Archive for category T&I

MIIS to Offer New Intensive Training Program for Spanish-English Community Interpreters

Professor Holly Mikkelson

Professor Holly Mikkelson (center) is among the faculty teaching in the Monterey Institute’s new Spanish Community Interpretation Program.

Beginning in January 2015, the Monterey Institute of International Studies will offer a fast track to professional interpreting positions in bilingual Spanish-English communities through its new six-month Spanish Community Interpretation Certificate program.

The new program is designed as a hybrid, low-residency program that begins with an on-site, four-week module on the Monterey Institute campus in January, continues with an online module through the spring, and culminates with a seven-week summer module back in Monterey. The concluding summer module includes a week of intensive preparation for medical and court certification exams.

Participants who complete the certificate will be eligible for many freelance or staff positions at courts, law firms, hospitals, clinics, school districts and other public service centers. Ideal candidates for the program should have a bachelor’s degree, strong bilingual and bicultural skills, and an interest in using their language and cultural backgrounds to facilitate communication in these important community environments.

The program features nationally-known faculty who are active interpreters and translators in the community market, teaching a curriculum that offers participants a solid foundation in written translation, sight translation, consecutive dialogue interpreting and simultaneous interpreting.
The Monterey Institute’s state-of-the-art interpreting lab facilities enable participants to develop and hone their professional skills with extensive individual feedback.

For more information, or to apply to the Monterey Institute’s Spanish Community Interpretation Certificate program, please visit


MIIS Students Again Dominate International Interpreting Competition

Newcastle International Interpreting Competition

Student competitors: Suwen Feng (MACI ’14, 1st place), Yanbo Wang (MACI ’14, 3rd place), Xinyu (Jennifer) Zhang (MACI ’14, 5th place) with Prof. Wallace Chen (MATI ’95, 2nd from left)

Monterey Institute students participating in the 2nd Televic Simultaneous Interpreting Competition in Newcastle, placed individually in first, third and fifth place. Suwen Feng (MATI ’14) placed first in the competition, Yanbo Wang (MATI ’14) third and their classmate Jennifer Zhang (MATI ’14) also made it to the final round to ultimately place fifth. The students are all graduating this spring from the Chinese Translation and Interpretation program.

The MIIS delegation was led by Professor Wallace Chen and it is the second year in row that a MIIS student won the competition. “Together, the three highly talented contestants made MIIS and Chinese T&I shine once again after our first victory last year,” said Prof. Chen.


New Service-Learning Course Teaches Students to Design Programs by Participation

Girls’ Health in Girls’ Hands

Lynn Bentaleb (MPA ’08), Kathryn Lattman (MAIEM ’14), Amitay Flores (MAIPS ’14), Molly McMills (MPA ’13), Maria Kovell (MPA ’14), Ali Philbrick (MAIEM ’14), and Natalie Cox (MPA ’14) at the Girls’ Health in Girls’ Hands Summit.

Monterey Institute students from the International Education Management, Public Administration, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Teaching a Foreign Language, and Translation and Interpretation degree programs are participating in a new course this semester, learning about program design while working with seven local organizations on projects that further each of their missions.

The new course, “Service-Learning: International and Domestic Community Partnerships,” was developed and taught by Professor Netta Avineri, who is passionate about civic engagement and likes to connect her lessons with real world applications. The organizations are: Big Sur Charter School, Community Assessment of Monterey County, Girls' Health in Girls' Hands, International School of Monterey, Lyceum, National Steinbeck Center, and the YMCA.

Alexandra (Ali) Philbrick (MAIEM ’14) and Kathryn Lattman (MAIEM ’15) have been working with the Girls’ Health in Girls’ Hands initiative this semester. Every year girls in Monterey County organize a summit with peer-taught sessions, which Ali and Kathryn attended. They are working on a video to help the next group of girl organizers and also helping out with curriculum design, activities, and lessons, and doing research for a report.

