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Conference Presenters

Discover our lineup of presenters who will be sharing valuable insights and diverse perspectives at The Together Conference. These professionals bring a range of expertise in sign language interpreting and translation, ensuring a comprehensive experience for attendees. From seasoned experts to emerging voices, each presenter contributes to the rich tapestry of our event. Check out the profiles below to learn more about these individuals who will share their ideas and contribute to "Moving Our Professions Forward".

Prof. Jemina Napier

Professor, FAHA, FASLI, RSLI

Professor Jemina Napier has been Chair of Intercultural Communication in the Department of Languages & Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK since 2013. She is an interpreter researcher, educator and practitioner and has practiced as a sign language interpreter since 1989. After completing an MA in BSL/ English Interpreting at Durham University in the UK, Jemina moved to Australia to undertake her PhD studies in Linguistics at Macquarie University in 1998 where she established the first Australian university postgraduate programme for sign language interpreters in 2002 and was head of the suite of Translation and Interpreting programs from 2007-2012. Jemina is a Corresponding Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities, Honorary Life Member of the Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association (ASLIA) and was an inaugural board member of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI). She is a Fellow of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters UK (ASLI), and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin.

Jemina’s research expertise is in mediated communication in professional sign language interpreting and child language brokering, as well as family language policy in mixed-deaf hearing families. She has conducted various interdisciplinary research on best practices for sign language interpreting and inter-professional working in institutional contexts including educational, legal, health and mental health contexts. She is the sole author of: Sign Language Brokering in Deaf-Hearing Families (2021), Linguistic Coping Strategies in Sign Language Interpreting (2016), and co-author of: Research Methods in Interpreting (2013) with Sandra Hale, Sign Language Interpreting: Theory & Practice (2018) with Rachel McKee & Della Goswell, and Sign Language in Action (2016) with Lorraine Leeson. She has also co-edited 5 books on interpreting research and interpreter education, and sole or co-authored approximately 130 book chapters and journal articles on these topics.

Anja Saft

MSc. RSLI (Germany)

Anja Saft is a German Sign Language Interpreter who first studied interpreting in 1997 in Magdeburg, Germany. She began freelance interpreting in 2001 and has been an active Sign Language interpreter (SLI) for over 20 years working mainly in conference and work-related settings. Anja has teaching experience and delivered seminars to colleagues and also instructed as part of teaching assignments within Interpreting at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and she has been a mentor to novice interpreters and also offered internships to many students in the past. 

Anja has recently finished an additional Masters program (EUMASLI), her MA-thesis had the topic of occupational transition of SLI practitioners to becoming PhD students. Her research interests include the professionalisation of SLI.

Dr. Rachel Mapson & Kim Mills


Kim Mills RSLI, qualified in 2009 and has extensive experience of interpreting within the healthcare domain, in both primary and secondary healthcare and relishes the challenges presented in these contexts every day.

Dr. Rachel Mapson PhD, RSLI, is Programme Leader of the MSc Advancing Practice in Signed/Spoken Language Interpreting at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. She has worked as an interpreter for nearly 30 years in a variety of domains but particularly in medical, educational/academic and workplace environments.

Theresa Thomas-Morton


Theresa is the current Chief Executive of NRCPD (National Register of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deaf Blind People) in the UK.  She has a rich and diverse background in the field of Sign Language services with a career spanning several principal roles, consistently dedicated to creating environments that foster growth and inclusion.

Beginning as a Registered Sign Language Interpreter, Theresa demonstrated the deep commitment that many of us share, ensuring that Deaf and deafblind people had equal access to information and services.  This role equipped her with the invaluable understanding of the intricacies and challenges within this field.

As an interpreter trainer and assessor, Theresa not only honed her own skills, but also empowered regulated trainees to extend their skills and confidence.  As a trained professional and executive coach, Theresa´s passion for excellence and strong belief in the power of mentorship ensures that trainees and other developing professionals feel psychologically safe, engage in reflective practice and feel assured of their intrinsic ability to learn, develop and thrive.

Furthermore, Theresa held the role of Director at an interpreting agency, offering her a unique perspective on the operational, managerial and quality assurance aspects of this sector.  This experience allowed her to appreciate the challenges and opportunities faced by agencies and Language Service Professionals, contributing to a more holistic view of the sector.

Throughout her career Theresa has consistently championed the creation of psychologically safe and inclusive environments.  Theresa is unwavering in her commitment to the highest standards of service, continuously striving to raise the bar for professional excellence and ensuring that Deaf and deafblind communities receive the most reliable and highest quality of service.

Azaria Francis


Azaria is an Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Consultant, and works with deaf and interpreting organisations.  She has been a Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) for 9 years.  She also currently works in a VRS company as interpreting team leader and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Officer.

She has facilitated training for interpreters in the UK, Europe and internationally, on ‘Race and Interpreting’, and other EDI related topics. In 2023 she was a keynote speaker at UCLan’s Better Together Conference.  She also presented at WASLI’s conference in South Korea about the lack of EDI training for interpreters, pre and post qualification. This followed on from her presentation on a similar topic at EFSLI’s #Awkward conference in 2022.

