Who We Are

In 1921, young activists from the Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA) founded the International Institute as a way to help newly arrived immigrant women learn the English language, navigate the immigration process, and settle into productive lives in Philadelphia.

Our mission soon expanded to serving a larger population of immigrant families, and during the post-World War II period, we began working to resettle refugees from displaced populations.

We became the Nationalities Service Center in 1963.

You can click here to learn more about our history.

A Full-Service Agency

Of course, our language services aren't just for immigrants and refugees- we are a full-service translation agency well equipped to provide a full range of services to businesses. We work with clients in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, technology, marketing and advertising, education, the legal system, government agencies, and nonprofits, to name a few.

The best translators and interpreters in the field believe in us and want to be a part of what we do, so our quality is excellent. And because our main mission as an organization is to help immigrants and refugees, our rates are very affordable.

When you work with NSC, you'll get the satisfaction of knowing that not only are you getting the best work at the best price, you're helping to improve the lives of refugees from such diverse places as Sudan and Cambodia who live right here in your own community.

In Context

Today, one decade after the events of September 11th, 2001, our mission is more crucial than ever. The social and political climate in the United States has turned against immigration, and some US states have passed laws aimed at creating a hostile climate and deterring new immigrants. The number of refugees admitted dropped sharply in the post - 9/11 period: the US admitted over 120,000 refugees in 1990, but just over 20,000 in 2002. In 2010 the US admitted around 73,000 refugees.* These refugees, from countries as diverse as Iraq, Burma, Bhutan, and Haiti, face difficult conditions in an unfamiliar land.

With services ranging from translation and interpretation to senior centers, social workers, and legal services, NSC is here to welcome - like the statue says - the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Our Mission

Nationalities Service Center prepares and empowers immigrants and refugees in the Philadelphia region to transcend challenging circumstances by providing comprehensive client-centered services to build a solid foundation for a self-sustaining and dignified future.

Our Vision

Our vision is that all immigrants and refugees achieve a life of dignity, safety, stability, sustainable opportunities and meaningful connections to their communities.

Our Staff

Juan Lara

Juan Lara, Director of Translation and Interpretation, joined Nationalities Service Center in May 2011 with a strong background in translation project management. As an immigrant from Colombia and a Spanish speaker, he is passionately devoted to helping immigrants and refugees.

When he's not implementing cutting-edge translation technology or connecting with outstanding linguists, you can find him playing soccer, hiking, or biking with his wife and two children.

He may be reached at jlara@nscphila.org or 215-609-1548

Lilian Wehbe

Lilian Wehbe, Sales and Marketing Coordinator, joined the organization in June of 2013. She immigrated to the United States at two years old from her native country, Lebanon and continued to strengthen and develop her Arabic speaking skills. She graduated from Temple University in May of 2012, where she studied sociology and political science.

When she's not working, Lilian is immersed in social justice activism and politics or spending time with family and friends.

She may be reached at lwehbe@nscphila.org or 215-609-1547

Natalie Olshevski

Natalie Olshevski, Interpreter Training Project Manager, joined NSC in August 2014. Natalie received her Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Applied Psychology from NYU.

She studied abroad in Italy and France before graduating and working as a social worker. Natalie later moved to Santiago, Chile to teach English as a Second Language and returned to the United States to continue teaching. Having lived abroad, Natalie wants to continue working towards goals that connect people from different cultures and language backgrounds. In her free time, she enjoys biking, playing with her dog, cooking, and traveling.

She may be reached at nolshevski@nscphila.org or 215-609-1541

Orlando Almonte

Orlando Almonte, Interpretation Project Manager, joined Nationalities Service Center in July of 2015 but has been working in language services for over two years. Orlando received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Rowan University in 2012 and later moved to Washington DC where he worked for a non-profit organization who advocated for language access in the country's capital.

When not working, he enjoys biking and exploring the many cultures that Philadelphia has to offer.

He can be reached at oalmonte@nscphila.org or 215-609-1551

Paul Rossert

Paul Rossert, Interpretation Project Manager, has worked with Nationalities Service Center since April 2015. Paul received a Bachelor of Science in Film from Drexel University. As a French immigrant and a fond student of languages, Paul is devoted to help fellow immigrants and non-native English speakers.

When he isn't working, Paul enjoys playing soccer, watching movies, and exploring new cuisines.

