Renée Judeen O'Brien

Performance Solutions Consultant, Carney, Inc. (2003-present)
Alexandria, VA

Freelance translator (1995-present)

Born & raised: Media, Pennsylvania
Reside since 1985: Washington, DC
Like to visit: Paris, Buenos Aires, Outer Banks, Bahamas


Languages: English, French, Spanish

Interests: photography, web surfing, working out, cooking, reading, baseball, travel, my family and my friends.

Education and Background:

I was a member of the University Honors Program at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, and graduated in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts in French and Modern Languages. As part of that degree I completed a special concentration in simultaneous and consecutive conference interpretation. At the end of my coursework I was certified by the U.S. State Department as a conference interpreter in both French and Spanish. I currently work as a freelance translator, specializing in legal, technical and commercial translation. 
From 1985 to 1989 I attended Georgetown University Law Center and Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC. I graduated in May 1989 from the schools' Joint Degree Program in Law and International Affairs with both Juris Doctor and Master of Science degrees.
After receiving my law degree, I embarked on a six-year career practicing international trade law in Washington, DC. I specialized in antidumping and countervailing duty law, representing both importers and foreign producers of merchandise before U.S. administrative agencies and courts. The firms I worked for included: Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon, LLP, Johnson & Gibbs, P.C., Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, and Baker & McKenzie. I am currently a member of the Pennsylvania bar, the District of Columbia Bar and the bar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
I was unable to ignore my love of language, however, and returned to its study. I received my M.S. in theoretical linguistics in December 1996 and completed my Ph.D. coursework and comprehensive exams at Georgetown University.  My particular interest is phonology -- the study of the sound patterning in language. My Masters Research Paper studied intonation in two dialects of Spanish. My Qualifying Paper for Ph.D. Candidacy examined the phenomenon of reduplication in the Manam language from the perspective of Optimality Theory. I gave theoretical linguistics presentations at two linguistic conferences. My dissertation topic was investigating ways to improve large-vocabulary continuous speech recognition of Spanish-accented English.

Issues of special interest include:

    • Exploring the interface between phonology and phonetics
    • Speech recognition, speech synthesis
    • Natural language processing
    • Research in Optimality Theory, a constraint-based approach to phonology

    I served as a translator for SIECA during the US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (US-CAFTA) negotiations in 2003, traveling throughout Central America for the rounds of talks. I took tons of photographs; check out El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua!

    Now I design custom courseware at Carney, Inc.

How to reach me:

  (I last edited this page on January 18, 2009)