Founder of www.thisisspain.com, Steve provides information about Spain for those interested in our country, especially expats moving to our mother land. Go check it out and discover everything about holidays, travel and helpful advice on living in Spain.
Languages: English, Spanish, Swedish (read), Norwegian, Danish, German and French.
The interview: Steve read an article about us on Barnatalent and thought we could collaborate somehow. Of course! We were up for it! We were listed on his website and here is our payback. A couple of emails later, we sent him our questions and…
Why did you decide to create this kind of site?
I thought there was a genuine need to create a resource for those thinking of moving or retiring to Spain, or those who had just arrived.
What is the main topic of your site?
Information, facts about all aspects of expat life.
Where do most of your followers come from?
UK and Scandinavia.
Have you ever thought of translating your site into different languages?
I have a small section in Swedish.
Apart from English, in your opinion, what is the second most important language?
Where do you get all the information you show on your site from?
A lot of research and a lot of people who are keen to help in the project.
How do you deal with people who speak other languages you don’t know?
That is rarely an issue. I can deal with people in English, Spanish, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian.
Have you ever turned to a translator or an interpreter to solve any problems regarding communication?
Yes, but not on this project as I speak English and Spanish (and understand the other official languages of Spain).
Do you usually deal with people from different countries? Can you give us an example?
Every day I receive enquiries about removals, wills, language courses, car-hire, visas, work permits, etc.
Which skills do you consider the most important to work with people? Are languages one of them?
ABSOLUTELY. That and patience. It takes all my patience to explain to people that Spain has mega unemployment and that their chances of finding a well-paid, permanent position without speaking Spanish are almost zero, or that nobody is going to translate 20 pages of a legal document without charge. Only recently an air-conditioning engineer was lamenting the fact that he was being charged for a translator at a hospital. I asked whether he would expect to charge her for installing her a/c. «Of course! I’m a professional, it’s my job» The fact that she spoke Spanish fluently was a fluke, I suggested sarcastically and whilst he may have done two years at college, I assured him that for her to be able to support him at an oncology surgery meant she had spent many years learning irregular verbs, medical terminology and perfecting her accent!
Can you tell us about any anecdote regarding communication you have been through?
I am quite deaf and only last week I thought somebody had asked me if I wanted bread when he had actually asked if I had broken my leg!
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