Barcelona Translator

photo of Sophie BuchananI’ve always been fascinated by other languages and cultures. As a child I always wanted to know what people were saying and was (and still am) intrigued by the hand gestures and intonation they used when speaking and how the way in which we use language differs so much from country to country. Why do Italians use their hands so much and speak so loudly and all at the same time? The English and Austrians hardly use their hands and speak in a hushed tone? It is all linked to our traditions and culture which is what fascinates me and makes me want to understand more. I see language as more than a means of communication as it tells us so much about tradition and culture as well.

So many languages share words too, why don’t our languages have their own words for these things? For example in English we say bon vivant (taken from French) meaning literally good liver, referring to one who knows how to live well and enjoys life. It doesn’t seem to have the same ring to it in English. In Spanish, they use the word ‘sobremesa’, which refers to the time you spend after a meal sitting around the table talking and digesting the meal. There’s no word for this in English but maybe because it’s more to do with the Spanish culture.

Why choose translation?

Being an English language teacher has made me even more appreciative and proud of what a rich language we have. I feel strongly about the language being spoken and written correctly (maybe because as a child I was constantly corrected by my father which has made me a bit of a language snob!). I’m intrigued by the origins of words and the similarities and differences between languages, therefore working with words and language seemed like a natural career choice for me. I regularly see bad translations which frustrates me. Just one word used incorrectly can change the whole meaning of a sentence, that’s why I feel so strongly about the translation being done correctly and sounding as natural as possible.

Education

I studied French and Spanish GCSE at Camden School for Girls, then went on to do French, Spanish and psychology A levels followed by a degree in Spanish and Latin American studies at London Metropolitan university, minoring in French. I then went on to study translation and interpreting here in Barcelona. I lived in Seville for 1 year as part of my degree and studied at ‘la Antigua fabrica real de tabacos’ the old tobacco factory that houses the university of Seville. I have travelled extensively in both the north and south of Spain and decided to settle here in Barcelona 8 years ago. The Spanish language in particular has always aroused my curiosity and I moved here so as to become proficient in the language. As language is constantly changing I feel that being here means I’m learning every day and love soaking up the language and culture.

Background

Born in Camden Town, London in 1978, I was brought up by a family who travelled a lot and shared fascinating stories of what they’d seen. I myself have travelled quite a bit, and my love of the Spanish language has taken me to South America, and in Spain from Andalucia to the Basque Country and Galicia to Catalunya.