I’m certified by the state of Washington and by the federal government as a court interpreter.

seattle interpreter & translator

State certification means I can work in courts across the state of Washington. Federal certification allows me to work in the federal court system across the United States. It feels especially good to have the federal certification—it’s quite challenging to get.

Legal work accounts for about 50% of my time. My clients are the various court systems and attorneys who need to provide language services to individuals who we refer to as Limited English Speakers (LEPs).

I also work in the conference interpretation field. I help private companies, public agencies, non-profit organizations, and so forth. Conference work offers a lot of variety. One day I might be working at a training session for domestic violence advocates, and the next day I might be interpreting for representatives of Spanish-speaking countries at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention.

We are all bound by a code of ethics.

Legal and conference interpreters are bound to many of the same rules: confidentiality, impartiality, accuracy, competency, disclosure of conflicts of interest, etc.

Gabriela De Castro is the best Spanish language interpreter, period. I represent many Spanish speaking clients in personal injury cases. Ms. De Castro translates Spanish perfectly and captures every nuance that the Spanish language has. The sound of her voice is very professional and welcoming. When it comes to interpreting for my Spanish clients, I only use Ms. De Castro.

~Steve Alvarez, Attorney

There are real human and intellectual qualities one needs to be effective as an interpreter. Flexibility is important mainly because things are always changing. Being present, being centered and focused, regardless of how difficult the situation, matters. In the course of my work, I have to keep listening and rendering the message into the other language. I place a great deal of value on being on time, being reliable, and presenting myself as a professional.

Respect and compassion for others is important. I work with lots of different people in all kinds of situations. Seeing people as people helps me stay neutral and unbiased—essential qualities in an interpreter.

I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela.

I left in 1989. I used to go at least once a year. Unfortunately, with the current socioeconomic and political situation, it’s very hard to visit. I miss it dearly and hope to return one day.

If I had to describe myself to a client, I’d say professional, flexible and kind. Aside from being a skillful interpreter, and being very clear about my ethics, I strive to keep my clients happy. I can quickly adapt to their needs. Many of my clients hire me because they know I’m able to work with difficult people and in very difficult situations. I can remain centered under stressful circumstances.

Recently, this made a deep impression on me. David Attenborough’s: A Life on Our Planet.” Here is a man in his 90’s, who has devoted his life to this planet, to sharing its beauty, its power, and its fragility with all of humankind, taking us all the way back to the beginning of his love affair with the planet. As we take this journey with him, we get to see the world as it was back then, so many unexplored places, so much natural abundance. As we move more and more into the present, through his eyes, we see the earth degrading at an ever-faster pace. All as a result of our actions. Looking ahead, he shows us our possible future, or non-future, really, if we don’t act now. This film is a gift to all humanity from a man who truly loves this planet. It is a deeply moving film that reminds me to be conscious of the choices I make every day.

Being a generalist helps me do a better job.

gabriela de castro - interpreterIt helps to have a certain degree of knowledge about lots of different things. I might not be a lawyer, but I do have to know enough about the law in order to properly render messages from one language into another in that field. I need to be (and want to be) well-informed about current events, nationally and internationally, because any subject can come up at any time.

I have a pretty strong desire for continuous learning and for research. Language is dynamic. As an interpreter (and translator) I have to stay on top of emerging terminology. That’s an everyday task. Preparation and research are both key.

Every client I work with needs to know: Do I know the subject matter? Will I interpret accurately? Am I reliable? Will I show up on time? The answer is yes—always.

I’ve been doing this work since 2003 and I absolutely love it. I love being a bridge between people and being of service. The variety of work and the different people I work with, that is wonderful. I get to work in lots of different sectors, and I love working for myself.

My favorite quote is siempre es hoy.

It is always today. Lyric written and sung by my favorite singer-songwriter in the Spanish language: Gustavo Cerati. Very simple, but so true. The past already happened, and the future is yet to come. All we have is today, and it is always today.