Résumé & Experience
American Translators Association: Spanish Language, Nordic, and Medical Divisions.
National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC)
ProZ.com - Profile: http://www.proz.com/profile/600510
Southern Arizona Biomedical Librarians (SABL)
• Spanish-English translator, 2007 - present. Translated items to date include articles and book excerpts.
• Abstractor of Spanish-language materials covering political and social sciences, July 2009 - present.
• Information desk volunteer 1 day/week at local hospital, May 2008 - Feb. 2009. Assisted patients with paperwork, obtained information and identification from visitors, explained visiting policies, and provided directions as needed. Use of Spanish necessary as patients and visitors include native Spanish speakers who know little or no English.
• Library volunteer 1 day/week at local community college, Jan. 2005 - Apr. 2008. Library users I assisted included native Spanish speakers, sometimes with limited English knowledge.
• Library specialist at university library, Apr. - June 2003. Assisted in retrospective cataloging of special collection materials, including Spanish and other foreign language titles. Strong emphasis on Arizona, U.S. southwest and Mexico.
• Librarian at museum library, 1988 - 2002. Organized library collection that included Spanish-language print materials. Translated occasional Spanish-language correspondence.
• Spanish to English medical translation (online course): New York University, Sum. 2009.
• Spanish to English translation: An introduction (online course): New York University, Spr. 2009.
• Children's Literature in Spanish (3-unit graduate course): University of Arizona, Fall 1985.
• B.A. Minor: University of Arizona, 1984.
• Abstractor of Swedish-language articles covering political and social sciences and librarianship, Feb. 2009 - present.
• Correspondence with Swedish cousin and his wife, including translations of Swedish letters into English, 1991 - present.
• Have received Vasa Star (Swedish American bimonthly magazine) since early 1990s. Swedish language segments and Swedish lesson featured in each issue.
• Oversaw aviation library collection, 1988 - 2002. Organized, cataloged, and indexed materials that included Swedish-language monographs and serials.
The Accidental Interpreter
It was a classic scene of confusion. A department store customer, having managed to track down a sales clerk, was doing her best to explain what she wanted. The customer spoke flawless Spanish -- of which the sales clerk couldn't understand a single word.
Having joined the throng of shoppers hitting the mall this Christmas season, I now found myself serving as an unofficial interpreter. Upon questioning the Spanish-speaking customer, I learned that she wanted to try on the blouse that the sales clerk had on a hanger in her hand. Once I explained that to the clerk, the matter was soon resolved.
This was not the first time I had found myself in the unexpected role of interpreter. Just recently I had come upon a similar department store scene. Many years prior to that, armed with Spanish studies that began in middle school, I had twice had occasion to interpret back and forth for Spanish speakers -- once at a dentist's office, and once just after finishing up with my dermatologist.
As a lifelong resident in a southern Arizona community currently boasting a population that is 40 percent Hispanic, I have long been aware that members of this group vary widely in their English knowledge. I never know when I might find myself face to face with a native Spanish speaker who knows little or no English. Such encounters serve as a reminder that the need for Spanish knowledge doesn't end in the classroom.
Then there's the matter of foreign-language print materials. My post-graduate experience with these dates back to the days I worked as a fulltime solo librarian in a small air museum library. Along with the expected English-language materials in my collection, I came upon materials in a wide variety of other languages, including both Spanish and Swedish. The challenge: Determining how to classify and catalog these items in such a way that the potential wealth of information in them wouldn't be lost to library patrons. To ensure the best possible access to these materials, I translated titles into English and examined enough of the text to determine subject areas covered.
On occasion, I was also called on to translate correspondence. I recall in particular the time an Argentine aviation enthusiast, writing in Spanish, addressed a letter to the museum director. The director turned the letter over to me, and I translated it for him. This service paid off when, some months later, my museum hosted an international conference. I had the opportunity to meet the Argentine correspondent in person and converse in Spanish with him.
Meanwhile, my Scandinavian roots led me down a whole new linguistic path when, in the early 1990s, armed with the rudiments of some self-taught Swedish, I managed to track down my mother's one surviving Swedish cousin and his wife. Local family members and I soon discovered that, while the cousin's wife had learned some English, the cousin himself knew very little. So began an ongoing -- and still continuing -- round of correspondence in which, aided by private lessons aimed at honing my Swedish skills, I alternately filled the roles of family translator and writer of Swedish letters. The cousin's bilingual wife, aware of my Swedish knowledge, has sent letters in English to my mother ever since, but to me she and my mother's cousin always write in Swedish.