“It could not be more perfect for me,” shares Ali, who will build on her experience working with local girls when she heads off to Peru for the practicum portion of her degree in the fall. In Peru, she will be working with the nonprofit organization Girlsportworks whose mission is to teach life skills to young women through athletics. “This is exactly what I want to be doing in the future,” she says. “Netta put a lot of thought into this,” says Kathryn appreciatively of the course, and adds that “you can’t beat the opportunity to learn by doing and do good at the same time by helping others.”


Monterey Institute Professor Interprets for First Lady Michelle Obama During Visit to China

Laura Burian in China

Prof. Laura Burian (center-left) of the Monterey Institute interpreting for First Lady Michelle Obama in China. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

“It was very inspiring to see our professor in action and working with such high-profile individuals,” says Joan Li-Chun Wang (MATI ’14) of the photos in national and international media showing Professor Laura Burian of the Monterey Institute next to First Lady Michelle Obama, serving as official interpreter during her visit to China.

It was no surprise to her students that Translation and Interpretation Prof. Burian is a highly accomplished and respected interpreter who works with the highest levels of government, but seeing her appear in media coverage of the First Lady’s visit to China hit home for many of them. “It serves as motivation for us, reminding us that we are not far away from interpreting at the top level,” says Weihao Zhang (MACI ’14), “and if we work hard, maybe one day we will be able to have such opportunities as well.”

Weihao Zhang was especially “thrilled” to hear that the First Lady had included his home high school in her itinerary. “In addition to its pioneering strides of connecting remote schools in rural areas with online classrooms, Chengdu #7 High School really stands out in its focus on international education and partnership.”

Joan Wang says that she could see from media reports and videos how crucial Prof. Burian’s role was in facilitating communications between the First Lady and the people she met. She adds that she thinks it was “nice to see how important to role of the interpreter is, especially to students of interpretation.”

Prof. Burian says that it was very exciting to participate in this trip: “I am truly honored to have been entrusted with this assignment.” For Weihao Zhang it was further evidence “that our education here at MIIS is provided by the most prestigious practitioners in the field, which is truly valuable.”


Alumna Johanna Parker: As a Medical Interpreter, “I Get to Learn Something New Every Day”

Johanna Parker

Johanna Parker (MATI ’05)

Monterey Institute alumna Johanna Parker (MATI ’05) gets to combine her love of language with a natural intellectual curiosity in her career as a professional interpreter. As a student in the Translation and Interpretation program in Monterey, she secured an internship at Stanford Hospitals and Clinics and fell in love with the fast-growing profession of medical interpreting. “You really get the feeling that you are making a real difference in people’s lives,” she says of the experience.

When she graduated she had a job lined up at Stanford Hospitals, where she has continued to grow her expertise, and currently holds the position of Lead Interpreter for Education and Training. She also teaches medical interpreting at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “I find medicine very interesting and learn something new every day.” Johanna works with several Institute alumni at Stanford Hospitals, and every year her employer welcomes nine MIIS students as interns.

Medical interpreting is in many ways more personal than traditional conference interpreting where the interpreter is removed from the speaker in a booth. For medical interpreters, “the ultimate goal of the encounter is understanding,” Johanna explains, and the interpreter can ask questions and has the freedom to use clarifying language. The personal interactions can also be difficult, as when interpreters have to break bad news or interpret last rites. The field of medical interpreting is “really coming into its own,” says Johanna, adding that the demand for specialized medical interpretation expertise is growing fast.

Although a respected expert in the field of medical interpreting, Johanna also finds time to expand her horizons further working as a seminar interpreter for the U.S. State Department, where she gets to delve deep into other subjects such as fisheries and foreign affairs. “MIIS really teaches students how to study and how to prepare for anything, which is a big part of the profession.”