Azaria is one of the Directors of the Interpreters of Colour Network (IOCN) and believes in promoting their mission of ‘support, educate and celebrate’, to address the under-representation of people of colour and other marginalised groups within the interpreting and translation profession.

Dr. Isabelle Heyerick

PhD, RSLI (Belgium)

Isabelle Heyerick is an Assistant Professor in Applied Sign Linguistics at the Centre for Deaf Studies at Trinity College Dublin. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from KU Leuven (Belgium) where she is member of the research group on Multimodality, Interaction & Discourse. She is an Honorary Research Fellow with the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Warwick (UK) where she was a postdoctoral Marie Curie WIRL-COFUND Fellow (2018 - 2020).

Her areas of expertise are Interpreting Studies and Linguistics, with a specific focus on signed language interpreting and sign linguistics. She is mainly interested in the cognitive aspects of simultaneous interpreting and how these translate into linguistic decisions interpreters make in their practice. Her doctoral work was the first to explore Dutch - Flemish Sign Language interpreting. It describes the strategic behaviour of interpreters as reflected in their linguistic actions. The study examines which linguistic interpreting strategies interpreters (can) use and why they do so. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature since she approaches interpreting as a situated, cognitive, linguistic and societal activity. It is also intrinsically applied and nurtures her commitment as an academic to the signed language interpreting profession. She was the secretary of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters for 8 years and is now an honorary member. She is also the founder and vice-president of Tenuto, an organisation offering professional development for Flemish Sign Language interpreters.

Paul Belmonte


Paul has been practising as an interpreter since 2005. He did his initial training at Heriot-Watt University, then worked for 15 years in a deaf organisation.  Since 2020 he has worked as a specialist health interpreter for the NHS in Scotland. He also enjoys interpreting political conferences, theatre and comedy and has mentored interpreting students from Finland, Germany and the UK. He has presented training events and at conferences all over Europe and completed his MSc from Queen Margaret University in 2022. As well as interpreting and training, Paul loves wandering around Edinburgh and playing with his Lego.

Sofiya Kalinova

Barrister at Law

Sofiya Kalinova, B.L., originally from Bulgaria, is a Barrister in Ireland, making history as the first qualified deaf Barrister in the country. She practices law in Irish Sign Language (ISL) within the Irish courts and has a remarkable track record in various legal fields, including employment, immigration & asylum, medical negligence, personal injuries, human rights, equality, compliance, and regulatory matters.

Sofiya's commitment to advocacy extends far beyond her legal career. She played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Regulatory Centre for Irish Sign Language Interpreters CLG ('RISLI') in accordance with the Irish Sign Language Act 2017. She was responsible for developing and delivering key objectives, policies and procedures, ensuring compliance with legal regulations, and overseeing day-to-day operations in collaboration with the Registration Panel, contributing significantly to the growth of RISLI. In parallel with this project, she dedicated three years to managing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) trainings for ISL Interpreters across various fields, enhancing their skills and professional standards.

Over the past decade, Sofiya has demonstrated exceptional leadership within numerous not-for-profit organisations, accumulating extensive experience in human rights and equality practices at local, national, European and international levels. She co-founded the European Deaf Students' Union (EDSU), where she served as a Policy Officer for four years and became a chair for a year. She also chaired the Expert Group on Human Rights at the World Federation of the Deaf for three years.

Currently, apart from her practice, Sofiya serves as a Board Director at the Irish Deaf Society.

Jill Henshaw


Jill Henshaw is a freelance BSL/English Interpreter based in South Derbyshire. She has recently completed the European Master’s in Sign Language interpreting (EUMASLI) programme with Heriot-Watt University. Her master’s thesis built on work she conducted in 2021 with Dr Jules Dickinson and Brett Best into Imposter Syndrome in the BSL Interpreting and Translation field. Jill works predominantly with local and national charities, in the community, higher education, and VRS. Jill has a keen interest in professional development, supporting the field and is a former ASLI regional representative and board member. In her down time she can be found walking her dog, swimming in cold lakes and rivers, weightlifting and eating with friends.

Yvonne Waddell & Jackie Greenshields


Yvonne Waddel MA, RSLI is a lecturer at QMU, Edinburgh where she teaches on the MSc Advancing Practice for Signed/Spoken Interpreting. She is also a freelance BSL/English Interpreter, working in community and conference settings. Her doctoral research focused on interpreting strategies with mental health nurses and deaf patients, and she is based in Glasgow.

Jackie Greenshields RSLI, has been a professional BSL/English Interpreter for 28 years. She is highly experienced in community, conference and legal interpreting sectors, and is also an assessor and supervisor.

Stephen Ellis-Menton


Stephen is a qualified interpreter based in Southern Spain and has worked in a broad variety of domains over the past 20 years but now specialises in VRS/VRI interpreting. Stephen came to interpreting after first training as a teacher at Liverpool Hope University and gaining the BA Ed (QTS). However, he decided that he wanted to pursue his other passion; sign language and retrained as a sign language interpreter.

Stephen has worked with a range of organisations to deliver mentorship programs and CPD training for interpreters. Stephen is also a qualified assessor and for the past 11 years Stephen has been the lead assessor and tutor for the Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting at BSL Interpretations. In addition, Stephen teaches several CPD courses with BSL interpretations and is one of The Together Conference Organisers.

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