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ITC21 Speaker Bios

Maha El-Metwally.jpg​​Maha El-Metwally is a conference interpreter in the Arabic booth. She works for a wide range of international organizations, including the European Institutions and the United Nations. She is a member of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL), and the American Translators Association (ATA). She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), where she served on the Board and the Membership Committee.

Maha has an MA in interpreter training from the University of Geneva. She is associated with a number of universities both in the UK and abroad where she contributes to the curriculum. She is passionate about technology in the field of interpreting and offers courses on the subject internationally both in person and remotely.


Katharine Allen is a community and conference-trained interpreter with over three decades of experience interpreting, training, and designing curricula. She is a licensed trainer and co-author for The Indigenous Interpreter® and The Community Interpreter® International training programs.

As co-founder and co-President of InterpretAmerica, she worked for 10 years to raise the profile of interpreting, helping to build impactful connections between interpreting specializations, professional associations, practitioners, technology vendors, and language service companies. Her current work includes her role as a board member of the American Association for Interpreters and Translators in Education (AAITE), a national organization working to professionalize language services in education. She also works to embed professional interpreting and translation into global maternal and child health missions in Chiapas, Mexico. Run by the Rotary Foundation and Sunrise Rotary in Bishop, California, these programs received recognition by the World Health Organization in 2021. Katharine is a frequent speaker at conferences and professional events.

She has an MA in Translation and Interpretation from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. You can find Katharine on her new platform at:​

Giovanna Carriero-Contreras.jpgGiovanna Carriero-Contreras is an expert in translation and interpreting services and a nationally recognized interpreting trainer. As a passionate language access advocate, her personal mission is to ensure that limited English proficiency individuals in the United States have equal access to public services. Giovanna chairs the interpreting standards committee at International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Giovanna is the Chair-Elect for 2021-2022 of the American Association for Interpreters and Translators in Education (AAITE), a national organization working to professionalize language services in education.​

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Vonessa Costa, CoreCHI™

VP, Quality and Customer Engagement, Paras and Associates

Prior to joining Paras and Associates, Vonessa Costa was director of Multicultural Affairs and Patient Services at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA). Vonessa led CHA's cultural-linguistic education initiatives and one of the largest hospital-based interpreter programs in New England, honored with a 2014 Amerinet Healthcare Achievement Award for technological advances that enhanced institutional capacity to care for a diverse patient population. 

Prior to her work at CHA, Vonessa was director of the Cross-Cultural Communication Institute at CCCS, Inc., where she specialized in interpreter education and provider training in intercultural communication. Vonessa is a CoreCHI™ practitioner credentialed by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters, and has served as a CCHI Commissioner since October 2020.  She is a graduate of the America's Essential Hospitals Fellows Program, and a 2019 MassAHEC Tony Windsor Award recipient for language access advocacy. She has served as secretary of the Forum on the Coordination of Interpreter Services (FOCIS), and on the Education Committee of America's Essential Hospitals.​

Mario Garcia.pngMario Garcia is the supervisor for San Diego Unified School District Special Education Translation/Interpretation Department. He has over 18 years of experience as an interpreter/translator with a specific focus in education interpretation. Mario specializes in developing workshops and curriculum targeted specifically for interpreters working in the nuanced field of Special Education. His passion for equity and access in cross-cultural communication and his commitment to helping professionalize and codify the role of education interpreters informs the development of his methodologies and approach to his work. Lately, he has been leading workshops to help interpreters adapt to the remote environment.

Elena Langdone.jpgElena Langdon is a Portuguese-English community and conference interpreter and an interpreter trainer. She is certified by the American Translators Association (Portuguese into English translation) and by CCHI (core-certified healthcare interpreter). She holds an M.A. in Translation Studies from UMass Amherst and has been teaching interpreting and translation since 2005. Elena currently teaches at UMass Amherst, at the Online Certificate Program in Translation and Interpreting. She has been on the board of directors of ATA, New England Translators Association, and the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. For over 6 years Elena worked at a hospital in western Massachusetts, supervising 50 staff interpreters. In 2019 she joined forces with two other seasoned interpreters to form Seven Sisters Interpreter Training and Consulting, as well as a partnership that focuses on remote simultaneous interpreting, called String & Can Multilingual Online. Elena hosts a podcast about interpreters called Not Quite Magic. She joins us today from her home in western Massachusetts, where she has lived for the past 18 years. She grew up on an island in southern Brazil.

