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UMTIA: Upper Midwest Translators & Interpreters Association, A Chapter of the ATA

Meet the Board

The Executive Board is a group of dedicated, passionate volunteers who are elected by the membership to oversee the business of the entire organization. The board consists of up to twelve members who serve two year terms, and in doing so, contribute many hours of time and effort to the organization. Each board member has a specific office to fulfill, such as secretary, treasurer or member at large, while representing the best interests of UMTIA members and running the association. The Executive Board is in charge of the governance, finances and decision making regarding the direction of the organization.

If you’re interested in helping to shape the field, and creating new opportunities for both yourself and your fellow colleagues to learn and connect, consider getting involved by volunteering on the Executive Board.

On this page, you can find out more about the volunteers that make up the leadership team. Members are welcome to join the Executive Board for their monthly meeting. If you’d like to attend, please email info@umtia.org. You may also email us if you have an idea, question or issue you'd like the leadership team to consider. UMTIA is your association, and we need to hear from you to know what direction to take!

AIDA AZZAZI, PRESIDENT, 2022-2023 TERM

Aida is a special education district interpreter, translator, trainer, mentor and presenter at Minneapolis Public Schools. She interprets for student evaluations, Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings for families with students age 5 to 21 who have special needs, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Developmental Cognitive Disabilities (DCD), Emotional Behavior Disorders, Deaf Hard of Hearing (D/HH) and other disabilities. She trains and mentors new interpreters across the district. On the topic of Exploring Interpreting and Translation as a Career, Aida enjoys presenting to bilingual students from middle school to college, to inspire, encourage and support the next generation entering the field. 

As President of the Upper Midwest Translators and Interpreters Association (UMTIA) and a member of the American Translators Association (ATA), Aida organizes webinars for Interpreters and translators in medical, legal and education, for continuing education credits. She has organized the ATA translation certification exam in Minnesota for several years and also has experience as a freelance translation project manager. Aida has supported the Interpreting in Education class at Century College as a reviewer, guest speaker and serves on the TRIN advisory committee. Aida holds a Certificate from the University of Minnesota Translation and Interpreting Program where she focused on the medical, legal and special education areas and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD). 

MAURICIO MONTES DE OCA, CHITM, VICE PRESIDENT, 2022-2023 TERM

Mauricio is from Mexico City and has been an interpreter for seventeen years.  He joined the medical interpreters team at the University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview 18 years ago.  Mauricio has been involved with UMTIA for over a decade and has volunteered for multiple organizations to support the interpreting community.  Mauricio also provides educational training sessions to hospital and clinic staff to help providers understand the role of the interpreter and to share ideas for how to better serve patients who require spoken or sign language interpreters. Mauricio is passionate about the development of the profession and has participated continuously in helping it grow.  He is nationally certified through CCHI and has participated with different organizations that focus on interpreter development.  He has been involved in the development of and the negotiations for promoting an Interpreter Bill that would meet patients’ and interpreters’ needs.


DAVID COATS, ATA CT G>E, TREASURER, 2022-2023 TERM

David Coats is one of the founding members of UMTIA. He has been a freelance translator since 1986, and is ATA-certified for German into English. Now retired from the field of psychotherapy, he worked for 37 years as a psychotherapist in public and private practice; including 18 years as a Social Worker in the field of civil commitments, working closely with the Probate Court and the medical system. Prior to obtaining his Master’s in Social Work, he studied engineering and sociology. He specializes in translation of highly technical material and patents, as well as medical and legal material.



LILIAN PAULINA ALARCON BRITO, SECRETARY, 2022-2023 TERM

Lilian Paulina has been working as an Interpreter and Translator since 2020 for the Early Childhood Special Education Program at Minneapolis Public Schools, she has completed her training for interpreting in health care, education and human services with the Cross-Cultural Communications Program, later on she completed the training in Special Education For Interpreters at the University of Minnesota. She is originally from Chile where she worked as a Clinical Psychologist for seven years with children and their families in school and community settings. She enjoys practicing Reiki and doing dream work.



EVE MACLEISH, MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR, 2022-2023 TERM

Eve MacLeish has worked as a medical interpreter since 2004, and at Children's Hospitals & Clinics of MN since 2006. She completed the University of Minnesota’s TrIn certificate program in 2006. Eve produces a radio program of Latin music and culture, Corazon Latino, every Friday from 2-4 pm on KFAI Community Radio. She formerly resided in Merida, Venezuela, with her bicultural family for nearly 14 years.



