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Communicating in Spanish with people in a new country
Thread poster: hfp
hfp
United States
Local time: 07:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 22, 2008

Hey, everyone. I am always thinking about this. Have any of you worked and trained as an interpreter for years in a certain Spanish-speaking country, and then gone off to Spain or another country? The reason I'm asking is because after I spent a year in Spain, I came down here to Chile, and for a few weeks I wasn't really sure what these people were saying all the time. I've been here for 7 months or so now, and it's not so hard anymore, but I know I definitely had to adjust. I guess you all are at such a high level of Spanish and English that you don't have a hard time, but I'm interested in your opinions nonetheless. Sometimes when I talk to people in the street or in rural areas I definitely have to pay attention and ask them to repeat themselves. This was the case in Spain also, especially just outside of Seville.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:14
English to Spanish
+ ...
Of course Jun 23, 2008

I have friends from Mexico who have gone to Chile and have also had trouble understanding people there. I myself being a speaker of Mexican Spanish also had to make some adjustments over 40 years ago when I first arrived in Chile, both in understanding and speaking. But after a couple of years there I spoke pretty authentic Chilean. Once I returned I slowly but surely reverted back to my usual Mexican dialect.

Now when I return to Chile my Mexican accent is noticeable, but I do my best to readjust to the local idioms, many of which have changed through the years. I have to think sometimes to make sure I don't suddenly come out with something in Mexican they won't understand.

I have also visited many other countries (including different parts of Spain) and have had the adventure of experiencing different versions of the language, but more superficially.

In English I have not had such an experience except for a a few days in England where people found my manner of speaking quite peculiar, and I found theirs the same.

As an interpreter and translator nearly all my experience is between US English and Mexican Spanish. To work with other versions and accents can always be somewhat disconcerting.


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hfp
United States
Local time: 07:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jun 29, 2008

Hey, Henry. Thanks for replying. It is really interesting to hear about your experiences in other countries. I have met a few Mexican people down here who say they have trouble understanding Chileans sometimes. I think the main problem is that a lot of Chileans, at least in Santiago, don't open their mouth when they speak Spanish, so it just sounds like a bunch of words being mumbled. After a few months one gets used to this, but at first it takes some adjustment.

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JuliDS  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 07:14
Partial member (2008)
English to Spanish
"bunch of words being mumbled" Jul 3, 2008

Hi hfp,

My attention was caught by this perfect description of sound.
Yes, I can't agree more about this. Being separated only by the Andes it seems, at first, to be a very different language from the one we speak here in Argentina.
I guess it happens all the time and with most languages. 'Adjustment' is the keyword, here. Just as you mentioned.

Warm regards,
Juli


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