About Angie Birchfield
In 2003 Angie learned that some individuals were unlawfully taking other people’s certification number and names from the Judicial Council’s public database of certified interpreters and fraudulently pretended to be certified in legal proceedings, including depositions. As a result, she addressed this issue before the Judicial Council and requested that our certification numbers be removed from the public database. She also requested a requirement that interpreters needed to state their appearances and their certification number at the beginning of every event. The numbers were eventually removed from the database, but the certification confirmation was not enforced.
In 2013 she became the Freelance Unit chair for TTIG - The Translators and Interpreters Guild, a unit of the CWA/TNG union. Angie and her TTIG co-chair were successful in changing its name to the Interpreters Guild of America after realizing that ours was a national plight in the profession. In 2016, she was appointed to the Language Access Task Force, VRI Committee and Pilot Project, the LAP Budget Committee, and the LAP Technological Solutions Committee, representing independent contractors. She brought to the table her years of experience, and that of her many colleagues as independent contractors in the courts and in the private sector.
IGA along with the assistance of the union lobbyist, advocated successfully for the recognition of our certification. We achieved this goal through Assembly Bill 2370 where we are required to place our certification number on the record each time we interpreted at a legal proceeding, in or out of court. Although this was meant for Civil, Medical, and Workers Compensation matters, it was also implemented in Criminal court. This was by far one of her greatest achievements for the profession.
Following that success, she travelled to Sacramento advocating for interpreters working in the Workers Compensation and medical interpreting areas. She assisted Senator Mendoza in the language for SB1160 in an effort to protect interpreters in the workers compensation arena.
She worked with other stakeholders to make sure that the certification requirement was not removed from Small Claims matters through SB 1150 Hueso, and finally SB2257 which began as SB900 which was a result of AB5.
In 2019 the private sector interpreters faced a challenge of the language and implementation of AB5. It was clear to her that in order to preserve the integrity of the profession in the private sector, she needed to find a way to represent the independent language professionals so that they would not be affected with by some of the strict requirements. She fought hard along with colleagues Michele Stevens, Julie Drucker, and Ttzol Lopez, to convince the union to support them, to no avail. She felt compelled to resign from her position as Unit Chair due to the lack of support in defending freelancers from the unintended consequences of AB5.
This was an unprecedented effort and by far the most difficult of obstacles to overcome. Yet, Angie and her colleagues worked diligently to convince the legislators in Sacramento to hear them out, and they were successful. After going through months of fighting and prevailing, it became apparent that the language profession had arrived! As a result, it was clear that we need constant representation at the legislative level so we will never be overlooked again.
She is proud to be a part of the AAPTI group. She strongly believes that AAPTI shares the same commitment and values to represent our profession, and to protect the communities we serve by assuring that they have access to competent and professional language services. She hopes that you will join AAPTI and commit to travel down this road together!