He may be reached at prossert@nscphila.org or 267-507-1517

Our Services

Accuracy is our first priority. When you send us your documents, we'll take the time to ask intelligent questions to make sure we understand your needs.

We review documents thoroughly before we quote a price so that you'll never get any surprises on your final invoice.

Once you've approved our surprisingly affordable costs, we match you with a qualified professional translator. Our translators have years of experience and are active in professional associations; all are native speakers of the language into which they translate. We work closely with them to confirm that their translations are appropriate to the region, dialect, culture, industry, and context of the target audience.

We never use machine translation. Period.

We use technology to enhance our linguists' capabilities, not to substitute for them. At NSC you can rest assured that your documents are being translated by qualified, professional human beings with relevant experience.

Once the document has been translated by a native speaker, we engage a second linguist to edit and proofread the translation thoroughly, a crucial step in accurate translation that is often skipped by many larger agencies.

Finally, our project manager reviews the translation and adjusts all formatting to ensure that the finished product is the polished, accurate document you need.


Nationalities Service Center is a full-service translation agency. We translate more than 150 languages, both into English and from English into other languages. We work with dozens of industries on a wide range of materials, including government documents, instruction manuals, training materials, academic research, marketing research, medical records, signs, surveys, menus, and legal documents - and our network of professional translators means that we'll match you with the right translator for the job, no matter what the language or subject matter.


Whether it;s a courtroom, an emergency room, or a boardroom, some of the most stressful and most important places are where our interpreters are needed the most. A qualified interpreter from Nationalities Service Center can help you avoid costly or even life-threatening mistakes. Our interpreters are native speakers and consummate professionals with strong qualifications in their fields. In a medical emergency, we'll send an interpreter who speaks the right dialect and knows medical jargon, so that the patient, the family, and the medical staff can all make informed decisions. We work with professional associations of specialized interpreters in fields like law and medicine to find the most accomplished professionals in each field.

We're comfortable working with interpreting situations of different sizes, and we'll do it on your schedule. Do you need to line up specialized interpreters in six languages a year ahead of time for an academic conference? We'll have them ready for you. Do you need a medical interpreter who speaks Wu to get there ASAP? We're on it. How about a sign language interpreter for your political rally or a Japanese interpreter who knows all of the appropriate etiquette for an international business meeting? From press conferences to domestic violence shelters, our interpreters will bridge the gap between languages and cultures whenever and wherever you need them. Call us at 215-609-1547 or request a quote online and we'll get in touch with you right away.

Sign Language Interpretation

Nationalities Service Center is committed to working with the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities to ensure equal access for all. We regularly provide American Sign Language interpretation services for public events, schools, and hospitals. We also work with local suppliers to provide assistive listening devices and other equipment. Please contact us to learn more.

Interpreters Training Introduction

Interpreters are everywhere. From hospital rooms to courtrooms, from tourist attractions to war zones - Whether they are helping to negotiate high-level business deals or mediating conflicts on the streets of Philadelphia, interpreters are needed all over the world.

Demand for foreign-language interpreters is booming in both the public and private sectors. If you want to help your community or travel while earning a good living, interpretation could be your exciting new career.

Community-Based Interpreter Training Course


Join us for our Community-Based Interpreter Training Workshop at Nationalities Service Center to learn more. No interpretation experience is necessary. The workshop is open to all individuals. If you love languages, meeting new people, and thinking on your feet, this course is for you! You'll learn about:

  • Different methods of interpretation, such as simultaneous and consecutive

  • The role of the interpreter in healthcare, business, and other professional settings

  • Ethics and boundaries

  • Clarifying, paraphrasing, and communicating shades of meaning

The workshop will use experiential learning, which means you'll get plenty of chances to practice interpretation strategies and techniques in different situations. At the end of the course, you'll have a solid understanding of the basics of the interpretation profession, a toolkit of techniques, and a great foundation to interact with interpreters professionally or to train for your career as a professional language interpreter.

This 15 hour training will take place Wednesdays, April 22nd, 29th, May 6th, 13th, 20th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Training Location: American Red Cross, 2221 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Pre-registration required.

Click here to register

Help your community. Earn a great living. Make a difference. Become an interpreter.

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap at Nationalities Service Center

Bridging the Gap
Intensive Medical - Interpreting Training

The 40 hour training takes place over 5 days:

Upcoming courses:

October/November 2015

October 30, 31
November 6, 7, 13

Classes take place from 9am to 5:30pm all days.

