Legal Interpreter Training Institute


Lead Faculty

Carla M. Mathers, Esquire, SC: L has practiced law in Maryland and the District of Columbia since 1993.  She currently serves as General Counsel and Legal Program Manager for TCS Associates Interpreting, a prominent sign language interpreting service in Maryland.  Ms. Mathers’ law degree is from Howard University School of Law.  Ms. Mathers’ interpreting degree is from the College of Southern Idaho.  Ms. Mathers sat on the Advisory Group for Language Access to develop standards for language access in courts for the American Bar Association.  Ms. Mathers also sat on the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts’ Advisory Committee on Interpreters Sub-committee on Ethics and Sub-committee on Testing and Training.  Ms. Mathers previously served as the Legal Program Coordinator for MARIE Center/DOIT Center at the University of Northern Colorado. She has served as an adjunct instructor for the Gallaudet University Department of Interpretation teaching legal interpreting, among other courses.  She served as Vice President for the Conference of Interpreter Trainers and sat on the Board of Directors for the Deaf Abused Women’s Network in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Mathers is the author of Sign Language Interpreters in Court:  Understanding Best Practices, a text for interpreters, attorneys and courts to understand the principles underlying ASL court interpreting.


Sandy Peplinski, BS, CI, CT, SC:L, QMHI has been an interpreter for the past 25 years.  Having deaf parents allows her to have a strong ties to the deaf community, a deep understanding of deaf culture and the communication struggles deaf individuals face on a daily basis.  In her work as a community interpreter, she specializes in legal and mental health interpreting.  Sandy has a background in deaf education, attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  She also attended the Interpreter Training Program at said university.  She has completed the training and is registered to provide interpreting services through the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry (WEAVR).   She is the first recipient of the Outstanding Interpreter Award (2017) from the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf for her work in the deaf community.

Being a mentor to interpreters wanting to improve their skills, both on a general basis, along with skills needed to work in legal settings gives her an opportunity help improve the quality of interpreting within the community.  She is a guest lecturer at the Interpreter Training Program at UWM-Milwaukee, as well as participating in evaluating progress of students in the ITP.  Along with Lisa Perry Burckhardt, a certified deaf interpreter, she is one of the interpreting teams in the  2014 NCIEC video, Highly Effective Court Interpreting Teams in Action, which is used for training interpreters to work in legal environments. Sandy is a strong advocate for the use of certified deaf interpreters and is heavily involved in mentoring deaf interpreters to become certified.  Working in deaf/hearing teams constitutes a large portion of her work.  Sandy has been a co-instructor, along with Stephanie Kerkvliet and Lisa Perry Burckhardt, during the initial series of the Legal Interpreter Training Institute (LITI) and looks forward to the next cohort experience.

Debra Gorra Barash, BSBA, CI, CT, SC:L, QMHI has been a nationally certified sign language interpreter since 1986. Shortly after becoming certified, she began to specialize in legal interpreting and received her Specialty Certificate: Legal from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).  Additionally she specialized in mental health interpreting and received her Qualified Mental Health Interpreting credential.

In 1993, Debra was honored with the Wisconsin Chapter of RID (WisRID) Distinguished Service Award for her outstanding contributions to the profession of interpreting.  In 1996, she founded and co-owned Professional Interpreting Enterprise, LLC, a successful Sign Language Interpreting company, which was recognized as an innovative leader in its field for quality service.  She has since sold her share of the company and continues to provide interpreting, consulting, mentoring and training services.

Debra served more than ten years under Chief Justice Abrahamson’s office as a member of the Committee to Improve Interpreting and Translation in the Wisconsin Courts.  She chaired the subcommittee that authored the Wisconsin SCR 63, Code of Ethics for Court Interpreters and served in developing the curriculum for the WI Court Orientation Program for Interpreters. Debra has presented at various conferences such as the Wisconsin Judicial College, Wisconsin Judicial Conference, the Public Defender’s conference, the Court Reporter’s conference, and “Through the Eyes of a Child” conference for Guardian Ad Litems to name a few.

Debra received her degree in Business Administration and has over 30 years of business experience.  In addition to owning and operating her own business, she has been an Executive Director for non profit organizations and has been a consultant on business ethics, program development and also became a trained mediator.  Debra serves as a mentor to developing interpreters and has been a trainer in the WisRID Legal Training Program and an instructor in the UWM Interpreter Training Program.  She also serves as a faculty member for the Wisconsin Court Orientation Program for Interpreters and has served on the Minnesota Court Orientation Program for Interpreters.  Debra serves on various committees relating to ethics and ethical behavior, character and fitness issues, disciplinary complaints, and grievance appeals cases on a state and national level.  Combining her unique and diverse business, interpreting and training background, with her work as an interpreter, Debra presently conducts seminars specializing in legal interpreting, understanding ethical behaviors, ethical decision making, and the roles of interpreters in the legal system. She provides consulting services and serves as an Expert Witness on interpreting issues.


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