Distinguished Speakers

Learn from the experts! These select speakers were invited to contribute a high level of advanced learning, experience, and excellence.

Advocacy Committee

Aurora Pedro is Akateko and Q’anjob’al and was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is the coordinator of the Center for Indigenous Languages and Power at Comunidades Indígenas en Liderazgo, an Indigenous women-led, intergenerational organization that is combating racism toward Indigenous people by bringing visibility and resources to Indigenous migrant communities. She studies anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her passions include advocating for language rights and accessible resources and space for all Indigenous peoples. She is an independent Mayan interpreter and hopes to expand her skills in Spanish and Q’anjob’al to serve displaced Indigenous communities.

Luis López Resendiz is a Ñuu Savi (Mixtec) who is originally from Mexico and now resides in Los Angeles. He is the director of the Center for Indigenous Languages and Power (CILP) at Comunidades Indígenas en Liderazgo (CIELO), an Indigenous women-led, intergenerational organization that is combating racism toward Indigenous people by bringing visibility and resources to Indigenous migrant communities. He has a BA in interdisciplinary studies from the University of California, Berkeley. His work with CIELO has been featured in numerous regional and national news outlets and publications.


Audiovisual Division

Joel Snyder is known internationally as one of the world’s first “audio describers,” a pioneer in the field of audio description—translating visual images to vivid language primarily for the benefit of people who are blind or have low vision. Since 1981, he has introduced audio description techniques in over 40 states and 64 countries, and has made thousands of live events, media projects, and museums accessible. In 2014, the American Council of the Blind published his book, The Visual Made Verbal: A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description.


Chinese Language Division

Joel Sahleen leads the internationalization engineering team at Spotify, where he is building out Spotify's internationalization program. He previously served as a globalization architect and the director of international engineering at Domo, Inc. Prior to Domo, he worked as a senior globalization engineer at Adobe and was a member of the Wikimedia Foundation’s language engineering team. He specializes in the development of internationalization libraries and continuous, data-driven localization systems. He has a master’s degree in early Chinese philosophy from Stanford University and bachelor’s degrees in economics and Asian studies from the University of Utah.


Dutch Language Division

Tia Nutters is a lecturer in translation studies at Utrecht University and the University of Groningen, where she works as a grant proposal editor. She has over 15 years of experience in various areas of translation and editing. She interned as a translator at the European Commission, worked as a tour guide in England, Spain, and Portugal (“translating” culture), and ran her own business for 10 years, translating various books and specializing in texts for academia and institutions of the European Union. Her research interests include stylistics and the use of machine translation in the literary domain.


Educators Division

Corine Tachtiris is an assistant professor of translation studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where her courses include a seminar on race, gender, and sexuality in translation. Her book Translation and Race is forthcoming from Routledge. She is an at-large board member of the American Literary Translators Association and serves as one of its equity advocates. She is prose translation editor of The Massachusetts Review and a literary translator specializing in writing by contemporary women authors from the Francophone Caribbean, Africa, Canada, and the Czech Republic.


French Language Division

Edward Gauvin is a 2021 Guggenheim fellow and award-winning translator. He has received grants and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN America, the Fulbright program, Ledig House, the Lannan Foundation, the Banff Centre, and the French and Belgian governments. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, The Guardian, and World Literature Today. As a translation advocate, he has written widely, spoken at universities and festivals, and taught at the Bread Loaf Translation Conference. The translator of over 400 graphic novels, he is a contributing editor for comics at Words Without Borders.


German Language Division

Lisa Rüth is a managing partner at Ralf Lemster Financial Translations GmbH, a Frankfurt-based boutique translations company, where she supports private and public sector clients with accurate, expert, fluent, and elegant copy. She has a master’s degree in linguistics, culture, and Spanish and English translation. She is a certified corporate trainer, a certified socially responsible investments advisor, and an active member of the Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer e.V., the professional association of interpreters and translators in Germany. A former lecturer at FTSK Germersheim, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and is a sought-after speaker for talks and workshops on her fields of expertise.


Government Division

Aimee Benavides is a freelance interpreter who has been federally certified by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts since 2015, and court certified by the Judicial Council of the State of California since 2003. She operates her company Benavides Consulting in Fresno, California, and is co-founder of TEA Language Solutions. She has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators since 2017. She is the vice chair on the executive committee of ASTM International's F-43 (Language Services and Products).


Interpreters Division

Maya Hess is the founder and chief executive officer of Red T, a nonprofit organization that advocates worldwide on behalf of translators and interpreters in high-risk settings. As a court-appointed forensic linguist, she has provided language support and expert witness services in many high-profile terrorism trials, experiencing firsthand just how vulnerable members of her profession can be. She holds a PhD in criminal justice, an MA in journalism, and a Graduate Certificate in terrorism studies.


