Translators Associations North America: NAJIT

Improving interaction with the judicial system

Translators Associations North America: NAJITThe National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) has chosen for itself the important mission of promoting quality services in the field of legal interpreting and translating in the United States of America. Its members “play a critical role in ensuring due process, equal protection and equal access for non-English or limited English proficient (LEP) individuals who interact with the judicial system”.

According to 2011 figures, the judiciary translators association has more than 1200 professional members, including practising spoken language judiciary interpreters and translators but also others who interpret and translate in other areas of the profession, judges, academic, linguists, researchers, students and translation agencies. There is also a growing number of members of NAJIT who work as interpreters between English and American Sign Language (ASL).

Most of the members of this translation association live within US borders, but the NAJIT also has associates residing and working in Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia. As a matter of fact, the organisation welcomes anyone who has an interest in the field of judiciary interpreting and translating or who shares the interests of the association itself.

All activities organised by the translators association are supported through membership dues and donations made by members. Even if there aren’t any formal requirements to join besides an interest in the profession, most of NAJIT’s members are certified professionals, holding “professional credentials such as federal and/or state court interpreter certification, national judiciary interpreter and translator certification by NAJIT, interpreter certification by RID (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf), translator certification by ATA (American Translators Association), approval by the US Department of State (for escort, seminar or conference interpreting)” or other certificates given by governmental agencies or international organisations.

At the moment, the translators association has five membership categories: Active, Associate, Corporate and Corporate Sponsor, Organisational and Student.

Active members are people who are “engaged in the remunerated practice of judiciary interpretation and / or translation”. As for the Student category, it is aimed at any person who is a full-time student (according to definition by the Membership Committee). Associate members are those who simply share an interest in the profession or the translators association.

An Organisational member of NAJIT is a “public or private educational institution, governmental entity, library, or nonprofit corporation with an interest in judiciary interpreting and / or translation”. In this case, membership is attributed in the name of the organisation and not of its individual representative. Each organisation is allowed the presence of one representative at events sponsored by NAJIT, at the members’ rate.

Finally, Corporate and Corporate Sponsor membership is for businesses with an interest in judiciary translation and interpreting (like translation companies). In these cases, just like in the above-mentioned category, the corporation is the member and its representatives. Just like for Organisational members, one representative of each member is allowed to attend NAJIT-sponsored events at member rate.

When you sign up to become a member of NAJIT, you gain access to many benefits. Examples of these are the full listing in the association’s online membership directory (for Active and Corporate members only), subscription of Proteus, NAJIT’s newsletter published three times a year, with articles on court interpretation and legal translation, or participation in NAJIT’s “lively and informative members’ listserv”. This provides an opportunity for members to share experiences, insight and resources, exchange terminology, discuss standards of transcription and translation, etc.

Another advantage of being a member of this American translation association is the access to language specific interpreting and translation skills-building workshops at reduced rates (in Spanish and other languages, with certification testing preparation courses). Deals also apply to continuing education sessions, professional liability insurance, registration for regional and local workshops, as well as NAJIT’s conferences.

As a member of NAJIT, you automatically subscribe to CyberNews, the association’s automatic email updates with training opportunities, meetings and other interesting matters. A combination with the American Red Cross also offers members of NAJIT the opportunity to volunteer in the event of a disaster.

Active members have the right to vote and hold office. There is also the possibility to benefit from opportunities for committee membership and participation in special projects developed by NAJIT, as well as to chair committees and “be actively involved in NAJIT decision-making and long-term planning”.

Other than Proteus and Cybernews, The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators also publishes several position papers on professional issues that affect interpreters and translators. These cover a wide range of questions, from “summary interpretation in the court room” to issues concerning telephone interpretation. The association’s position papers are made available to the general public, for free.

Keep in mind that the official language of the United States of America is English. This is the most widely spread tongue in the world, with around 328 million native English speakers (the actual figures are estimated to be much higher).

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