About Us


Our Start

Our program was founded in 2000 when an incident left a local family living in Ithaca without the ability to communicate with emergency service providers. In light of this incident, Cornell alumna Fatema Sumar '01 recognized the need for an accessible language translation and interpretation service to be established within the community and thus founded TIP as a student-run program of the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement (formerly Cornell Public Service Center).

Our Mission

By training multilingual Cornell students to serve as volunteer translators/interpreters for community agencies in both emergency and non-emergency situations, TIP works to bridge language and cultural barriers as well as build mutual understanding and community trust.

Our Impact

Since its start, TIP has recruited and trained bilingual and multilingual Cornell students to provide free translation and interpretation services to bridge the language gap and aid Cornell offices, Tompkins community agencies, and out-of-state agencies.

Certified by Cornell language faculty members, our TIP volunteers have been providing translation and interpretation services for over 300 community agencies in Tompkins County and surrounding areas since 2000.

We are proud to be the oldest and largest faculty-certified, student-run translation and interpretation program in the United States, providing vital services in the community for over two decades.

Contact Us

If you would like to learn more about our program, please feel free to contact us at translator@cornell.edu.


TIP was founded by Fatema Sumar '01 in light of a local emergency incident that demonstrated the language needs of the community.


TIP volunteers provided interpretation services during the immediate response to an armed robbery of a restaurant in Dryden, as well as during the court trial where the suspect was charged.


TIP received the Corrine Galvin Humanitarian Award from the Tompkins County Human Rights Commission and the Outstanding Event that Celebrates Campus Diversity Award for Taste of Culture from the Student Activities Office.


The New York State Education Department contacted TIP in response to a shooting at the American Civic Association immigration center in Binghamton, NY. TIP provided 35 volunteers in over 20 different languages to bridge the language barrier due to this incident.


TIP received honorable mention in President Skorton's farewell speech to the 2012 Cornell University graduating class, as well as news coverage in Ithaca Times.


TIP volunteer interpreter greatly contributed to the communication in a truck accident that occurred in Ithaca Commons.


TIP was awarded the Town Gown Award by the City of Ithaca for TIP's collaboration with the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes where TIP volunteers provided translations of common practices and expectations regarding cancer care in the United States.


TIP volunteers provided translations of the children's book "The Bus for Us" for the Children's Reading Connection.


TIP volunteers collaborated with World Hope International and a D.C.-based catastrophe-preparedness company, Disaster Tech, to provide translations of a website user guide  for the Get-Support online platform launched to respond to community requests for assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This organization is a registered student organization of Cornell University.