Rafa Lombardino.jpgRAFA LOMBARDINO was born in Brazil and has been living in California since 2002. She has been a translator since 1997 and is certified by the American Translators Association (ATA) in both English-to-Portuguese and Portuguese-to-English translations and has a Professional Certificate in Spanish-to-English translations from UC San Diego Extension, where she subsequently started teaching translation classes in 2010, including “Tools and Technology in Translation," which was also released in book format. She is the President & CEO of Word Awareness, a small network of professional translators and specializes in Technology, Marketing, HR, EH&S, Education, Health & Wellness, Audiovisual, and Literature.

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Darinka Mangino is a conference and court interpreter for Spanish (A), English (B), and French (C). She holds a Masters in Advanced Studies for Interpreting Trainers from the University of Geneva, Switzerland; a PGC in Forensic Linguistics from Aston University, United Kingdom, and a university degree in conference interpreting from Instituto Superior de Intérpretes y Traductores, Mexico City. She is a member of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) and the Organización Mexicana de Traductores (OMT).​

Darinka is an Adjunct Professor for Interpreting at ENALLT- UNAM. She is also the founder of Léxica Aula Virtual para Intérpretes and Proyecto Cenzontle.

K Palma.jpgKleber Palma is currently the Director of the New York City Department of Education's Translation and Interpretation Unit, which he established in 2004. The unit provides translation and interpretation services, and language access support to more than 1,700 schools throughout New York City. Prior to this, Kleber served as the Director of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Translations Unit - the second largest school system in the country -, a Language Specialist for the FBI and a Translation Services Manager for a private firm in California. He has extensive experience as a freelance Spanish translator and a language access consultant, and holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the California State University in Los Angeles.

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Carol Shaw is an ATA-certified translator (Spanish>English), master licensed court interpreter, and has taught basic interpreting and continuing education for court interpreters for nearly two decades.  Raised in Ecuador, she works as a freelance professional and currently has the privilege of serving several school districts in Texas.

Gabriela Siebach.jpg Gabriela Espinoza Siebach, MATI

Gabriela Siebach, Conference Interpreting Services Manager at Cesco Linguistic Services, started her community interpreting career as a staff Translator at the 7th largest school district of the United States. She currently serves as Chair of the AAITE Job Task Analysis Committee. Gabriela also holds a graduate degree in Translation and Interpretation from the world-renowned Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and is a CCHI Certified Healthcare Interpreter in Spanish. 

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Sandra Ledesma is a Certified Spanish Court Interpreter based in California. Before that, she worked as a School District Interpreter and Translator for over ten years after being an English Learner at High School. Sandra is also the founder of Spectrum Translations. The name honors children on the Autism Spectrum and the wide range of clients she serves. She is a member of the AAITE Job Task Analysis Committee and the Ethics and Best Practices Committee.

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Dr. Silvestri is the Senior Coordinator of Translation, Training, and Curriculum at National Center for Interpretation at the University of Arizona. She has been an educational interpreter for over 10 years and is also the CEO of Linguistic Connections, LLC. Currently, she is working on a book with other co-authors that is designed as an advanced training textbook and workbook for interpreters in school settings. Her working languages are English, Spanish and French.​


Professor Miryoung Sohn is an educator, conference interpreter and translator. She has received her BA in Sociology from Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea, and MA in Conference Interpreting from the Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea.

In addition to teaching graduate interpreting and translation courses for the past 20 years, she has extensive experiences as a conference interpreter and translator in wide ranging areas including politics, finance, business, IT, and the Olympics.

She is currently an associate professor and the Korean Translation and Interpretation Program Head at the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation, Language Education of Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California

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Wallace Chen is Professor and Program Head of Chinese-English Translation and Interpretation at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). He holds an MA in Chinese-English Translation and Interpretation (MIIS) and a Ph.D. in Corpus-Based Translation Studies (University of Manchester, UK). Professor Chen has been teaching Chinese-English translation and interpretation (T&I) since 1997. He has over 25 years of experience in practicing T&I, providing services to major corporations, government agencies, and international organizations spanning across Asia and North America. Professor Chen lectures in a wide variety of T&I areas, including professional skill development, pedagogy, T&I technology, professional assessment, T&I practice, and corpus-based T&I studies.