I was hired as a Spanish Court Interpreter for Illinois’ 18th Judicial Circuit Court in the fall of 2014, before Illinois had seriously begun implementing its certification requirements. I spoke Spanish fluently but had no interpreting experience prior to being hired.

Victor, immediately took me under his wing and taught me everything I needed to know to be successful in my new role. He clearly knew everything there is to know about being a good interpreter, far beyond a good vocabulary. Victor taught me how to fit into the court system as an interpreter, how to simultaneously earn the respect of Spanish-speakers and English-speaking court officials. He patiently helped me understand the legal processes that played out in front of me in court, too, recognizing how an understanding of the context in which I was interpreting would make me better at my job and increase my confidence. Victor established a spirit of trust and collegiality among all the interpreters in the courthouse, encouraging us to help each other and learn from each other in ways that made it a joy to be part of his team and, I believe, inspired us all to be the best interpreters we could be.

I’ve taken the lessons from my experience working with Victor as an interpreter with me into law school and will carry them close throughout my legal career. Though I never took a formal class from him, I can’t imagine a better teacher for anyone thinking about entering this amazing profession!

Andrew Hirschel

Andrew is a law student at the University of Pennsylvania who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from the University of Michigan. Prior to law school, Andrew worked as an Illinois State Registered Spanish Court Interpreter in the courts of the 18th Judicial Circuit. Andrew learned Spanish living in Chile and briefly in Mexico and has been serving the Spanish-speaking community of greater Chicago in various roles since he was in high school. Outside of reading cases, Andrew enjoys playing tennis, cooking, playing piano, and practicing his salsa dance moves.