a panel discussion by several experts in the T&I industry on the skills that professionals in the field need to thrive. ATA members can receive continuing-ed credits for this event. ATISDA members can qualify for a 10% discount by contacting Yolanda Secos at

Aug. 29: T&I Education orientation for Southern California School of Interpretation; Santa Fe Springs. 

The Southern California School of Interpretation offers free monthly orientations for prospective students. The 90-minute sessions address everything from admission requirements, to job opportunities in the field and the state examination process.

Aug. 29: Legal Interpretation Orientation: Cal State, LA Campus

This information session is on the Legal Interpretation program at Cal State’s College of Professional and Global Education. Online registration is required.

Sept. 1: Specialized Certificate in English/Spanish Translation Information Session; UC Riverside

This free information session provides an overview of the Specialized Certificate in English/Spanish Document Translation Program offered through UCR Extension.

Sept. 14-Oct. 26: Mental Health Interpreting Class; San Diego

This 40-hour workshop, organized by the Alliance for African Assistance, provides training in mental health interpreting skills.

San Diego Continuing Education; San Diego

If you live in the San Diego area, now is also a good time to check out the fall line-up of classes offered by the San Diego Continuing Education program. Although the school does not provide classes specific to translators and interpreters, it does offer courses on subjects that can benefit them, such as computer skills and web marketing, project management and (for freelancers) several classes for small business owners. The fall semester starts Sept. 8 and runs through January 30, 2016. Most classes are free!

*ATISDA is providing this list for informational purposes only and not as an endorsement.

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Guest Blog: Spotlight on Toastmasters International

Intro: ATISDA is fortunate to have a steady stream of members who are willing to share their time, energy and experience to contribute to our blog and keep it informative and engaging. This week, guest blogger Ursula Carver tells us how Toastmasters International helped her become not only a better public speaker, but a stronger writer and networker. 


Ursula Carver is an English and French to Spanish translator specializing in human resources, and an English/Spanish telephonic and medical interpreter. She is a native Spanish speaker who received a French Baccalauréat before moving to the U.S. and earning a Professional Certificate in Translation and Interpretation at UCSD, Extension. She has over 15 years of experience in the human resources fields and a passion for helping people communicate and understand one another.

How can Toastmasters International help? 

You may be wondering where Toastmasters International and our Translation & Interpretation profession connect, if at all…  Well, I found that being a member of a Toastmasters International can be quite beneficial to people like me who are just getting started, or it could be a fun endeavor for more seasoned professionals.

As I decided to embark on the road of becoming an interpreter and translator a couple of years ago, I knew I needed to work on specific skills that would be required of me, such as speaking in public for when I would be doing interpretation. I had heard about Toastmasters International and its purpose to help their members become better speakers and leaders so I decided to give it a try. Since I wanted to have the opportunity to develop these skills in English and Spanish, my main working languages, I looked for a bilingual club near me and joined the Escondido Bilingual Toastmasters Club.

It was an excellent decision.  Since joining the club, I have felt more confident in my public speaking abilities as I have had the opportunity to practice and hone the needed skills in a very supportive environment. My writing skills in both Spanish and English have also improved because of the practice in speech writing that is necessary to prepare for the speeches I have given. In addition, there was an added benefit I did not foresee: being able to network with club members who may need my services in the future or who could recommend my services to others.

As way of background, Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization started in 1924 in Santa Ana, California, and has had over four million members in many countries during its ninety plus years of existence. The dues to become a member are $36 every six months and some clubs charge additional dues, such as the case with the club I joined.  The meetings at this club take place twice per month during evening hours, although in other clubs the meetings can take place weekly or monthly.

The program is designed to take its members through a couple of education programs that build on each other. Upon starting, members are placed on the Communication and Leadership tracks and provided manuals to get through a series of projects (both giving speeches and taking specific leadership roles during meetings) at their own pace, at the end of which members receive the corresponding awards.  The materials are available in many languages. Members can then move to the Advanced Communication and Advanced Leadership series. Once these are finished, members can obtain bronze, silver or gold awards, depending on the extent of their activities and involvement.  The highest honor is to become a Distinguished Toastmaster. All along this path, members can clearly appreciate the progress made in their areas of interest, which provides a great sense of accomplishment.

I have included a few links to Toastmasters International and some of its resources, which may be of use to us in the T & I profession: