Why KITA

KITA is Kentucky’s leader in setting and maintaining the standards for spoken language interpreting and document translation. We are a resource for new and experienced linguists to not only network and gain employment opportunities, but to continue their education and keep their skills sharp, separating them from the competition while building community.

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Our Vision

The Kentucky Interpreter and Translator Association’s goal is to provide continuing education opportunities and a forum for interpreters and translators to exchange knowledge and experience. We promote professionalism and public awareness of the importance of providing qualified language services for the Limited-English Proficient (LEP) community as well as the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. KITA embraces the participation of the professional interpreter, those who work with interpreters, and those who have an interest in furthering the profession of interpreting and translation.

Our Mission

  • To enhance the professional image of translators and interpreters of sign and spoken languages in all domains and specializations.

  • To contribute to improving the standards and professional ethics, practices and competency of interpreters and translators.

  • To strive to protect the rights and interests of all professional interpreters and translators.

  • To increase professional and public awareness of the importance of providing qualified interpreters and translators.

  • To provide an open forum for interpreters and translators to exchange ideas and experiences on a regular basis.

Our History

In March of 2006 medical interpreters and supervisors of Language Services from Lexington, KY hospitals and clinics met for the first time to talk about forming a professional organization.  Two months later, the South Eastern Medical Interpreter Association (SEMIA) was incorporated as a non-profit for the purpose of education, networking and furthering the professions of interpreting and translating in the medical realm.

SEMIA organized several annual local interpreter/translator conferences before partnering up with neighboring state organizations (Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators-TAPIT and Medical Interpreter Network of Georgia-MING) to present several joint conferences.

Several Bridging the Gap Medical Interpreter certificate programs were taught in Lexington by Catholic Charities of Louisville. In 2012, SEMIA was awarded a grant of $12,000 that allowed the organization to train three nationally certified medical interpreters as trainers for the Core Medical Interpreter Training (CMIT) program. As of January 2024, over 700 interpreters have earned an entry-level training certificate.

Because SEMIA wanted to be more inclusive of interpreting in additional settings and to add translators to the mix, it was decided to change the name to the Kentucky Interpreter and Translator Association (KITA) in 2016. In 2022 KITA was officially absorbed by fellow nonprofit Access Language Solutions to become its educational and professional membership wing of the organization. In April of 2023 an Advisory Board was formed to continue the work of KITA.

Community Partners

Kentucky Refugee Ministries

Kentucky Refugee Ministries

KITA and Kentucky Refugee Ministries-Lexington (KRM) work to identify and train medical interpreter candidates. KRM financially supports qualified candidates in earning an entry-level medical interpreter certificate.

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Marafiki Center

Marafiki Center

Jambo! Our newest partner is the Marafiki Center. The organization’s mission is to promote the Swahili language and culture. The Marafiki Center sent three Swahili speakers to The Community Interpreter Online in the summer of 2023 where they earned a 40-hour medical interpreter certificate.

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Access Language Solutions

Access Language Solutions

Access Language Solutions contribute to positive outcomes by bridging communication gaps through high-quality, cost-effective, and innovative linguistic solutions for the limited-English speaker and the providers who serve them.

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Sign Language Network of KY

Sign Language Network of Kentucky

The Sign Language Network of KY (SLNKY) is a multi-faceted sign language interpreter referral agency based in Lexington, Kentucky. The organization takes sign language interpreting requests 24/7 as well as provides ongoing services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in numerous businesses and organizations around the state. All of SLNKY’s interpreters are licensed by the State of Kentucky, under the governance of the Kentucky Board of Interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. All interpreters are members of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and adhere to the RID Code of Professional Conduct.

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Bluegrass Interpreting and Translation

Bluegrass Interpreting and Translation

Bluegrass Interpreting and Translation (BIT) is the spoken language interpreting division of Sign Language Network of KY (SLNKY). With over 18 languages available and more added regularly, BIT is your one-stop-shop for professional interpreting needs! All of BIT’s interpreters receive specialized medical training and must pass a language assessment performed by a certified third party. Every BIT interpreter is thoroughly vetted with a criminal background check, drug screen, and vaccines. BIT offers 24/7 access to a live person for scheduling available via phone, online, or email.

