FSU Professor becomes West Virginia’s first certified court interpreter

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dr. Julie Sellers, assistant professor of Spanish at Fairmont State University, is West Virginia’s first certified court interpreter. The Mountaineer State is just beginning its interpreter certification program, and Dr. Sellers, a federally certified court interpreter, is granted certification through reciprocity. She is also certified in the states of Colorado and Pennsylvania.

As a court interpreter, Dr. Sellers provides a unique service to Spanish-speakers who need language services in the courts.  According to 2009 Census data, there are 18,207 Spanish speakers in West Virginia.  Beyond interpreting, her duties will also include assisting in the training of other interpreters who wish to become certified through the mandated written and oral certification tests.

With her work as a court interpreter, Dr. Sellers models another possible career path for those who wish to major in the study of a foreign language. 

As the number of people who speak Spanish at home continues to increase, making Spanish a second language in the United States, the need for interpreters for governmental agencies continues to rise, presenting a unique job opportunity to those with the necessary skills. A strong language base in Spanish serves as a foundation on which to build interpreting skills and thus, prepare for rigorous state and federal interpreter certification tests.

Dr. Sellers joined Fairmont State’s faculty in August, 2010.  She earned her B.A. and M.A. in Spanish at Kansas State University, and her Ph.D. in Education at the University of Wyoming.  She has worked with Wyoming’s Department of Education and taught at the University of Wyoming.