YVONNE ARAIZA, CHITM, MEDIA MANAGER, 2022-2023 TERM

Yvonne Araiza was born and raised in Mexico and attended Universidad Tecnológica del Norte de Guanajuato where she received an Associate of Arts degree in Commercialization. After relocating to the Twin Cities in 1998, she worked in different positions in Sales and Customer Service. In 2009 she switched career and enrolled in the Certificate Program in Translation and Interpreting at the University of Minnesota. In 2014 she became a Certified Healthcare Interpreter. Her professional experience has been as an in-house interpreter and as a freelancer.  She currently works at Intelligere as a Talent Acquisitions Specialist/Interpreter. One of her biggest interests is public policy and officially establishing the minimal requirements for spoken language Interpreters in the medical setting. Yvonne has been a member of UMTIA since 2010 and she frequently volunteers at UMTIA’s events. She has been part on the Board of Directors of ISG (2016-2017) and she has been involved in the drafting of the bill for spoken language Interpreters in the medical settings.



PATRICIA CONTAG, ATA CT Eng>Sp, CHITM, MEMBER-AT-LARGE, 2022-2023 TERM

I was born in Quito, Ecuador, where I obtained a degree in English, and worked as a school teacher and private tutor. Currently, I am certified by the American Translators Association as an English-Spanish translator and by the Commission for Healthcare Interpreters as medical interpreter. For the last 15 years, I’ve worked for Mayo Clinic both on-site and off-campus.




RICHARD LAURION, MEMBER-AT-LARGE, 2022-2023 TERM

Richard Laurion has a B.A. in Organizational Management, an M.A. in Organizational Leadership and a graduate certificate in Strategic Management and is certified from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf since 1987.  He has 40 years of leadership experience developing and managing programs and services in both the public and private sectors.  He has been a mentor and teacher of interpreters since 1988.  Richard has distinguished his leadership in the field having served on boards of directors for the local and national Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT).  He has also served on boards for the Commission Serving Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans, the Northern Sign Theater, Grant Professionals Association – Northstar Chapter and ThinkSelf, Inc



PERLA MORLEY, MEMBER-AT-LARGE, 2022-2023 TERM

Perla Morley was born and raised in Guerrero, Mexico. She earned a BA in Translation Studies from the Instituto Superior de Intérpretes y Traductores in Mexico City before moving to Minnesota in 1997. Perla worked as a translator, editor, proofreader, and project coordinator for CREO International (later called TripleInk) for six years and then switched careers to become a medical interpreter and translator for Children’s Minnesota. Perla enjoys both the human touch that interpreting provides and having time to ponder the best way to translate something that translation work allows (sometimes).



STEPHEN SEWELL, MEMBER-AT-LARGE, 2022-2023 TERM

Stephen Sewell’s first experience as an ad hoc medical interpreter was at the University of Minnesota Hospitals in 1971, when he was transporting patients to and from Radiology. He has pursued his interest in Spanish language and culture through various community service jobs in addition to his work as a teacher of Spanish. His wide-ranging interests include cognitive development, music and the brain, cooking and gardening. He is especially interested in encouraging others to explore learning and self-care opportunities. He is a licensed trainer for The Community Interpreter International course.



MARY BARRERA, ADMINISTRATIVE & MEDIA ASSISTANT 

Mary was born and raised in Puebla, Mexico, where she worked as an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instructor for over 7 years, and as a Cambridge Speaking Examiner for the University of Cambridge, UK. She completed The Community Interpreter training program in 2012 and has been working as a medical interpreter and translator since then. She also works as an author writing EFL textbooks for Spanish-speaking students in Latin America. Mary is a member of the ATA and has collaborated with the Delaware Valley Translators Association as a guest author for the DVTA Blog.  She has an undergraduate degree in Applied Language Studies, and a Master’s of Science in Translation from New York University. Mary joined UMTIA because she believes it is necessary for interpreters and translators to have an association where they can advance the profession through education and training while also advocating for their rights and interests. She sees UMTIA as a vital space for interpreters and translators, where they can network, talk about common objectives and mutual interests, make their voices heard, and promote high standards of professional ethics and business practices within the fields. 


For a list of previous board members, see our Board Member History.


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A CHAPTER OF THE ATA

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