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Committees

As we revamp Kentucky Interpreter & Translator Association, we will be looking for members to assist us in the following areas:

  • Education & Training

    This committee has strategic and operational responsibility for KITA’s medical interpreter training, scholarship and continuing professional development programs. Event planning, records management, and program scheduling are some of the vital functions performed by this team.

  • Fundraising

    This committee assists the Board by establishing and managing the infrastructure needed to grow KITA’s financial resources through the solicitation of donations, federal and state grants, special fundraising events and corporate and foundation sponsorships. A vital part of this activity is managing KITA’s social media presence.

  • Membership & Outreach

    The function of this committee is to recruit and support new members as well as develop strategic community partnerships with stakeholder organizations. This team coordinates periodic networking activities for language professionals both online and in-person.

Email us at help@kitanonprofit.org if any of these areas interest you. As a member-driven organization, the Kentucky Interpreter & Translator Association is only as strong as the involvement of its members. The Board appreciates all members who are willing to volunteer and we look forward to working with you!

Board of Directors & Committees

Connie Meck

Connie Meck

Connie, originally from Northern Michigan, has made Lexington her home for 25 years. Her career began at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, profoundly influencing her dedication to the Deaf Community. After moving from South Carolina to Virginia with her husband Bill, she worked at Virginia Tech as a Continuing Education Program Director. She then became a Dean of Education in Indianapolis, one of the youngest ever at Indiana Business College. Returning to Lexington, Connie taught ASL at Bluegrass Community and Technical College before founding the Sign Language Network of KY (SLNKY) in November 2012 to provide comprehensive sign language interpreter services for medical and various other sectors in Lexington. In 2018, SLNKY expanded to include spoken language services through Bluegrass Interpreting and Translation (BIT), now offering extensive interpreting services across central Kentucky with a focus on excellent customer service, ethical standards, and professional integrity.

Education: BA, ASL Studies; M.ED, Training and Development
National Certification, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID)
Licensed, Kentucky Board of Interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Marly Maristany

Marly Maristany

As a seasoned professional with 28 years of dedicated service in manufacturing, specializing in quality control and process improvements, Marly Maristany brings a wealth of expertise to the Advisory Board. Her commitment to excellence extends beyond the manufacturing realm, as evidenced by a decade of translating and interpreting for employee training and work orientation. This diverse skill set has recently led her to start a new career path in medical and education interpretation.

Moreover, Marly's passion for learning about diverse cultures is matched only by her dedication to supporting the Latino community through various initiatives. Beyond work, she finds joy in the great outdoors, with hiking and traveling serving as both hobbies and sources of inspiration. Marly is excited to contribute her multifaceted experiences and unwavering commitment to the Advisory Board’s strategic vision, fostering a collaborative environment for sustained growth and positive impact.

Jacob Brown

Jacob Brown, MA

Jacob Brown is the Owner and Spanish Interpreter at Heartland Interpretation and Translation Services, LLC. He has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Master’s degree in Translation and Interpreting Studies. He currently works as a Spanish Interpreter in addition to overseeing business operations for the company.

Jackie Zambrano

Jackie Zambrano, CHI

Jackie Zambrano-Mantz is a versatile professional with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a rich background in language services. As a multicultural Branding Consultant and copywriter/translator, she has collaborated with prestigious clients, including Western Union Central America and the Caribbean, Crisco, Café Pilón, Café Bustelo, the Geraldo Rivera Show for LATAM, and more.

Formerly, Jackie was the editor/writer for Miami para Niños magazine. She is also an author of children’s books and collaborates with La Guía Keto en español, a health magazine distributed by Amazon.

With over a decade of experience, Jackie is a certified Spanish Healthcare Interpreter (CHI™) specializing in challenging healthcare environments. She also serves as a Call Center Research Coordinator for the Department of Neurology at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Medicine.

In addition to her professional achievements, Jackie is a passionate ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher dedicated to enhancing language proficiency and fostering cultural understanding among her students. She’s an advocate for immigrants and serves as a Certified Immigration Preparator, guiding immigrants through the complex forms process.

As an active Advisory Board member of the Kentucky Interpreter and Translator Association (KITA), she works to improve access to language services, demonstrating her commitment to community engagement and cultural exchange.

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Get in touch!

We value your feedback, inquiries, and suggestions. Whether you have a question about our memberships, want to collaborate, or just want to say hello, we'd love to hear from you.