Tags: ,

Clifford Symposium Features “Innovative Collaboration” Between Middlebury & MIIS

Monterey Institute participants in Clifford Symposium

Monterey Institute Participants in Clifford Symposium

The Monterey Institute was well represented at the 2013 Clifford Symposium held at Middlebury College September 24-28. Eight faculty and alumni traveled to Vermont to participate in the event, which was dedicated to "Translation in a Global Community: Theory and Practice."

The 2013 Clifford Symposium brought together students, faculty, and staff of Middlebury and the Monterey Institute, as well as members of the community at large, to explore many forms of translation and to show how translation and translators contribute to a complex cultural environment.

The event was "the product of innovative collaboration between Middlebury and Monterey faculty, highlighting the distinctive strengths of academic programs on both campuses," remarked Tim Spears, vice president for academic affairs at Middlebury College. "From a Middlebury perspective, I particularly enjoyed seeing two Monterey graduates simultaneously interpreting the symposium's proceedings into Chinese."

"We were honored to be a part of this remarkable event with such a wide variety of speakers from all over," said assistant professor Max Troyer, who led the Monterey delegation, "I really felt like the Monterey Institute and Middlebury are one body, united in a common mission."


Love of Language and Family Brings Sisters to MIIS


Ahra and Ahri Lee’s sunny smiles light up the Samson Student Center patio.

Very similar names and the same radiant smile are among the many things that lead people to confuse sisters Ahri and Ahra Lee. Now that they are both pursuing a graduate degree in translation and interpretation (T&I) at the Monterey Institute, their different career aspirations offer clear evidence of the diverse opportunities this degree offers.

Older sister Ahri studied biochemistry and research as an undergraduate student at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. After working in a lab after graduating, she realized that she was too social for a life dedicated to biochemistry research. She thought about going to medical school and becoming a pediatrician, but during an internship at a hospital found that she “hated seeing children suffer.” 

After careful consideration, she chose the T&I program at the Monterey Institute because she could combine her love of languages with her scientific background. This summer, with help from MIIS she was able to secure an internship at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva as a technical specialist, assisting translators with scientific understanding. “That is actually what I was dreaming about,” she says, adding that she is very excited about her career prospects as a scientifically focused translator or technical specialist.

“Ahri’s internship made me realize that a lot of opportunities open up when you attend MIIS,” says younger sister Ahra. She majored in International Relations at Mount Holyoke. “We have very different interests and strengths,” she says, laughing. Both sisters took Chinese as a minor and Ahri sometimes tutored her younger sister. Ahra has aspirations for a career where she can build on her international relations interests and is considering taking courses in the Graduate School of International Policy and Management

It has not always been easy to be the one to follow in the footsteps of the older sister who got “all the science awards in high school,” but Ahra says with a big smile: “I got over it!” Their parents live in New Hampshire and are very happy to have their daughters together. And having someone you know and love so close is also enviable: “Many people are jealous of me for having my sister here!” says Ahra. 



MIIS Student Wins Interpreting Competition in England

Chung Kuan Chen

Chung-kuan Chen (MACI ’14) holds his first prize trophy, with Professor Wallace Chen.

Congratulations to Chung-kuan (John) Chen (MACI ’14) who won first prize at the 2013 Televic Chinese-English Simultaneous Interpreting Competition held at Newcastle University in England in September. This first competition of its kind featured a series of keynote speeches in a simulated conference with English and Mandarin Chinese as the working languages.

A total of 21 contestants from nine Translation & Interpretation programs in the U.K., Taiwan, and the U.S. participated in the competition. John made it through a series of contests with unmatched skills and professionalism. Mr. Nöel Muylle, honorary director general of the European Commission and convener of the competition called John “a pearl of the game.”

Professor Wallace Chen was invited to serve on the panel of judges at the competition. He says the performance of MIIS students in the competition drew attention to the “superb training we offer at the Monterey Institute,” adding that this was a “day of pride for the Chinese Translation and Interpretation program, GSTILE and the Monterey Institute.”


