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About Us

IKIGAI is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization created to provide subsidized and affordable education and training for proficient bilingual individuals so they may become qualified and competent interpreters, principally in courts and other legal settings.

We are funded through grants, direct donations, sales of instructional materials, and registration fees for courses. 

It is part of IKIGAI's mission to help its students offset the cost of certification examinations through a scholarship fund.

The Institute offers a state-of-the-art curriculum based on the latest research in the field of interpreting studies and develops educational materials together with practical training aids based on actual court transcripts and authentic texts from other legal settings.

All our instructors and consultants are either interpreters certified by the U.S. Courts, academics in the fields of interpreting studies and linguistics, or both. 

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Part of IKIGAI's mission is also to engage with the community of stakeholders and users of language services to educate about the importance of competent and qualified interpreters in every legal proceeding, whether in court or out of court. 


We provide information about careers in translation and interpreting for students in foreign language programs, virtually and in person, whether they are in high school or in a university-level program.

We also have information available through this website about Language Access laws and the rights of Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals to receive quality interpreting and translation services from qualified and competent interpreters and translators, particularly from public agencies. 

All information is free and can be found in the Community Outreach page or the Career Days page. 

Our Track Record

IKIGAI is young and small, but our goals are large and as old as the interpreting profession itself. We are slowly building a portfolio of activities, in addition to the resources and publications already available on this website, as our contribution to the growth and further professionalization of interpreting in general and judiciary interpreting in particular. 

  • IKIGAI's President has been a member of the American Translators Association (ATA) Education & Pedagogy Committee since 2022.

  • On April 10, 2023 IKIGAI participated in a virtual panel sponsored by Multi-Languages Corporation, on the subject of professional ethics. The video of the event is available here:

  • An Evaluation Committee has been formed in the Summer of 2023 composed of subject matter experts who will assess candidates for financial assistance from IKIGAI's Interpreter Certification Advocacy Project. This project is being created to promote the highest competency levels among members of the judiciary interpreting profession, by paying the certification exam fees for interpreters who can demonstrate they have mastered the required skills and knowledge to become certified, but cannot afford either the federal or state certification fees. The program is funded through donations, grants, and fundraising activities.

Who is behind IKIGAI?

IKIGAI has been created by JANIS PALMA, a professional English-Spanish interpreter and translator with over 43 years of experience in the legal field. She holds an M.A. in History and Literature, and is currently working on a Master's in Legal Studies from Arizona State University.

Click on the button below to see her full Curriculum Vitae.

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