Volunteer Interpreter Helps Serve Culturally Diverse Community

Adam Strawbridge, JDC Volunteer Coordinator

Maria Lanas

Maria Lanas

The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) is pleased to recognize Maria Lanas as our Volunteer of the Month in August for her outstanding work with our Interpreter Project. JDC serves a linguistically diverse population, and volunteers such as Lanas help ensure that low-income, monolingual clients have meaningful access to pro bono legal counsel.

A native of Spain, she moved to the United States 11 years ago, and has been a San Francisco resident for the past eight years. As a court-certified Spanish interpreter and translator, Lanas has experience in the legal, educational and medical fields, and is passionate about serving her culturally diverse community.

She first got involved with JDC while studying court interpreting at San Francisco State University, when she was looking to gain experience with legal terminology and proceedings.

She has since found her experience with JDC’s Interpreter Project engaging and rewarding. “Every case is different,” she says. “You get to meet wonderful people and learn new things. You can’t help but put yourself in the client’s shoes and imagine how difficult it must be to face legal challenges in a foreign country.”

While it can sometimes be hard to find room in her schedule to volunteer, Lanas finds the work an invaluable part of her interpreting career. “I love this profession and my goal is to grow as an interpreter and translator and help make a difference every day. Volunteering is one of the best ways to achieve that.”

When she is not volunteering at JDC, Lanas enjoys dining out, live music, foreign films, and spending time with her loved ones.

If you’re interested in volunteering as an interpreter for JDC, email probono@sfbar.org.