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Posted on2 May 2014

Translating for everyone – and hoping for a happy ever after!

You may think we just spend all our time working on business texts and commercial projects, but we regularly translate for members of the public too. Like Ross, from Norwich. He came to us to have various documents translated to help apply for a visa for his long-distance girlfriend to come to visit him in the UK. We asked him all about it…
In April 2012, Ross left his job, working as a technical author for science books that are used in schools, when things at the company had slowed down.
“I could have stayed but thought it was a good opportunity to learn another language.” He decided on travelling to Ecuador so that he could learn Spanish.
“I didn’t speak a word of it when I went.”
Ross found a role teaching English at a school in Puyo, a small town on the edge of the jungle where nobody spoke English.
“It was a bit of an experience and pretty lonely for the first few weeks, but when my birthday came round I went out with all my colleagues and one of them brought her sister along too.” That was how Ross met Ximena.
Ximena tried to teach Ross to dance. “They are excellent dancers and all think that ‘gringos’ can’t dance, but I really can’t”, he said. It was the dance teaching that drew them together.
He said: “We got on really well and every time we went out she came too and we ended up getting together. “Even though we couldn’t speak Spanish she understood what I was saying and vice versa.” There were only a very few occasions where they didn’t understand each other, such as when she asked Ross to get some ‘helado’ from the shop and he came back with a large back of ice… Ximena had actually requested ice cream.
In Ecuador, although Ross had a flat, he spent virtually all his free time at her house with her family – not to mention their cats and dogs.
“It was brilliant to have a family unit, and I spent a lot of time teaching her 4-year-old niece English”. Ximena worked 60-70 hours a week as a chambermaid and gives all her earnings to her family. A few years ago her father left, so she pulled out of university to work to earn money for the family.
On their days off Ross and Ximena would go out for meals, or visit her family further afield, and towards the end of their stay took a 12-hour coach trip to the beach where she swam in the sea for the first time.
For visa reasons Ross had to return to the UK in October 2013, but is now doing all he can to get Ximena a visa to visit here. He has come back to the same company, but now working in International Sales, and is working so hard and in a new role that he feels it’s probably “easier for me than Ximena”.
Ross added: “It’s a big thing moving from different countries, and hopefully we will be together forever, but if it doesn’t then at least she will be more set in English.” He’s hoping the English weather won’t be enough to put Ximena off. “She’s not been to England before, she may not like it, maybe it’ll be too cold and she’ll want to go home, but I really hope that it will be a happy ever after”, Ross said.
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