Natalia Cardillo recently passed her examinations to be a Federally Certified Court Interpreter. The instructor of Spanish Interpreting within the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Nevada, Reno is one of just seven Federally Certified Court Interpreters in the state of Nevada. She is the only one in Reno with this honor.
“I’ve been a professional Spanish interpreter for more than 10 years,” Cardillo said. “I love challenges, so I made the decision to start studying for the Federal Court Interpreter certification. I am thrilled to say I passed the very rigorous exams and have obtained federal certification. It is such a big accomplishment for me, especially having started this journey by moving alone to the United States.”
Cardillo, who grew up in Paraguay, moved to the United States after college to study English. After taking English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults for three months, she decided to extend her stay in the U.S. to further her studies. This began her path from learning a new language to studying at the University of Nevada, Reno where she graduated with her master’s degree in Justice Management in 2013.
Since 2009, Cardillo has been professionally interpreting, translating and doing presentations and trainings in legal interpretation and language access for limited English speakers.
“Court interpreters are fundamental to providing language access in the U.S.,” Cardillo said. “Without the expertise of Certified Court Interpreters, effective communication would be impossible for people with limited English proficiency. Interpreters provide an unbiased and accurate interpretation so that the prosecution and the defense can communicate with defendants, witnesses and victims of crime with limited English proficiency.”
Cardillo is part of the faculty at the University who teaches in the Spanish through the Professions Specialization, designed for students who wish to further their communication skills and cultural knowledge to perform language services in professional settings.
“This specialization allows for students to maximize their Spanish/English bilingual skills to take their career to the next level,” Casilde Isabelli, interim dean for the College of Liberal Arts, said. “It shows potential employers that they possess the skillsets they are looking for including language proficiency and cultural competencies for a broad array of professions that include business, education, health, law and criminal justice, as well as translation and interpretation.”
Both Isabelli and Cardillo encourage bilingual students to pursue additional training to acquire the skills and knowledge to become certified to increase their employment opportunities. Currently, there is a shortage of professional interpreters in Nevada. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 20 percent from 2021 to 2031.