The year I learnt my own language



By Raisa Carazo




I started the decade learning the art of translation and I ended it learning my own language. I could begin my story by talking to you about how I have loved languages since a child, how I come from a family of entrepreneurs or how I started working for corporations, just to conclude that being your own boss is better any time. Or I could just fast forward to the part where me, my backpack and my laptop travelled from Cuba all the way to Patagonia studying my native language, Spanish.

This year was a milestone for me. I said goodbye to my office job, put the business plan that had been in my head for years to paper, designed my brand, set up my website, printed my new fancy business cards and booked a flight to South America. I was ready to start the journey and so was JYC Translations.

Since then I have read food menus in my own language without actually understanding a word, I have asked the simplest of questions and had a whole room laughing in response, but most importantly I have added a wide range of new words to my vocabulary.

My journey started in Cuba as a Spanish woman, with little understanding of the richness of the diversity of the Spanish language in Latin America. It finished in Patagonia with a mind full of the richness of the Spanish language in all its varieties and a soul full of stories and anecdotes. I am now translating these stories into an article, which will hopefully help people understand what Latin American Spanish means. I am sure you are aware that in British English we say lift but that in American English they say Elevator, however, the same as I wasn´t, you might not be aware that Paraguay is the only Spanish speaking country in South America where Spanish isn’t the most widely spoken language. Or that the Colombian accent is less distinct than others, and so it is used to dub English films to Spanish that are then redistributed around the whole of Latin America. Or that Cuba has kept very old Spanish words and expressions from colonial times in their day to day language. Through my article I hope that I can help people to learn through my experiences, and to find it as fascinating as I have.

I am now coming home for Christmas for good to celebrate the successes of this year and to start the new decade with new dreams and expectations.