On May 15, 2015, the AAIT welcomed the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) to Atlanta for their 36th Annual Conference. We overwhelmingly heard that NAJIT loved and very much appreciated our southern hospitality by hosting a Welcome Mixer on Friday night, providing attendees with a ‘What to do in Atlanta’ flyer, organizing a salsa night and putting together a Georgia-specific panel on the state of court interpreting in Georgia. It was a perfect balance of business and pleasure and we hope you all took advantage of and enjoyed this fantastic opportunity for professional development and networking.

NAJIT is very graciously permitting us to share the information and resources pertaining to the panel on court interpreting in Georgia. They are attached below for your information and reference.


NAJIT Conference 2015 Logo


9:30 am ‐ 10:30 am, Saturday, May 16th, 2015

Instructor: Panelists listed in description

Level: All

Language: Language Neutral


  • Hon. Norman Cuadra, Chief Judge, Suwanee / Georgia Commission on Interpreters Board Member; Linda Eberenz, FCI, SCCI, Spanish;
  • Jana Edmondson-Cooper, Esq. Georgia Legal Services Program, Macon Regional Office, Member, Supreme Court of Georgia Commission on Interpreters;
  • Hon. Dax Lopez, Judge, DeKalb County State Court;
  • Silvia Sham, Conditionally Approved Interpreter, Cantonese;
  • Maria Ceballos-Wallis, Moderator
  • This discussion panel session features key stakeholders responsible for ensuring meaningful language access in Georgia courts. During the session, the challenges encountered by court interpreters will be explored, and proven “best practices” and resources will be presented to help ensure compliance with the demands of the Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters.

Objectives: Attendees will-

  1. Gain an understanding of the role played by different judges, courts, and the GCOI in ensuring access to justice through the role played by interpreters in Georgia courts,
  2. Present a status update on Georgia’s Language Access Plan and how this may impact the interpreter’s role,
  3. Discuss model protocols for working with interpreters and ways of incorporating best practices,
  4. Consider how interpreters can participate as stakeholders in supporting any improvements made to court procedure and promote the adoption of best practices for working with court interpreters.

Panelist Bios:

Jana Edmondson-Cooper, Esq. Georgia Legal Services Program, Macon Regional Office, Member, Supreme Court of Georgia Commission on Interpreters Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper provides bilingual legal counsel and representation to low-income individuals, the majority of whom are limited English proficient (LEP), in federal and state administrative forums as well as courts of law. Her areas of practice include family law, health law, housing, public benefits, wills & estates and education law with a focus on language access as an access to justice issue. Jana draws upon her past experience as a professional legal interpreter and current role as a bilingual legal services attorney with Georgia Legal Services Program to engage in strategic access to justice advocacy including but not limited to contributing to the development of statewide and national curricula for training attorneys and judges on language access as an access to justice issue as well as the development of local, state and federal language access policies. Additional details about her advocacy may be found at www.linkedin.com/in/jjecesq/ .

The Honorable Norman Cuadra, Chief Judge, Suwanee / Georgia Commission on Interpreters Board Member Norman H. Cuadra – married 21 years, father of three girls. Judge Cuadra is a member of Sugar Hill Church. He has been practicing in Georgia since 1995. Cuadra is the Chief Judge, City of Suwanee. Prior to his current appointment, he was Municipal Court Judge City of Doraville. He is a member of the North Gwinnett School Foundation, North Gwinnett high School Mock Trial Coach, and Managing member of Cuadra & Patel, LLC. Judge Cuadra is a prior prosecutor, public defender and felony probation officer.

Linda Jo Eberenz was born in Jacksonville, NC and moved to the Republic of Panama at 4 years of age. She graduated college from University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis on Economics and worked 23 years for the Department of Defense and the Panama Canal Commission in the Republic of Panama in various specialties in the Human Resources field. Linda moved to Athens, GA in December 1999 and in 2002 started a new career as an interpreter, where she worked the full range of judicial cases and venues. Linda believes each case is important to the individuals involved and always strives to do her best. She has been tested and is certified as an interpreter (English – Spanish) by the State of Georgia, the Federal Government and the National Association of Judicial Interpreters and Translators. She also serves as an instructor for the Georgia Commission on Interpreters, leading workshops/orientations for those interested in the field of interpretation. Linda also works as an employment/labor arbitrator several times per year with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services.

Hon. Dax Lopez, Judge, DeKalb County State Court- Originally from Puerto Rico, Dax Lopez moved to Georgia at the age of six. Dax attended Vanderbilt University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. He obtained his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School, where he served as president of the Vanderbilt Bar Association and as an editor on the Vanderbilt Journal Transnational Law. After graduation, Dax served as the law clerk for the Hon. Hector M. Laffitte in the Federal District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. Dax returned to Atlanta in 2002 to commence his career as an attorney at Holland & Knight, LLP, 8 where he practiced in the complex civil litigation group for three years. In 2005, he joined the litigation group at Ashe, Rafuse & Hill, where he handled class actions, employment matters, and product liability cases. In 2008, Dax furthered his commercial litigation experience by joining the litigation group at Foltz & Martin LLC, where he practiced until his appointment to the DeKalb County State Court in 2010. Dax is a past president of the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, and remains active in and committed to several other civic and community organizations. Dax is married to attorney Zulma Lopez. Together they are the proud parents of three children: Roberto Carlos, Sebastian, and Elisa.

Sylvia Sham, Conditionally Approved Interpreter, Cantonese. Sylvia Sham is a Hong Kong native immigrant. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Her working languages are English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Enping dialects. Since 1999, she began working as a full-time freelance court interpreter and medical interpreter in Georgia. As a Registered Court Interpreter in Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) from 2003-2008 and the Conditionally Approved Court Interpreter (Cantonese) since 2009, she primarily works as a contractor interpreter in different courts throughout Georgia. Sylvia had served as the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Association of Interpreters and Translators (AAIT) from 2007-2009. Constantly striving to expand her knowledge through continuing education, Sylvia also passed both written exams of CCHI’s Associate Healthcare Interpreter Examination (AHI) in 2014 and the IMIA’s National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters in 2010.

Maria Ceballos-Wallis, Certified Spanish Interpreter (Moderator)-Maria Ceballos-Wallis is a Georgia/Florida Certified Spanish Interpreter on staff with the DeKalb County State Court, in Decatur, GA. She has occupied various key positions on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Association of Interpreters and Translators since 2011 and worked in multilingual communications since 1990. Her passion has always been eliminating barriers to effective communication through the mastery of language and the media. In addition to being an accomplished television producer, in 2002, Maria received a certificate in translation studies from Florida International University and was certified as Spanish/English translator by the National Australian Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). She is also a Georgiaregistered civil and domestic mediator. Maria holds an M.A. in international studies from Florida International University (FIU) and a B.A. in communication arts with a minor in French from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. She has also taught English as a second language at Miami Dade Community College and lectured on mass communications as an adjunct at Florida International University (Spanish/English).