National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare names Found in Translation as a 2022 Language Access Champion Awardee

We are deeply honored to share that Found in Translation is a 2022 recipient of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC) Language Access Champion Award!

Staff celebrating the award in a Zoom meeting
Maria with the award

The NCIHC is a multidisciplinary organization of professionals dedicated to advancing language access and the interpreting profession. The group is composed of leaders from around the world who work as medical interpreters, interpreter service coordinators and trainers, clinicians, policymakers, advocates and researchers.

The Language Access Champion Award honors a person, program, or organization whose work has contributed to improving the lives of all persons through the promotion of language access in health care. We share this year’s award with Melinda Paras. Chosen by the organization’s membership, the 2022 awards were presented at the NCIHC annual membership meeting, which took place online at the end of April.

Read Maria’s acceptance speech here: 

“It is a real honor to receive this award on behalf of Found in Translation. I started this organization 10 years ago seeing opportunities for economic mobility that were perfect for immigrant women, and also seeing a talent bottleneck in the interpreting field. Populations that we serve are disproportionately affected by poverty, which means that so many talented people who could be interpreters are kept out of the field for no defensible reason at all, just by economic barriers. I am really proud of the economic mobility we are creating, and I am equally proud of how we are elevating the level of talent in the interpreting field by opening up this pipeline. 

Our success is owed to this whole community – many of you are here today. We couldn’t do this without employers, and we wouldn’t be as successful as we are at increasing employment rates, increasing wages, if the employers of interpreters weren’t as excited as we are about the level of talent that we are pushing out through our program. This is something that I would love to see adopted widely. We are just based in Boston, but in every major metropolis in the US and maybe even abroad are LEP people who need interpreters to access healthcare and other vital services, and there are so many talented bilingual people who would make great interpreters if only they were given the chance. 

Now, I’m not an interpreter myself, but I love this field, and I want to protect this field. It is a field of largely women, almost entirely immigrants, and so many people of color. These are populations that are often left behind, and I am seeing that happening right now with wage stagnation, with sketchy labor practices and exploitation that are threatening to make this field not sustainable. I hope that this award brings visibility to our work – not just to celebrate it, but also to mobilize us all to come together and make sure interpreting stays a living wage profession for decades to come.”

Maria Vertkin (left) accepting the award at a pre-recorded event

Read the official press release here: