OUr Board of Directors

Meet our NOTIS Officers and Directors: January-December 2023 CONTACT THE BOARD Email the Board   


Laura Friend is an ATA-certified Russian and French to English translator specializing in legal translation. She is originally from the Washington, D.C. area and has traveled widely. She attended elementary school in Paris, France for two years and has studied, worked and lived in Russia (back in the USSR), Spain and Germany. Later she taught Russian as an adjunct professor and a teaching assistant at Georgetown University and the University of Washington. Her other languages include Czech, Spanish and German. Laura holds degrees in Russian language, culture and area studies from Yale University, the University of Washington and Middlebury College, as well as certificates from the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute and Leningrad State University. She has lived in the Puget Sound area for over twenty years, first in Seattle and now on the Kitsap Peninsula. In 2017 Laura chaired the ATA Slavic Languages Division Nominating Committee. She has interpreted informally for food banks, churches and hospitals; she is also a former Red Cross volunteer. She loves nature, music, film and reading. Her favorite cult film director is Guillermo del Toro.

Vice President

Maria Lucas is an ATA-certified English to Spanish translator and a federally certified court interpreter, who is also certified by the states of California and Washington.  She was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain and attended Universitat de Barcelona where she obtained a B.A. in Romance Languages Philology and was awarded an Erasmus scholarship to Università degli Studi della Basilicata, in Potenza, Italy. She also completed an M.A. in Spanish at the University of California Los Angeles. She is a native speaker of Catalan as well and fluent in Italian and German. She is currently working as a freelance interpreter and translator in the Seattle area. Before moving to Seattle, she lived in Italy, Scotland, Germany, China and California and traveling around the world was her passion. She met her husband in La Paz, Bolivia during one of those trips and the rest is history. Ever since her two kids came along, spending time with her family and exploring the U.S. have been her favorite activities.


Tim Gregory is an ATA-certified Arabic into English translator with more than twenty years of experience as a freelance translator and linguist for the federal government. He was born in Seattle, and wherever life's travels take him, he always comes back home to the Pacific Northwest. Tim first learned Arabic at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. He has a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from American Military University and an M.A. in Translation and Interpretation from the University of Illinois, where he focused on literary translation. Over the last few years, Tim has increasingly concentrated on seeking out works and authors of Arabic science fiction and fantasy, and has one translated trilogy published so far. He enjoys the challenge of dealing with the broad range of topics that appear in SF, ranging from real history to cutting-edge science and 13th century poetry. Tim enjoys reading and spending time with his wife, daughters, and Boston terriers outdoors.


Rosemary Nguyen is a native speaker of English who learned Vietnamese while working for four years with Vietnamese refugees in Hong Kong and later living, studying, and teaching in Vietnam for two. She began working as a medical interpreter in 1990, earning her DSHS certification in 1993 and her AOC court certification in 1994. In addition to her work as a full-time contract interpreter and translator, Rosemary has participated in designing and rating certification exams as well as teaching interpretation and translation skills. She has translated one novel and two books of short stories, all of which have been published. Rosemary currently lives in Renton, Washington and splits her time fairly evenly between interpreting for local courts and translating for clients nationwide.

Yasemin Alptekin is a native speaker of Turkish with years of experience in simultaneous translation between English and Turkish, specializing in legal, medical and educational interpretation/translation as well as literary. She has an academic interest in translation theory and also translates literary and technical texts. Yasemin has been involved in translation and interpretation work since she started learning English as a second language at Robert High School in Istanbul, Turkey, where she started a “Translation Club” to understand the cultural nuances between the source and target languages to build strong bridges of communication. She later studied linguistics, literary translation theory and techniques while pursuing a BA in Western Languages and Literature at Bosphorus University in Turkey. After coming to the US for her graduate studies, she was hired by a the Turkish Education Project funded by World Bank. She served as a liaison and interpreter for the Turkish delegations visiting the US, and helping the administrators as a translator/interpreter for three years and as a Program Director later for another three years. Yasemin recently completed all the requirements to become a Registered Court Interpreter in Turkish. 

Yvonne Simpson is certified as a Spanish Medical interpreter by the National Board (NBCMI) and Washington DSHS. She holds an MA in Spanish Sociolinguistics from Arizona State University. She taught Spanish at ASU and Phoenix College and was Lead Interpreter at a level 1 trauma center in Phoenix. Returning to her native Washington, she knew she wanted to work at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and she is now Director of Interpreter Services at that facility. There, she supports a team of interpreters, translators, and cultural mediators providing language access and culturally humble healthcare. Yvonne began participating with NOTIS in 2017 as a trainer for Community Interpreter Division workshops. Her favorite time of year is the summer when you can find her gardening, hiking, traveling, and swinging in her hammock. 

Yoseph Petros, a first-generation immigrant from Ethiopia, has been living in the United States since 1983. He completed his second degree in Human Resources from the University of Pittsburgh in 1985. His work experience includes teaching; Assistant General Manager and Curriculum Development (Tourism Training Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia); Senior Social Worker (New York); Production Line Supervisor (Cardiac Pacemakers, St. Paul, MN); Ministry (here in Seattle); and last—but definitely not least—interpreting and translating since 2003. Born on the border between Ethiopia and Kenya, Yoseph grew up surrounded by more than 7 languages. He has lived in and visited Ethiopia, Kenya, Botswana, Germany, Canada (visit only), and, since 1983, the U.S. He has spent time in many cultures, among many different peoples, and he enjoys interacting with people of varying experiences. He used to love traveling, but not anymore; he is now settled­ (“if that means anything”). Today, Yoseph hopes to continue improving his interpreting and translating skills and is excited to work with NOTIS—where he expects to help the career/trade grow.

Katerina Warns is a native of Novosibirsk, Russia where she began her career as a technical translator for a major Siberian geological research institute before moving to the United States in 1992. She lives in Poulsbo, Washington, on the Kitsap Peninsula, and works as a freelance translator, editor, and interpreter. She loves her profession, and she believes that bridging linguistic and cultural gaps helps companies succeed in the global marketplace while allowing individuals to gain self-confidence and trust. Katerina has been certified as an English to Russian translator by the ATA since 2001, and she is also certified by the State of Washington as a medical interpreter and translator. Her favorite assignments over the last few years have been reviewing translations for the U.S. State Department’s Russian language website, translating and recording children’s books for the Unite for Literacy Project for beginning readers worldwide, and - most recently - being a part of the King County COVID Language Access team. She loves theatre, both as a spectator and a former volunteer. Her newly discovered passion is hiking the beautiful trails in the Puget Sound area. Her favorite quote is from Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Deirdre Ruth Murano has been a Washington Court-Certified Spanish interpreter since 1994, when she started working in King County courts. Before that, she taught some of the first Spanish classes to be offered at Lakeside Upper School. Deirdre was born in Seattle, has a BA in French from Swarthmore College, and has lived in France and Central America. In addition to studying terminology and grammar, she enjoys history, politics (!), film, theater, her dog, her family, and reading.

Howard Chou contracted with UW SDRG (the University of Washington Social Development Research Group) in the spring of 2017 as a Cantonese/Mandarin community interpreter for the Seattle Minimum Wage Study. During the same year, he trained at Bellevue College and Highline College to become a medical and healthcare interpreter. Howard is fully certified by WA State DSHS (Department of Social and Health Service) for Cantonese/Mandarin and by CCHI (Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters) for Mandarin, and he is NBCMI (National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters) Hub-certified for Cantonese. While working as a VRI (video remote interpreter), OPI (over-the-phone interpreter) and in-person interpreter, Howard also volunteers at the Seattle King County Free Clinic and the Rainier Valley Food Bank. Howard joined NOTIS in 2019 and has been a member of CID since November 2020. He also serves on the Board of Directors of WSCCNA (the Washington State Chinese Cancer Network Association). In his spare time, Howard loves to travel on cruise ships and go hiking in Washington State parks. Before he retired from a fine jewelry company in New Jersey as an estate jewelry appraiser, Howard obtained diamond and colored stone certificates from GIA (the Gemological Institute of America), and one of his main hobbies is shopping at antique stores, hoping one day find a rare piece or collectible item to be donated to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