Italian Language Division

Paolo Sigismondi is a clinical professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism of the University of Southern California. His research and teaching focus on the phenomena of globalization forged by new technologies and economic forces such as multinational corporations, especially media, advertising, and entertainment conglomerates, and their multifaceted economic, political, social, and linguistic impact on societies around the world. His research has been presented at international conferences and published in leading academic journals. He is the author of The Digital Glocalization of Entertainment and the editor of World Media Entertainment.

Japanese Language Division

Katsura Sunshine is a Canadian rakugo storyteller and a popular television personality in Japan. He began his entertainment career in musical theater in Toronto. He moved to Japan in 1999, fell in love with rakugo, the traditional Japanese art of comic storytelling, and became the second Western rakugo storyteller in Japan’s history. To introduce this narrative art to the world, he translates rakugo and performs in English. He is currently performing on Broadway and London’s West End. He was chosen to host the opening reception of world leaders at the G20 Summit in Osaka in 2019.


Korean Language Division

Sophia Lee is the founder and chief executive officer of Culture Flipper, a multicultural content creation agency producing text that resonates with target audiences. Before Culture Flipper, her multilingual experiences spanned 15 years in various fields such as translation, interpreting, marketing, public relations, and information technology localization. Her past translation work includes Gene L. Yang’s graphic novel American Born Chinese" and Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie and Bruno, both into Korean. She has pioneered an unconventional translation process, turning a normal process into collaborative writing, thus crafting brand-aligned and culture-specific messaging. With a passion for the humanities, contextual relevance fuels her vision, inspiring and empowering her team to flip conventions.


Language Technology Division

Jeff Weiser has been working in the language industry for 16 years, thanks to early guidance from ATA. After graduating from American University, where he studied French and Spanish with a translation focus, he attended the 2006 ATA Annual Conference in New Orleans and proceeded to work at a translation company thereafter. Between 2009 and 2021, he worked for language and translation technology companies both in the U.S. and abroad. In 2021, he created a business plan focused on empowering companies to spread their ideas globally and founded Go to Market - Translations & Consulting while leveraging the "Metaverse."


Law Division

Bruna Marchi is a Brazilian lawyer, legal English as a foreign language specialist, and founding partner of Descomplicando o Inglês Jurídico (Uncomplicating Legal English). She has a graduate qualification in English to Portuguese conference interpreting from the Catholic University of São Paulo. She has a university extension course and postgraduate qualification in American law from Fordham University and a graduate degree in criminal law and criminal procedural law. She teaches legal English at the Catholic University of São Paulo, University of Minho (Portugal), among other universities.


Literary Division and Portuguese Language Division

Álvaro Hattnher is an associate professor at São Paulo State University, Brazil, where he teaches courses in American studies and literary translation practice. A graduate from a translation program, he pursued a career as a literary and book translator in the diverse book industry of Brazil. He has translated about 50 books, from academic essays on history, linguistics, physics, or theology to genre fiction (Nathanael West, Chester Himes). He has also translated the works of writers who blur the lines between fiction and journalism (David Remnick, Truman Capote).


Medical Division

Pablo Mugüerza studied music, English, French, and German before earning a medical degree in 1987. Since then, he has gained more than 35 years of experience as a freelance medical translator and proofreader. He is the author of the Manual of Clinical Trial Protocols: English to Spanish Translation. Since 2010, he has also been involved in translator training. Since February 2022, he has been presenting free monthly seminars on social networks.


Science & Technology Division

Lauren Esposito is the curator and Schlinger Chair of Arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences. Her research investigates the patterns and processes of evolution in spiders, and scorpions, with a focus on tropical islands. Originally from the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, she completed her BS at the University of Texas at El Paso and MS and PhD from the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the City University of New York. She is co-founder/director of the science, education, and conservation nonprofit Islands & Seas, and founder of 500 Queer Scientists, a visibility campaign for LGBTQ+ scientists.


Slavic Languages Division

Dmitry Buzadzhi received his PhD in 2007 from the School of Translation and Interpretation at Moscow State Linguistic University. He spent 10 years teaching translation at the university, including five years as head of the English translation and interpreting department. He is currently a professor of English to Russian interpreting, as well as the Russian and Interpretation Practicum, at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He is an active translator and simultaneous interpreter. He has published over 50 articles on translation and interpreting, as well as co-authored textbooks and research papers.


Spanish Language Division

María Marta García Negroni has a PhD in language sciences from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (France). She is an associate professor at the University of San Andrés and a senior researcher at the National Council of Scientific Research in Argentina. Her research interests are rooted in the field of argumentative and dialogic semantics. She is the author of several books, numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, and book chapters in collaborative projects published in Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. She has also lectured at international conferences on Spanish grammar, pragmatics, and discourse analysis.


Translation Company Division

Iti Sahai has over 15 years combined experience in international business and globalization, delivering international growth through product-led localization strategy and best practices that fully engage targeted international audiences. She champions localization transformation into a strategic function and has been featured at industry conferences and podcasts for her ingenuity in identifying solutions that allow organizations to have a global mindset. She recently won an award for her global product design process innovation and was nominated for the “Language Industry Person of the Year” and “Localization Influencers Watchlist.”

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