Previous Years Workshops


ACIA’s Summer Training; Interpreters for Legal Settings August 17 – 21, 2016

Registration Information

Location: Calgary Courts Centre, 601 5 Street SW, Calgary, AB T2P 5P7

Following ACIA’s ongoing commitment to provide comprehensive training in court interpreting, we will be offering this summer a professional development opportunity for interpreters to practice skills for legal settings. This will be a 4-day workshop focused on an overview of the criminal, family, and civil courts, as well as the terminology and processes embedded in those areas. It will include skill development activities facilitated by interpreter educators and lawyers, and will culminate in a mock trial experience.

Participants: There will be up to 30 spots available in the workshop for interpreters.

Pre-Requisites for Participation in ACIA’s Summer Training
Participants are required to complete a number of pre-reading assignments in order to ensure that all participants have a common knowledge base and are prepared for the work. This reading will focus on topics including, but not limited to, an overview of the Canadian legal system, overview of criminal, civil and family law, relevant documents, as well as Demand-Control Schema and Consecutive Interpreting. The pre-requisite package will be shared with participants by April 1, 2016 allowing for plenty of time to complete the tasks outlined which will include reading, watching webinars and videos, and observing court in their home communities.

ACIA’s Summer Training Tentative Schedule (8:30 am – 4:30 pm daily)

Day One: Introductions, Review of Pre-Requisite Material and Observations, Open Forum with Lawyer, Legal Discourse across legal settings and courtrooms

Days Two, Three & Four: Mock Trials in the morning; seminars in the afternoon to debrief mock trial experiences, & planning for next stage of development.

Day Five: Mock Trial in the morning; seminar in the afternoon to debrief mock trial experiences. Final recap & concluding remarks.

Registration Information

Early bird – $350.00 (April 1 – May 7, 2016)
Regular Registration – $450.00 (May 7 – May 31, 2016)

Last Opportunity Registration – $500.00 (June 1 – June 30, 2016)

Other Information:
• This location is wheelchair accessible. Please contact us if you need other accommodations.

Cancellation Policy: If there are insufficient participants by July 1, 2016, the workshop will be cancelled. Any individual registered for a professional development event offered by ACIA may cancel prior to the posted registration deadline without penalty. If individuals cancel after the registration deadline, payment of the full registration fee will be required, regardless of whether or not they attend the professional development event.


About the Presenters: The two presenters will be Deb Russell and Alex Zisman, along with additional interpreters who will be recruited to offer support and feedback during practical exercises. In addition, lawyers will work with us to provide a legal context for us, and to work with us during the mock trial experiences.

Debra Russell is an ASL-English interpreter and interpreter educator from Calgary, Canada. Her interpreting practice spans thirty years and is community-based in a range of medical, legal, mental health and employment settings. Deb’s dissertation examined the use of consecutive and simultaneous interpreting in legal contexts, which has led to significant changes in practices in legal interpreting throughout North America. In 2012, Dr. Risa Shaw and Deb facilitated a two-day, pre-conference workshop focusing on legal interpreting. Deb has presented throughout North America and in other countries about legal interpreting and has been a Legal Mentor for the DOIT Centre’s Legal Interpreter Training. In addition to her teaching, she maintains an active research program with current projects that focus on Deaf Interpreters, legal interpreting, and mediated education settings for Deaf children. Deb is a founding member of AVLIC and ASLIA (formerly ACRID), and a member of CIT, RID. In 2011 she was elected President of WASLI. She is also the Open Forum Editor for the International Journal of Interpreter Education (IJIE). Deb is also a dedicated student of yoga and loves to travel.

Alex Zisman is a Spanish-English court interpreter, translator and editor who is currently the Secretary of ACIA. Accredited as a Court Interpreter by the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario in 1986, he also obtained Interpreter Certification from Employment and Immigration Canada/Immigration and Refugee Board in 1992. He has worked as an interpreter for the Department of Justice Canada, the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, the Immigration and Refugee Board, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Amnesty International, Legal Aid Alberta and the Province of Alberta. He taught the Interpreting for Justice program at Bow Valley College in 2005, which produced the first professionally trained legal interpreters in Alberta, and organized panel discussions on court interpretation involving judges, lawyers and interpreters in Toronto. He graduated with First Class Honours in Modern and Medieval Languages from the University of Cambridge and has edited the works of numerous Spanish-speaking authors, including those of Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. In his spare time he indulges in wine and craft beer consulting and also previews for the Calgary International Film Festival.

