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College of Liberal and Fine Arts


Love of Language Fuels Translation & Interpreting Career for Grad Student

April 19, 2018

UTSA Graduate Student Layla Zamora is carving out her own niche in the growing translation and interpreting field by using her Spanish and English language skills to more effectively help patients, caregivers, physicians, nurses, other healthcare workers, social workers, and the various departments at WellMed Medical Management Group in San Antonio communicate.

A native of Laredo, Texas, Zamora spent much of her early childhood there and in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, before she moved to San Antonio with her family at the age of seven. Her bilingual and bicultural upbringing helped fuel her fascination to understand the complexities of human speech and language and their relationship to translation and interpreting.

“There is so much to contemplate beyond simply looking up words in a bilingual dictionary—such as context, nuance, register, dialect, cultural norms, and cultural idiosyncrasies,” she points out.

At WellMed, a physician-led health care delivery system serving more than 320,000 older adults in Texas and Florida, Zamora translates various types of documents, phrases, and texts; researches medical codes and acronyms; proofreads, and edits for the other translators on the team; and conducts English-Spanish interpretations over the phone. She knows how important it is to translate and interpret by choosing the correct words, especially when someone’s health is at stake.

The skills she acquired from the UTSA Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies Certificate program that she completed in 2016 are being put to good use. She is currently working on a M.A. in Spanish and enrolled in the newly created Linguistics Certificate program at UTSA. In addition, Zamora is a member of the American Translators Association which helps her stay current on developments and innovations in translation and interpreting across many industries.

“It’s important to have skilled translators that possess command of both languages doing the work. Translation software and applications in isolation lack the ability to create authentic, relevant, meaningful translations that express the complete, intended, culturally appropriate message,” said Zamora.

In addition to her work in the medical management field, Zamora has an entrepreneurial side and now has a small business offering English-Spanish translation and interpreting services. 

“People’s lives are sincerely impacted by the translation and interpretation services they have access to,” Zamora said. 

Zamora articulated that this is evident not only in the healthcare field, but also in the judicial system for the protection of basic human rights as adequate language access is a human rights issue given the migratory, intercultural world we live in.


Learn more about the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Learn more about the Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies Graduate Certificate program at UTSA

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Linguistics at UTSA

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