Our staff membeRS

Office Manager  
Membership director
Program coordinator

Naomi Uchida has been the Office Manager, membership director, and workshop coordinator of NOTIS since February 2013, responsible for managing the administrative activities of the society. Naomi is originally from Kobe, Japan, and she has worked in management and administration in the US. Before starting at NOTIS, she worked at a wholesale textile company in Seattle after graduating from Bellevue College. She has completed the translation and interpretation certificate programs at the Translation & Interpretation Institute in Bellevue, Washington, and has been a freelance translator from English into Japanese since 2007. She enjoys morning runs while admiring the beauty of nature.

Marketing & Communications
Publications editor

Brianna Salinas considers herself a lifelong student of language. She grew up between Washington State and Arizona and later lived and studied abroad in both Germany and Spain. In Spain, she found community with other artists and linguists and began taking on translation and subtitling projects — immediately cultivating a love for translation. She has a B.A. in English Literature, and an M.A. in Hispanic Literary Studies (both from the University of Washington). While completing the latter, she co-led a Translation Studies group on campus for which she organized readings, workshops, and speaking events. To date, Brianna has translated a selection of sonnets by the Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni (Spanish > English) and a book of migration poetry by Ricardo Ruiz (English > Spanish). She is currently living in Spain and working toward a second master's degree — this time in literary translation — at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. When away from her tiny desk, Brianna enjoys reading in parks, climbing mountains, exploring small towns and other in-between places, riding her bike, shooting film, and playing with dogs.

Video Assistant

Juan Pablo Piedrahita was born in Medellín, Colombia and moved to Seattle in 1999. This experience and his constant connection with these two cultures gives him a unique experience that is both bilingual and bicultural, and it's connected to an expanding cultural and linguistic worldview thanks to his love of travel. In Seattle he attended college to earn his first degree in Audio Production, and in 2009 following a career in tech which unexpectedly ended up focusing on localization, he went back to school to hone his writing and language skills by taking Creative Writing and Advanced Translation courses. This has all coincided with a nine-year career in language interpreting along with translation from English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English since 2019. Juan Pablo is an advocate for immigrant rights and provides volunteer interpreting and translation work for The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the King County Bar Association. When he's not behind a computer clacking away, he's making ambient music in front of another screen, going on rock climbing and camping trips, and attending local cultural events.

Video Assistant

Amine El Fajri is a Court and Medical Certified Arabic/French Interpreter, translator, and instructor. He has over 15 years of experience specializing in law, medical interpreting, and translation. He is also the owner of Utah International Services, a company that provides accurate training for certified and aspiring court and medical interpreters. In addition to the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters (NAJIT), he is a voting member in the American Translators Association (ATA) and a board member of the Utah Translators and Interpreters Association (UTIA).

Video Assistant

Yuka Matsudaira is a Japanese Language Conference Interpreter, Washington State Court Registered Japanese Interpreter, and an English to Japanese Translator. She holds a Master’s Degree in Conference Interpretation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. Yuka was born and raised in Japan, where she worked as an in-house and freelance interpreter/translator for many businesses—including IT companies, law firms, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and TV stations. After moving to Seattle in 2002, Yuka has been interpreting and translating for more diversified clientele. Her current specialties include law, IT, marketing, engineering, energy, education, entertainment and more. As a Washington State Court Interpreter, she interprets for local courts and law firms on a regular basis.

Video Assistant

Luz Leathers is a native Spanish speaker from Peru and is certified by CCHI (Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters) as a Spanish medical interpreter. Luz began her career as an interpreter at Yale New Haven Hospital in 2017, where she increased her medical vocabulary in multiple medical specialties: neurology, cardiology, nephrology, oncology, dermatology, etc. When she is not working as an interpreter, Luz loves volunteering her time teaching others Bible principles that help them improve their lives. She also enjoys hiking to find spots to watch the sunset.

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