Cost of Training: $550

Deadline to Register: Thursday, October 22, 2015

Training Location:
American Red Cross
2221 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Course materials are included in the cost of the course. All students will receive:
  • A fully updated medical interpretation textbook,

  • A bilingual medical glossary in the student's language combination.

For questions or to register, please contact:

Natalie Olshevski, Interpreter Training Project Manager
Department of Translation and Interpretation
(215) 609-1541

Are you ready to become a professional medical interpreter?

This exciting and rewarding career is growing fast. Professional and high-quality foreign language interpreters are a crucial part of health care delivery as hospitals, clinics, schools, and doctors' offices serve a growing and diverse population of immigrants and patients with limited or no English proficiency. Delivering accurate medical information to patients and health care providers can save lives. This 40-hour training course trains bilingual health care professionals, interpreters, and translators in the theory, mechanics, ethics, and business of the medical interpretation field.

Bridging the Gap is a nationally recognized training that is accepted by the American Translators Association for continuing education credit and provides excellent preparation for the national certification requirements. This course is considered the best introductory course to the medical interpreting field available in the US - and that distinction is important to hospitals and health care providers, which want to ensure that the interpreters they hire know and adhere to the standards of the field. Bridging the Gap will give students a strong foundation for the professional standards (including skills, ethics, cultural sensitivity, and best practices) of medical interpretation. The course helps students understand how the US healthcare system works and their role within it, covers basic anatomy and medical terminology, examines cultural differences in healing practices, and delves into professional ethics, boundaries, advocacy, and conduct.

Students will need to demonstrate proficiency in English and their non-English language in order to be accepted for the training. Classes and written exams are conducted in English, but students will work in their own language combinations for in-class practice exercises and role-playing. Students who pass the final exam will receive a certificate of successful completion and will be eligible for more advanced training courses.

Bridging the Gap Course Topics

(1) Basic Interpreting Skills

What is - and isn't - your job as an interpreter? What are the professional standards for medical interpreters? Includes techniques and skill drills.

  • The Roles of the Medical Interpreter,

  • Code of Ethics,

  • Interpreting Techniques,

  • Sight Translation,

  • Intervening,

  • Managing the Flow of an Interpreted Session

(2) Introduction to Health Care

What should medical interpreters know about medicine? How does the US health care system work?

  • The Culture of Biomedicine,

  • Anatomy,

  • Medical Procedures,

  • Medical Terminology

  • (3) Culture in Interpreting

    What happens when Western medicine meets other cultural ideas about healing? How can interpreters help clients - and health care providers - understand what is happening in a culturally appropriate way?

    • Self-Awareness,

    • Basic Characteristics of Specific Cultures,

    • Traditional Healing Practices,

    • Culture Brokering

    (4) Communication Skills for Advocacy

    When should an interpreter become an advocate? How can you fully understand your clients' needs?

    • Listening Skills,

    • Appropriate Advocacy

Industries We Serve

Nationalities Service Center's translators and interpreters work with clients from many different industries and sectors. This is a small sampling of what we do.

If you don't see your field listed, contact us to find out how we can help you.


We work with federal, state, local, and international government documents on a regular basis.

Whether we're translating forms for a city government, massive training manuals for the military, or international adoption papers for a family who needs help navigating the system, we can help.

We're also familiar with federal RFP and bidding procedures.


Since we at NSC are a nonprofit ourselves, we're very familiar with the specialized needs of nonprofits large and small.

We handle everything from large-donor fundraising to street-level social work and can provide the interpreters and translators you need to handle any situation. Our affordable prices make us a great option for nonprofits with tight budgets.

We work with the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) and other professional groups to find the most qualified specialists in legal translation.

We translate lengthy legal contracts, arbitration agreements, and other documents; provide certified courtroom interpreters; and work with the courts, police, immigration agencies, and governments to bring accurate, professional legal translation and interpretation to the people who need it most.

Medical & Pharmaceutical

Of the many fields in which we work, medicine is one of the most important.

In medical situations, a life may very well depend on whether a certain word is understood correctly. Our medical translators and interpreters take their jobs very seriously and devote themselves to complete accuracy, whether they are translating technical pharmaceutical research or making sure an emergency room doctor fully understands a patient's medical history.

Marketing & Advertising

A sales pitch is a delicate thing.

