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College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Melissa Wallace, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies
Dept of Modern Languages and Literatures

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 210-458-5217
Office: MH 4.01.08
Office hours: R 12:00-3:00 PM and by Appt.

Additional Information
  • Biography

    Melissa Wallace received her Ph.D. in translation and interpreting studies from the Universidad de Alicante, Spain. A certified court interpreter and certified healthcare interpreter, Wallace served two terms as an appointed member of the state Supreme Court Committee to Improve Translation and Interpreting in Wisconsin Courts and has just begun a 5-year term on the Licensed Court Interpreter Advisory Board of the Judicial Branch Certification Commission for the Supreme Court of Texas. She is an active appointed member of the Standards and Training Committee of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC), and is co-lead on the Webinars Work Group of the NCIHC’s Home for Trainers initiative.  She is a former member of the Executive Board of the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association and chair of the Advisory Council of Voice of Love, a U.S.-based nonprofit that develops training and resources to support interpreting for survivors of torture, war trauma and sexual violence.

    Her research focuses on indicators of aptitude on court interpreter certification exams, interpreter and translator training, and policy innovations as language access activism. She has presented her research in the United States and abroad, including to the Qualitas research group, a project funded by the Department of Justice of the European Commission which aims at providing a roadmap for the development of valid and reliable certification procedures for judicial and police interpreters for all EU member states.

    Currently she is an Assistant Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she directs the graduate certificate program in translation studies.

    Wallace has been granted a Fulbright to teach and conduct research in court interpreting at the University of Tampere, Finland, beginning in January 2016.


    • Ph.D., Translation and Interpreting, Universidad de Alicante, Spain (2012)

    • B.A., Spanish and Linguistics, University of Wisconsin (1989)

  • Recent Courses

    FL 3003 Introduction to Translation and Interpreting

    SPN 6083 Theory and Practice of Translation

    SPN 6973 Interpreting in Legal Settings

    MES 3113 Film Studies

    FL 5043 Principles of Translation

    SPN 5023 Writing and Editing in Spanish

  • Research in Progress

    • (Tentative title) Language Access Compliance in Texas Courts: An Environmental Scan. This project and consists of an environmental scan of compliance with language access legislation in Texas Courts. It will be based on a survey administered to 3000 Texas judges to get a snapshot of how, when and if spoken language interpreters are provided in court proceedings at all levels. A complementary survey might explore experiences from the perspective of LCIs (Licensed Court Interpreters) who practice in the state. The overarching goal of the study would be to discover deficiencies in the provision of spoken-language interpreters in Texas courts and to use that information to inform future statutory changes in the next legislative session. The Office of Court Administration and the Judicial Branch Certification Commission have expressed strong interest in supporting the study.

    • (Tentative title) The Development of National Standards for US Court Interpreter Training Programs. This project will develop a roadmap for the drafting of a research-driven set of national standards of training for court interpreter programs, with specific recommendations on the teaching and learning required for interpreters entering into practice.  The model will be correlated with the knowledge, skills and abilities already tested on two of the US’s extant psychometrically-normed certification exams. In collaboration with the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, Wallace intends to carry out focus groups, national surveys, empanel an advisory board, and gather a group of subject matter experts in order to execute the roadmap and develop specific findings which will meet the needs of the judiciary by addressing program content standards, instructional methods standards, and programmatic standards.

    • (Fulbright project) The Transposition of Directive 2010/64/EU and its Impact on University-Level Court Interpreter Training. The objectives of this research project are to critically examine recent changes in university-level training of legal interpreters at the University of Tampere in light of Directive/2010/64/EU. Tampere is one of six Finnish universities that have introduced a novel approach to university-level training for court interpreters by having reconceptualized the Principles of Authorised Translation course and by opening it up to active professional members of the Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters, or SKTL. The results of this project will produce meaningful research, improve and enhance teaching, and meet the Fulbright program's vision of public diplomacy and the cultivation of international friendship.

  • Recent Publications

    • In press (Spring 2015) “Access and Protection: Civil Court Remedies for Victims of Domestic Violence and the Current State of Free Language Mediation in US Courts.” Proceedings of The FIRST INTERNATIONAL SOS-VICS CONFERENCE: Building communication bridges in gender violence at the University of Vigo, Spain, on the 25th and 26th September, 2014.

    • A further call to action: Training as a policy issue in court interpreting.” Monzó Nebot, E. & L. Cheng (eds.) Special issue of The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, Volume 9, Number 2, June 2015. Routledge.

    • Current Dilemmas in Court Interpreting: Improving Quality and Access through Smarter Testing and Administration Protocols.” Ortega Herráez, Juan Miguel and Catalina Iliescu (eds). MonTI Special Issue (June 2015) – Insights in Interpreting: Status and Developments.

    • “Resisting Market Disorder and Ensuring Public Trust: Reimagining National Registers for Legal Interpreters in the United States and the European Union.” Blasco Mayor, María Jesús and Maribel del Pozo Triviño (eds). MonTI 7 (April 2015) – Legal Interpreting at a Turning Point. ISSN 1889-4178.

    • Team-Based Learning in Introductory Translation Courses.” Handbook of Research on Teaching Methods in Language Translation and Interpretation. Released in the Advances in Educational Technologies & Instructional Design (AETID) Book Series, IGI Global, October 2014.

    • “Rethinking Bifurcated Testing Models in the Court Interpreter Certification Process.” Tsagari, D. & R. van Deemter (eds.) (March 2013). Assessment Issues in Language Translation and Interpreting. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang GmbH. (Language Testing and Evaluation Series, Vol. 29) ISBN: 978-3-631-63603-9. 

    • “Writing the Wrongs of Literature: The Figure of the Feminist and Post-Colonialist Translator”, Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, Fall 2002, Volume 35, Number 2, ISSN 0742-5562. 

  • Wallace obtains healthcare interpreter certification

    Wallace appointed to NAJIT research and education board

    Meet a Roadrunner: Melissa Wallace