SPAIN RETREAT 2024: Interpreter Training

MAY 19 – 25, 2024

Join us for this innovative Interpreter Training Program in Spain!

Interpreter Professional Development

This 6-day adventure to Madrid and the surrounding area is tailored for the Professional Spanish Interpreter. This program is approved for Continuing Education Credit through the US State Courts.

Program includes a visit to Madrid’s Audiencia Provincial (criminal courthouse) to observe a trial!


In 2024, Prof. Karen Borgenheimer, MFA, will once again be joining forces with Dr. Susana San Cristobal, professor at the RCU “Maria Cristina” Law School, to present this innovative Interpreter Professional Development Retreat.

Prof. Karen Borgenheimer, MFA, lead instructor, is a classically-trained, certified interpreter and translator who is regarded as a skilled, insightful and versatile professional.

Karen’s educational background includes: a 4-year Master of Fine Arts degree in Translation Studies from the University of Arkansas–Fayetteville, Sampere Escuela de Traductores e Intérpretes (Madrid), doctoral coursework in Spanish Language and Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Court and Conference Interpreting at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami.

Her Interpreter Training Workshops have been an enormous success throughout Florida, where she has trained hundreds of certified interpreters and interpreters-in-training. She is a Continuing Education Provider in numerous states.

For a nearly a decade, Karen lived in San Lorenzo de El Escorial where she taught at the Real Centro Universitario (RCU) “Maria Cristina.” Her understanding of the Spanish people, language, culture, and history is unique. It is this uniqueness and experience that she brings into the classroom by blending concepts and techniques with real-life applications–and a good dose of humor.

Karen has been a university professor for 33 years and a professor of the Translation and Interpretation Program at FIU in Miami, Florida for the past 21 years. She has presented at numerous national conferences: ATA-SPD (2018), NAJIT (2018, 2022, 2023), NAJIT webinar series (2022), Florida State Interpreter Conference 2019 (presenter + keynote speaker), Pacific Northwest Interpreter Conference 2019, Arizona Translators & Interpreters (ATI) Conferences (2019, 2021, 2023).


Dr. Susana San Cristóbal Reales, lead instructor, obtained both her law degree and Doctorate in Procedural Law (cum laude) from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.

As a law professor for the past 34 years, Dr. San Cristóbal has taught numerous courses in Civil and Criminal Procedural Law at various Law Schools in Spain including the prestigious Real Centro Universitario (RCU) María Cristina in San Lorenzo de El Escorial (an affiliate of the Universidad Complutense of Madrid), the Universidad Europea de Madrid, and the Universidad Nebrija, UNED.
She also teaches Alternative Systems for Conflict Resolution (Masters of Law) at the Centro Garrigues and Masters of Construction Law, a program organized by RCU María Cristina in San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

In addition to her teaching career, Susana has practiced both civil and criminal law. She has written three monographs, numerous book chapters, law review articles. Dr. San Cristóbal has participated in several legal research projects throughout her career.

Dr. Susana San Cristobal joined our Spain program in 2016 as a guest lecturer. Since then, she has come on board as a full partner in our Interpreter Training Program. Her knowledge of the Spanish legal system and ability to actively engage students is unparalleled.


Program includes 20 hours of intense interpreter training



  • Spanish Civil Law vs. US Common Law + Legalization of Documents + Sight Translation (4 hours – presented in Spanish & English)

The first segment of this session will provide participants with a comprehensive Comparative Study of the two legal systems and the proper translation of terminology inherent in both.  The second segment seeks to enhance the professional interpreter’s understanding of the International Protocol (Chain of Legalization) required for presenting legal documents from one country to another. This includes an in-depth discussion of the role of the notary in civil law countries, the importance of the Hague Convention and the Apostille. Participants will then put this knowledge to use during Sight Translation practice with original Spanish court documents. (Prof. Karen Borgenheimer)

  • Organization of the Spanish Court System (4 hours – presented in Spanish)

Participants will obtain a thorough understanding of the Organization of the Spanish Court System in preparation for the Madrid Courthouse visit. This session includes on ongoing Q+A to draw correlations between the U.S. Court System vs. Spanish Court System. (Prof. Susana San Cristobal)

  • Consecutive Interpreting: Advanced Skills + Vocal Training (4 hours – presented in Spanish and English)

This class will help the professional interpreter improve Consecutive Interpreting skills through a thorough discussion of proper technique and hands-on guided practice with Memory & Visualization, Notetaking, Proper Register (formal and informal), and Intonation & Expression. Participants will polish these skills through intense practice with authentic legal cases from the Spanish judicial system. This module also includes a segment on voice training for interpreters to improve  voice quality, intonation, articulation and voice projection.

  • Judge’s Rulings – An in-depth study + Consecutive Practice (4 hours – presented in Spanish & English)

This module will prove invaluable to the participants and enable them to better comprehend the language of the Court and arguments presented by the attorneys at trial and the ruling handed down during the Madrid courthouse visit. Group Practice: Reverse Consecutive. (Prof. Borgenheimer and Prof. Susana San Cristobal)

  • Investigative Phase of Criminal Cases–Procedure and Terminology (2.5 hours – presented in Spanish)

This class will focus on the purpose and content of the investigative phase in criminal cases and the role police and crime scene experts play during the investigation. Special attention will be placed on the proper terminology required for interpreters to fulfill his/her duties during expert witness testimony. (Prof. Susana San Cristobal)

  • Guest Speaker: Madrid’s Chief Inspector of Organized Crime (1.5 hours – presented in Spanish)

Chief Inspector of the Madrid Organized Crime Unit will discuss  how the Organized Crime Unit of the National Police in Madrid investigates crimes and arrests perpetrators. Crime scene investigation techniques and terminology will be thoroughly covered through real-life case studies. (Chief Inspector Enrique González Reales)

  • Guided Visit to Madrid’s Audiencia Provincial – Criminal Courthouse

Participants will have a 3-hour visit to Madrid’s Audiencia Provincial where they will have the unprecedented opportunity to observe a criminal trial.