What works in one language or culture might be completely inappropriate in another - so it's important to have culturally proficient native speakers translating all of your marketing, advertising, and marketing research materials. Our interpreters understand how focus groups work, and our translators are experienced with marketing research and surveys. Let us help you make sure your target audience gets the message.


We're not afraid to get technical.

At NSC we've got the specialists to handle your technical documents, whether they involve computer science, engineering, chemistry, physics, or complex machinery. We work with CADD and other technical software. Let us know what your technical needs are and we'll get the job done.


In our ninety years of working with immigrants and refugees, we at NSC have developed a deep understanding of the importance of language services in education.

We are committed to helping students of all nationalities succeed, and we work with educators to provide learning materials, classroom interpretation, ASL interpretation, and other services inside and outside the classroom.

What Our Clients Say

Over our ninety-year history, we've built strong relationships with our clients. Here's what some of them have to say about us.

The Health Federation of Philadelphia

Over the past three years NSC has partnered with Health Federation to support our interpreter training initiatives, which focus on building capacity in healthcare and human service systems that serve Philadelphia's most vulnerable residents.

The quality of services provided by NSC has been excellent across the board. The interpreters you have provided to serve as testers and language coaches have been extremely well qualified and enthusiastic professionals, open to direction, patient in working with trainees (who are professionals in their own fields), and eager to share their experiences.

Your office staff have been more than accommodating, in particular to inevitable last minute requests and changes. We continue to look forward to deepening our relationship with NSC, especially through our latest joint initiative, Community Interpreter Training.

Claire C. Jones, M.Ed., Trainer & Program Manager,
The Health Federation of Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center

As a non-profit immigration legal service provider, we often need interpretation and translation services. We have been very pleased with the level of service and professionalism that both the coordinators and interpreters from Nationalities Service Center provide.

Our requests are responded to promptly and our needs are always met. The interpreters are well qualified and extremely professional. NSC offers a wide range of languages and the staff really go the extra mile to ensure that last minute requests for interpretation are met.

NSC also makes a special effort to ensure that the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault that we work with are connected with a trained, sensitive and culturally competent interpreter.

We appreciate the opportunity to work with another non-profit organization and look forward to utilizing NSC for our future interpretation and translation needs.

Sarah Martin-Torres, Central Pennsylvania Immigration Project Coordinator, Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center

Philadelphia Workforce Development

Since 2005, Nationalities Service Center has provided exceptional customer service to our EARN System participants in the languages of Arabic, Albanian, Cambodian, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Urdu, and much more. Requesting services can take up to three business days depending on the language, and I am always impressed at how they are able to provide an interpreter within 24 hours or less.

The interpreters are very professional and care just as much about translating correct information as we care about placing them into the workforce, and that means a lot. Thanks for the six years of exceptional service you have provided to our participants.

Marlene E. Dobson, Senior Project Monitor, Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation


ChildLink has a long, well-established relationship with Nationalities Service Center's Translation & Interpretation services. In my six years as ChildLink's Interpreting & Translation Coordinator, I have worked closely with the Nationalities Service Center office staff. I have found them to be extraordinarily prompt in their replies to our requests, questions, and concerns. I have also been impressed with NSC's capacity to respond to urgent, short-notice requests for interpreters. As for NSC's interpreters, from what our frontline staff report, they are punctual, professional, adequately trained, and effective.

Many of NSC's interpreters develop a good working rapport with ChildLink staff and the families we serve; often they will request specific interpreters by name. Over the years, NSC staff and interpreters have accumulated substantial experience in working with ChildLink. They understand our work, our personnel, the families and children we serve, the types of appointments we have with those families, and the specific language and terms used therein.

Moreover, as a fellow non-profit organization doing socially valuable work in Philadelphia, NSC's vision and goals coincide well with ChildLink's. Knowing that our compensation for their services contributes to their ability to further that vision and those goals gives ChildLink an added altruistic incentive.

I do, and would, consistently recommend NSC's interpreting services without hesitation to providers of therapies for children in Philadelphia County, or any other organizations working within the County's early intervention services system.

Jorge Navarrete, Senior Coordinator, ChildLink

Zhen H Jin Law Offices

I am an attorney in Philadelphia that has been using the services of Nationalities Service Center since 2005. My office has had translations done in numerous languages through NSC and have always received excellent service with fast turnaround time. The staff is extremely professional and very helpful. I would highly recommend NSC for anyone's translation needs.

