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

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Congratulations to our new Executive Council

ATISDA held elections for the Executive Council on January 26, 2019, and now has a new group in charge. Congratulations to the following members who now hold the following positions:

Yolanda Secos, President
Marco Díaz, Vice President
Felipe Ortiz, Secretary
Artemisa Valle, Treasurer

Kara Watkins, Member at Large
Ursula Carver, Member at Large

Read on to learn about the board members in their own words. (Bios provided by the board members.)

President Yolanda Secos


I am one of the founding members of ATISDA and I have been part of the Executive Council since 2012. I have served three years as Vice President and another three as President. Over the years, I have been fortunate to meet most of you in person, but if you still need more information about my background, you are welcome to read it here. Since that blog entry was posted in 2015, I have also served as editor of the quarterly newsletter published by the Spanish Language Division (SPD) of the American Translators Association (ATA), Intercambios (June 2015 – November 2016), I was the recipient of the 2016 Harvie Jordan Scholarship, and I served one full term as Assistant Administrator of the ATA SPD (2016 – 2018). In addition, I was honored to serve as a member of the ATA Membership Committee (November 2015 – September 2018) and I am currently serving as a member of the ATA Chapters Committee.

Vice President Marco Díaz

marco pic-300

Marco runs Marco Díaz Translations, a company providing English to Spanish translation services in business law, contract law, family law, labor law, and mechanical-electrical engineering with more than four years of translation, editing, and proofreading experience. He is originally from Guatemala City and has lived in Mexico and the United States for a good part of his life. He obtained a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering from Tec de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico, the Specialized Certificate in Translation from University of California San Diego Extension Program, and several specialized courses in legal translation both from Cálamo & Cran in Madrid, Spain and Academia Traducción Jurídica in Valladolid, Spain. He is also an active member of the American Translator’s Association (ATA), the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT), the Association of Translators and Interpreters of the San Diego Area (ATISDA), and San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association (SDLRLA). When Marco is not translating or managing the business, he enjoys reading books, playing guitar, riding his bicycle, and hiking in the mountains or the desert.

Contact Marco Díaz at

Treasurer Artemisa Valle

Head shots for Casa Cornelia employees. February, 2017

Artemisa Valle completed the SDSU Translation and Interpretation Professional Certificate (Spanish/English) from the University of California, San Diego, Extension, in the fall of 2010. Previously, she had also completed, at UCSD Extension, the ABA Approved Professional Certificate in Paralegal Studies (2006). She has pursued her career through her work as Coordinator of the Volunteer Interpreters and Translators Program at Casa Cornelia Law Center since the summer of 2010. At this San Diego firm, she recruits, trains, and mentors community volunteers (all levels of experience and skill in the T/I profession) who assist with the attorney/client communication. Prior experience includes extensive work as an Information Systems Management professional in the insurance and banking industries. Artemisa currently lives with her husband in the 4S Ranch community of San Diego. She is a translator with a current focus on legal documents of all types. Independent translation experience includes, among others, Airline luggage handlers’ procedures manual,  Commercial license drivers’ manual, Income tax declarations, and marketing materials. Her personal interests include future opportunities working on literary translations and presenting at an ATA Conference.

Secretary Felipe Ortiz


He became interested in the Translation/Interpretation (Spanish/English) while working in the Hospitality Industry and decided to shift careers by enrolling in the UCSD Extension Certificate Program. While taking classes, he became interested in becoming a member of Atisda and joined the association  in 2015. He volunteered to become a member of the By-Laws Revision Committee and was elected member of the Executive Council /Treasurer in 2017. He believes in participating in the Translation/Interpretation Industry and feels that by being of service to its members, you get as much, and more, of you contribute to the advancement of Atisda.

Member at Large Kara Watkins


I grew up in Michigan and moved to San Diego in 2006. I started learning Spanish in college and fell in love with the language. I found my passion for translating Spanish to English after volunteering with Catholic Charities for 4 years where I translated various documents for immigration purposes and declarations for VAWA applicants. I decided to complete the UCSD translation certificate program and finished in 2013. I moved to Colombia for a year and continued translating documents, articles, and essays, as well as grant proposals for income generating projects for the Presbyterian Church of Colombia. While in Colombia, I really enjoyed learning a new Spanish variation and vocabulary. I now work full-time for Catholic Charities in the Immigrant Services department. I continue to translate documents and declarations for clients. I have also been a volunteer translator for Icthus Kids since 2017. Outside of work I enjoy traveling, spending time with friends and family, and I hiking, biking, or other outdoor activities.

Member at Large Ursula Carver


Ursula Carver is an English and French into Spanish translator specializing in Human Resources and Workers Compensation, as well as an English/Spanish Certified Healthcare Interpreter™ with the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI). She received a French Baccalauréat in her native Bolivia before moving to the United States where she earned Associate in Arts degrees in Gerontology and Liberal Arts Emphasis in Humanities and obtained the Professional Certificate in Translation and Interpretation at UCSD, Extension. She is also a member of the California Healthcare Interpreting Association (CHIA), the American Translator’s Association (ATA), the San Diego Certified Medical Interpreters Network (SDCMIN), and the Association of Translators and Interpreters of the San Diego Area (ATISDA), where she has been a Member at Large. She has over fifteen years of experience in the Human Resources fields and a passion for helping people communicate and understand one another.

Cover image courtesy of the ATISDA Facebook page.