Headshot of Talya Blazia
Talya Blazia (She/Her/Hers)

Ayuda’s Language Access Program (LAP) exists so that anyone can get help when they need it, regardless of the languages they use to communicate. A big part of how we pursue this goal is by training interpreters on how to work in a victim services or a legal setting. Our trainings help grow the talent pool for local nonprofits and pro bono lawyers seeking language access support for those they serve – but they also have a meaningful impact for our interpreters, creating lifelong immigrant champions.  

Today we’re celebrating Talya Blazia, a Freelance International Interpreter whose work includes supporting survivors through Ayuda’s interpreter banks. Talya interprets for both Spanish and Portuguese and was kind enough to expand on her dedication to language access in a Q&A. 

How did you come to be involved with Ayuda?   

Through their Trauma Informed Certification Training Program for interpreters. 

What does language access mean to you? 

That no one is left behind!! No borders, nor discriminations nor injustices exist! The language access bridge is always open, with no gaps, potholes, nor tolls to pay.  

Equal, highly qualified access for all! 

As an interpreter, what role do you have in Ayuda’s mission? 

The empowering role to provide high quality professional interpreting with accuracy, empathy and full autonomy to the most vulnerable, yet the strongest people we encounter. And, leading by example so that victims become survivors who thrive because our traumas, trials, and tribulations make us stronger. Warmly welcoming immigrants so they can be proud to walk with their heads held high, know their rights and self-advocate, and advocate for others to thrive in their new home.  

My next most vital role is to send as many people as possible directly to AYUDA for their amazing vast variety of services. 

What’s one thing about interpretation that you wish more people knew? 

It’s truly an art; a special craft. And being bilingual is not enough! It takes years of hard work, study, versatility, training, practice, and certifications to invest in yourself and take on other people’s pain, problems, and struggles. It’s a serious career full of liability, yet the most rewarding thing I have done, truly blessed to do for 30 years!! We never stop improving or learning! 

What are some of your most memorable moments or experiences from Ayuda interpretation assignments? 

Hard to choose, for multiple reasons, especially due to confidentiality! However, the phenomenal training most definitely, where it challenged this amazing group of unique highly qualified interpreters to break outside of their comfort zone, become vulnerable, open to making changes to improve, and discuss uncomfortable and sensitive things! Most importantly, the training spent a long time focused on something that most trainings do not but absolutely should always, which is self-care! 

On a separate note, having the honor to interpret at the Welcome Breakfast for an amazing Ayuda client, where my eyes were literally wide open for the first time to all that Ayuda does! I had no idea! I was blown away, so much so watching the video, that at that moment I made the firm decision to lead everyone to Ayuda….To receive services…to donate their time, money, materials, support, resources and caring hearts! Ayuda saves lives and gives people their dignity! 

 A passionate cause very close to my heart is interpreting for fellow survivors of abuse, domestic violence, sexual crimes against children and adults, human trafficking and working in forensics – an opportunity Ayuda allows me to do multiple times weekly! The most gratifying part of my career! 

Seeing them transform from victims to survivors who thrive to advocates is the most fulfilling part of my daily career! Now, I’m interpreting for Ayuda’s new Community Advisory Council, and that’s full circle! They fight for the rights of those whose voices aren’t heard, and reach out to many of the political lawmakers that I, too, have interpreted for!  

In your view, how is the language access program at Ayuda unique? 

Ayuda is full circle! Still filling in a few gaps to improve every day, and to open and refer out more services…but most importantly, they are willing to listen!!! Actively listening – not hearing! They fight for all human rights and serve to protect and provide for all! They’re a wide umbrella of services, and they keep expanding to more areas to serve! 

What does “Ayuda” mean to you? 

“Help” means nothing unless someone hears your cries, sees your pain enough to care, sees you fall and extends a hand to pick you up, holds you up when you are falling apart and almost down! This organization ACTS! They don’t just “talk the talk,” they “walk the walk” so hard that you can hear them stomping through the streets; humbly and selflessly reaching out to help others without judgement! Showing up when someone says “HELP” and being intentional to do whatever is necessary to relentlessly aid others in their most vulnerable and darkest moments and walk them safely into the light with long-lasting tools!! 

Want to get involved in Ayuda’s Language Access Program? Learn more