Registration Form

Name: ______________________________________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________________________


EMAIL: ______________________________________________________________

Telephone: __________________________________________________________

Professional Membership: ACIA __________ OTHER _______________________

Number of years interpreting experience: _________

Enclosed is my cheque for $____________

Make cheques payable to ACIA.
Mail registration form to:

Alberta Court Interpreters Association (ACIA)
Attention: Zakie Hage
P.O. Box 331 Station M
Calgary, AB, T2P 2H9

For Further Information about Registration Contact Rima Hanna at


The basic professional development workshops to be offered during the year include five two-and-a-half-hour sessions. More workshops may be offered at the desire of the members and an additional workshop track may be offered to interpreters who are more advanced and have completed the 2013-2014 workshops. Proposed titles and dates for the foundational workshops are as follows:

  1. Introduction to Court Interpretation – Thursday , August 27, 2015 2 PM – 4:00 PM in Courtroom #1005.
    This is the first workshop of a new cycle and, as its title implies, it is designed to address the basics of court interpreting to help in particular those who are new to the profession and those want to learn more before deciding whether court interpreting sufficiently appeals to them.
  2. “Ethical Decision Making & the Role of the Interpreter – Saturday, September 26, 2015 – 10 AM to 1 PM Memorial Library
  3. Legal Terminology –  Thursday, October 29, 2015, 1.30PM-3.30PM. Calgary Court House, Boardroom:  S20-24 (20th Floor)
  4. Collaboratively in Teams as Professionals –Thursday  November 19, 2015-2PM-4PM, Courtroom  1406
  5. Interpreting Techniques: Consecutive, Simultaneous & Sight Translation – Thursday, January 28, 2015
  6. Courtroom Protocol and Procedures – Thursday, March 10, 2016. Dr Debra Russell, Calgary Courthouse, Courtroom # 1406, Time: 2PM-4PM

These are designed to be short, professional development workshops that can be delivered in two-and-a-half-hour blocks for existing members of ACIA. Space permitting, any interpreters who are not members of ACIA will be eligible to take the workshops for a fee of $15.00 per workshop.

TWO COURTROOMS NEEDED. August 15-19, 2016.

In addition to the basic professional development workshops, a five-day training course will also offer new members the opportunity to apply their skills to mock courtroom and legal proceedings. There will be a requirement of pre-reading materials to be reviewed prior to the events, and two court observation pre-assignments. This course will comprised of the following learning units:

  1. Overview of the Canadian Legal System (Day One AM)
  2. Overview of the Legal Discourse (Day One PM)
  3. Introduction to Criminal Law (Day Two AM)
  4. Introduction to Civil and Family Law (Day Two PM)
  5. Skill Development for Legal Interpreters (Days Three and Four)
  6. Mock Trials (Day 5).

This course will be offered on a cost recovery basis, targeting 20 participants from Calgary and Edmonton and with an early bird fee for ACIA members of $350 per participant. If space allows, it will also be open to interpreters not members of ACIA for $375.


“Ethics and Protocol: Is this the best decision in this situation?”

Calgary, Alberta     November 6, 2013 Instructor, Debra Russell

“Team Interpreting Strategies: From Me to We.”

Calgary, Alberta     January 24, 2014 Instructor, Debra Russell

“Court Vocabulary.”

Calgary, Alberta     September 10, 2014 Instructor, Alex Zisman

“I think I understood all the words, I just don’t know what it means?”

Calgary, Alberta     November 5, 2014 Instructor, Debra Russell

.“Court situations encountered by Interpreters”.

Calgary, Alberta     January 29, 2015 Presenter, Carmen Aguilera and Judge Anne Brown