I’m hoping that the name of this blog has made a few of you chuckle as it’s quite an accurate reflection of my professional life and ironically, being ginger has always been a defining feature of how people remember me. I’m nowhere near as blonde as Elle Woods, but I am equally as fun and determined, especially when it comes to my business. From personal experience, the legal world can be very stuffy and far too traditional at times. This is why I really pride myself on offering friendly and accessible legal translation services…just because it’s legal, it doesn’t mean it has to be boring. I feel that the name of this blog perfectly encapsulates that, although I can’t take the credit for the name as this was a friend’s idea, who clearly has a way with words and translates luxury fashion and travel brands for a living. It really is true that sometimes people know you better than you know yourself!
I’ll admit that my website designer did suggest that I started a blog to boost my SEO, but I shrugged it off because in all honesty, I didn’t really think my life was interesting enough for a blog. However, there are dogs on Instagram who have millions of followers so surely blogging about life as a translator and legal eagle has to be considered interesting, even if I’m not as cute and fluffy. After an afternoon trip to the cinema to see Parasite with Spanish subtitles, I felt sufficiently inspired to write a blog. Does Parasite live up to the hype? YES. The last 10 minutes in particular are so intense and regardless of your native language, the gasps throughout the cinema at several points during the final captivating moments of the film required no translation. I finally got around to seeing it at the cinema and I’m so glad I did. Not only did it help my Spanish, but it also provided a helpful reminder of how being a linguist really does open up so many doors. If you haven’t seen it already, get yourself to your local cinema!
So, thanks to SEO and Parasite, here is my first ever blog post.
My name is Nicole Fenwick or better known professionally as the face of Coley Translates, which specialises in legal and business translation from French into English. As I am a freelance translator, I am lucky enough to be living my best life working from a home office in a 150-year-old apartment in the trendy El Born area of Spain’s second city. This area of the city is very central and is just a stone’s throw away from Barcelona’s renowned Las Ramblas. I really enjoy living in this part of the city as it is quieter than the rest of the city with slightly less tourists, which is really important when you are a fast walker and have things to do and people to see. It is also close to the beach, which is very important when you grew up by the seaside…albeit it a much colder and greyer one on the north east coast of England. As I said, El Born is trendy and pretty hip, much hipper than I am but I can wander with the best of them through its narrow medieval streets lined with designer boutiques and cafes when I am taking a break from translating or teaching legal English to French lawyers. I always make a habit of leaving the apartment at least once every day for some fresh air and contact with the outside world. It’s a place that I always look forward to exploring after a day’s work, which often consists of a weeknight fresh milk run so that I can have a well-deserved cup of Yorkshire tea. Fresh milk is something that I continue to invest in since moving here in November because the UHT milk just doesn’t do it for me in a cup of tea. It will do for most things, but tea deserves only the best in my book so it’s a necessity for me here. Other than that, I have been more than happy to abandon English cuisine all together and continue my lifelong love for paella, tapas and sangria.
When I moved to Barcelona in November, I had never actually been to the city before, but I had never heard anything bad. Have you ever heard anyone say that they hated Barcelona? Me neither, so I decided to take the pre-Brexit plunge and I haven’t looked back. For a night owl like me, Spain is a haven because everything starts so late here. Tea (or dinner for the more cultured) is most certainly not eaten at 5pm on the dot, but instead is eaten at 9pm at the earliest and “clubbing” isn’t even considered until 2pm at the earliest…which is usually when the Brits are devouring their cheesy chips at their local before rolling home to bed. I also didn’t speak Spanish or Catalan before I moved here, but I did study Spanish for a year back when I was 16 years old because I completed my German GCSE a year early (yes, I’m a nerd) and I have been around it a lot in various forms in the last few years thanks to my fantastic Central and South American family from my time studying for my MA at Durham University. I have always loved the sound of Spanish and its always been my third favourite language on Netflix after English and French. There are some great Spanish series and films out at the moment, I’m rattling through them for “research purposes” and I would love to hear your suggestions. A recent favourite of mine is “Money Heist (La casa de papel)” …it’s surprising what you can learn from a bank robber. My understanding of spoken and written Spanish is quite good now, but my responses are simplistic, and I don’t feel like I can fully express myself yet. My Spanish is currently very much based on situations that I encounter in my day to day life and is not yet up to standard for discussing the inner intricacies of the politics of Catalonia. I have always learnt my languages in a classroom so it’s very strange to not have that foundation to work from. However, I think that immersion in a language really is the quickest way to learn a language, but the teacher in me still knows that this isn’t necessarily the best way. At the moment, I’m teaching myself with books, podcasts and good old trial and error. I have been to the cinema a few times to watch non-Spanish films which has meant having access to Spanish subtitles. When I have the time (famous last words), I would love to enrol at the University of Barcelona for some proper Spanish lessons and get back in the classroom. All in good time, I do have a business to run after all! Speaking of my business, I was so lucky to have the full support of my lovely clients and fellow translators in this move which really made it so much easier. I even have clients asking if I am offering Spanish to English translation services yet. Steady on, let a girl settle in! I really hope that I can offer Spanish professionally in the near future, but for now I am just enjoying learning the language and all about the culture. I can wholeheartedly get on board with the siesta, it just sounds so much more exotic than your average ‘nap’.
I am very active on my professional Instagram profile and the freelance translator community on there has really helped me since starting my business as it has provided REAL insight into the freelancing life, not just life through an Instagram filter. I have even had the opportunity to meet fellow translators who I met on Instagram IRL. In fact, just a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to meet a lovely Italian translator and her partner for coffee in one of Barcelona’s many plaças. I hope that my blog will also provide a real insight into life as a freelance translator, especially for those among you who want to follow a Wi-Fi connection wherever it may lead you, while also allowing me to connect with more fellow professionals both here in Barcelona and all over the world. I am going to be very spontaneous with regard to my content and blog about what I think is trendy among my translator colleagues at the time, so let’s throw the rule book out the window and just go with the flow. I’m always open to suggestions too because I want this to be a two-way process where we can learn from each other and share ideas. I very much see fellow translators as colleagues and not competition and I think that together, we can help to strengthen the profession, develop our specialisations and just generally make things better for everyone (did I also mention that I want world peace?).
Enough about me for now! I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are working on or blogging about and what content you would like to see in my blog. You can find me on all the usual types of social media or drop me an email at email@example.com. I don’t bite, I promise!