Conference Report: Lenguas 2019 Mexico City

Lenguas is a biennial conference held in Mexico City hosted jointly by InterpretAmerica and The Italia Morayta Foundation to share knowledge and best practices amongst interpreting professionals from all backgrounds.

The second and most recent event in 2019 took place between January 24th and January 26th. This is a relatively new conference, with around 200 attendees at the first event in 2017, and it is already growing in popularity, with around 280 registered attendees this year.

Senior Nimdzi team members Renato Beninatto, Tucker Johnson, and Eric Woelfel were in attendance during this year’s conference and are providing this conference report for any who are interested in finding out more about this conference.

About the conference

Lenguas is not a typical networking conference. It has much more depth than that. While the networking components are strong and the hospitality of the organizers was commendable (catered food and drinks, opening reception, etc), the main focus of the conference is on continuing education and sharing of knowledge.

Interpreters were by far the dominant group in attendance, though there were also a good representation of translators, project managers, association representatives, and other parties interested in learning more about the profession of interpreting. Most sessions and workshops were conducted in Spanish, though some were in English, and interpretation was provided for all sessions so that nobody had to miss out.

Plenary sessions

The opening plenary day hosted a respectable roster of panel members, keynote speakers, association leaders, and other well-known industry names. Attendees gathered at the beautiful and historic Antiguo Colegio de S. Idelfonso to hear from experts on the current and future state of the profession.

Focus on indigenous languages

As 2019 has been proclaimed by the United Nations to be the International Year of Indigenous languages. It is not surprising, then, that this was a prominent topic of discussions during the three panel discussions on the Plenary day, nor that there were representatives from over 20 indigenous languages in attendance. They keynote address was delivered by Maria Teresa Panchillo, a Mapuche poet and activist from Chile, who has dedicated her life to championing underserved indigenous languages.


While the plenary sessions were fascinating, the second and third days of the conference were perhaps more indicative of the conference’s primary purpose, bringing continuing education and knowledge sharing to the interpreting community.

Rather than speeches or panels, there were interactive and practical workshops on a variety of subjects. There was no shortage of choice for the attendees. Each time slot had at least 4 different two and a half hour workshops running simultaneously, so attendees had an abundance of choice. Topics ranged from practical interpretation technique trainings, to business-oriented topics for those wanting to learn how to grow their practice.

It is important to note that attendance at these workshops counted towards continuing education units towards credentials from ATA, CIMCE, CCHI y IMIA, and NBCMI.

Nimdzi’s CEO, Renato Beninatto hosted two workshops: “Moments of Change, Opportunities for Growth”, and “From Family Company to Global Enterprise: Meaningful Growth of your Language Services Business.” Nimdzi Managing Director, Tucker Johnson, also hosted a workshop titled “Project Management: Not for the Faint of Heart.”


The Lenguas conference provided a good mix of speakers, workshops, and networking events. The conference is heavily targeted towards interpreters, and there were also representatives from LSPs and other industry organizations. The level of cooperation between these organizations is encouraging. Lenguas may be the new conference in town, but it has already made a big impact. Perhaps most importantly, it allows interpreters an affordable and local option to receive continuing education credits that count towards maintaining their credentials and certifications.

Interpreters looking to expand their knowledge and network should consider attending when the conference is next held in 2021. Likewise, language service providers should consider sponsorship options for this conference, as it is an excellent opportunity to expand relationships with their most valuable team members, the translators and interpreters they work with.

About the Organizers

Lenguas is a join effort between InterpretAmerica and The Italia Morayta Foundation.

Interpret America

Interpret America provides a national and international forum for the interpreting profession. Our mission is to help raise the profile of interpreting by providing an open and ongoing forum where key players from all branches of interpreting can gather and foster greater connection among its many sectors. InterpretAmerica organizes conferences, webinars, virtual events, blogs, public speaking, publications, and other activities to raise the profile and reach of the interpreting profession.

Italia Morayta Foundation

The Italia Morayta Foundation is a non-profit organization that seeks, among other goals, to promote the development and recognition of translation and interpreting in Mexico through meetings, research projects and webinars, in continue the legacy of Italia Morayta, a pillar for the language services professions throughout the Republic of Mexico.​

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