MIIS Welcomes 10 New Faculty Members this Fall

New Faculty 2013

New faculty at MIIS (top row from left) Irene Chen, Thor Sawin, Meggan Madden, Masaomi Kondo, Netta Avineri (bottom row from left) Jason Martel, Max Troyer. Not pictured, Abdelkader Berrahmoun and Sieun Lee."

Signalling continuous growth and expansion of academic programs, the Monterey Institute welcomed ten new faculty members this fall. The new faculty reflect the diverse campus, arriving from near and far and bringing a range of new experience and knowledge to share with students in different programs.

  • Netta Avineri joins MIIS as a visiting professor from UCLA and will teach courses related to her field of applied linguistics. She is excited about teaching at MIIS “because of its outward thinking that encourages students to ‘be the solution.’” The “ethos of connecting theory to practice while maintaining a global outlook” is also very appealing to her.
  • Abdelkader Berrahmoun hails from Oran, Algeria and will be teaching in the Arabic language program. He is passionate about expanding students’ awareness of Arabic culture and language.
  • Irene Chen has already taught Chinese Language Studies for one semester. She is really impressed with her students and says she has learned a lot when they share in class their experiences working with people from different cultures.
  • Masaomi Kondo brings vast experience and expertise to his new position teaching Japanese Translation and Interpretation at MIIS. He was a founding member of the Interpreting Association of Japan in 1990 and the Founding President of the Japan Association for Interpretation Studies (JAIS) from 2000-2003.
  • Meggan Madden joins MIIS with more than thirteen years of experience in the field of international higher education. She will be a welcome addition to the rapidly growing International Education Management Program. As an international educator, Meggan has been keenly interested in the recruiting, evaluating and admitting processes of international admissions, particularly in how the quality of the students and their academic preparedness are assessed.
  • Jason Martel is passionate about working with language teachers to develop curricula and pedagogical practices that promote students’ language acquisition and critical thinking skills. He is really excited about the people he will be working with and is very happy with the generous welcome he has received from other faculty and staff.
  • Visiting professor Sieun Lee (MAT '08) has been working as a freelance interpreter and translator since 1991. Apart from her graduate degrees in translation and interpretation she recently earned a Master's Degree in Instructional Science and Technology and she likes to incorporate technology in the classroom to enhance learning experiences.
  • Thor Sawin took nine days to drive to Monterey from his last post in South Carolina. He is a sociolinguist especially interested in the sociolinguistics of globalization, primarily the phenomenon of adult language learning and its attendant power and identity issues. He will be joining the TESOL faculty, like Jason Martel. And like Jason, he appreciates the warm reception: “It is wonderful to experience how invested people here at MIIS are in our success.”
  • Last, but certainly not least, is MIIS alumnus Max Troyer (MAT ’09), who is well known to students of Translation and Localization Management but is making the transition from being an adjunct to a full-time position. Max will continue to freelance as an international translation consultant and he always finds time to keep up with the latest technology in the field. “By continuously adapting and revising my curriculum, I make sure our students are current and competitive upon graduation.”


Fall Forum Provides Students with Excellent Interpretation Opportunities

2012 Fall Forum

The 2012 Fall Forum at MIIS featured consecutive interpretation in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Spanish.

"Game On! A Discussion about Sports" was a fitting topic for the 2012 Monterey Institute of International Studies' Fall Forum, which annually offers students in the Institute's interpretation programs the opportunity to hone their craft in a professional conference setting.

Hosted each year by the Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation, and Language Education at MIIS, the Fall Forum serves a two-fold purpose, exploring relevant issues of our time while offering second-year students in the Institute's Conference Interpretation and Translation and Interpretation programs the unique opportunity to perform consecutive interpretation in a professional conference setting.

At this year's Fall Forum, three panels focused on the interrelated topics of sports and health; sports and money; and sports, culture and gender. Speakers with diverse professional and personal backgrounds shared their views in their native languages, with consecutive interpretation into English provided for attendees.