Zhen H. Jin, Esq., Law Office of Zhen H. Jin, LLC

Contact Us

Please direct all corrspondence to the appropriate persons:

Interpretation | Orlando Almonte, Interpretation Program Manager
Orlando can be reached at oalmonte@nscphila.org or (215) 609-1551.

Interpretation | Paul Rossert, Interpretation Project Manager
Paul can be reached at prossert@nscphila.org or (267) 507-1517.

Trainings | Natalie Olshevski, Interpreter Training Project Manager
Natalie can be reached at nolshevski@nscphila.org or (215) 609-1541.

Translation | Juan Lara, Director of Interpretation and Translation
Juan can be reached at jlara@nscphila.org or (215) 609-1548.

If you are new to our organization and have general inquiries about who we are and what we do, please contact Lilian Wehbe, Sales & Marketing Coordinator. Lilian can be reached at lwehbe@nscphila.org or (215) 609-1547.

Our office is located at

1216 Arch Street, 4th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107

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Fax: (215) 735-9718

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This form is a service request for interpretation services. If this is first time requesting interpretation services, please Request a Quote.

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Languages We Provide

We offer an enormous range of the world's major languages. If you don't see the language you need in this list, please contact us and we'll find you the qualified translator or interpreter you need.

  • A
  • Afar
  • Afrikaans
  • Akan
  • Albanian
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Armenian
  • Assamese
  • Azeri
  • B
  • Baluchi
  • Bangla
  • Bashkirian
  • Belarusian
  • Bengali
  • Bhojpuri
  • Bini Pidgin
  • Bosnian
  • Burmese
  • Bulgarian
  • C
  • Cambodian
  • Catalan
  • Cebuano
  • Chichewa
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • D
  • Damara
  • Danish
  • Dari
  • Dinka
  • Dogri
  • Dutch
  • E
  • English
  • Estonian
  • F
  • Farsi
  • Fijian
  • Filipino
  • Finnish
  • Flemish
  • French
  • French (Canadian)
  • Fulani
  • G
  • Georgian
  • German
  • Gokana
  • Greek
  • Guarani
  • Gujarati
  • H
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hausa
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hmong
  • Hungarian
  • I
  • Icelandic
  • Igbo
  • Ilocano (Ilonggo)
  • Indonesian
  • IsiSepedi (Hiligaynon)
  • Italian
  • J
  • Japanese
  • K
  • Kannada
  • Karen
  • Kashmiri
  • Kazakh
  • Khmer
  • Kikuyu (Gikuyu)
  • Kinya-Rwanda
  • Kirundi
  • Kiswal
  • Konkani
  • Korean
  • Kurdish
  • Kyrgyz
  • L
  • Laotian
  • Latin
  • Latvian
  • Lingala
  • Lingombe
  • Lithuanian
  • Luganda
  • M
  • Maay Maay (Mai-Mai)
  • Macedonian
  • Maithili
  • Malagasy
  • Malay
  • Malayalam
  • Maltese
  • Mandingo
  • Mandinka
  • Manipuri
  • Marathi
  • Marshallese
  • Masai
  • Mizo
  • Mongolian
  • N
  • Ndebele
  • Nepalese
  • Northern Sotho
  • Norwegian
  • O
  • Oriya
  • Oromo
  • P
  • Panggalatok (Panggasinense)
  • Papiamentu
  • Pashtu
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Portuguese (European)
  • Punjabi
  • R
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • S
  • Sanskrit
  • Serbian
  • Sesotho
  • Setswana
  • Shona
  • Sindhi
  • Sinhalese
  • Siswati
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Somali
  • Southern Sotho
  • Spanish (European)
  • Spanish (Latin American)
  • Swahili (Kiswahili)
  • Swati
  • Swazi
  • Swedish
  • T
  • Tagalog
  • Taiwanese
  • Tajik
  • Tamazight (Berber)
  • Tamil
  • Tatar
  • Telugu
  • Thai
  • Tibetan
  • Tigrinya
  • Tshivenda
  • Tsonga
  • Tswana
  • Turkish
  • Turkmen
  • Twi
  • U
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Uzbek
  • V
  • Venda (Vonda)
  • Vietnamese
  • W
  • Waray-Waray
  • Welsh
  • Wolof
  • X
  • Xhosa
  • Xitsonga
  • Y
  • Yiddish
  • Yoruba
  • Z
  • Zulu

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