Living and Working in the Canary Islands
Thread poster: Luca Cremonini

Luca Cremonini  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:51
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
Nov 1, 2016

Hello I'm looking for translators in the Canary Islands who want to share their opinions about living and working there. I can't find the Canaries as a country in Proz directories to contact people directly. Can someone help?

 

Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 17:51
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
It's too damn hot Nov 1, 2016

I spent about a month on El Hierro a couple of years ago. I tried to work for about two weeks, but it was just too damn hot. I was sweating profusely onto my laptop, my brain felt like it was operating in slow motion and I had some serious internet connectivity problems.
I vowed to never work there again, at least not in the summer months.

This might not be the information you're looking for, but it's what springs to my mindicon_smile.gif


 

Luca Cremonini  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:51
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! I had not thought about that Nov 1, 2016

Jan Truper wrote:

I spent about a month on El Hierro a couple of years ago. I tried to work for about two weeks, but it was just too damn hot. I was sweating profusely onto my laptop, my brain felt like it was operating in slow motion and I had some serious internet connectivity problems.
I vowed to never work there again, at least not in the summer months.

This might not be the information you're looking for, but it's what springs to my mindicon_smile.gif




Thank you! I had not thought about that. The climate doesn't really worry me, but connections issues do. Do you think it's a general problem there?


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Do a proximity search Nov 1, 2016

Luca Cremonini wrote:
I can't find the Canaries as a country in ProZ directories to contact people directly.


The Canaries is Spain (I think). So go here, specify service type as "translation", specify the country as "Spain", and then the trick: type "la palma" in the location field, and select "500 miles". My search yields 49 platinum members and 494 non-platinum members.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:51
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Try sending an email Nov 1, 2016

to Mrs Sheila Wilson. She is very kind and helpful and lives in the Canary Islands (http://www.proz.com/profile/630232)

Good luck!


 

Sebastian Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:51
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
Lapse of local business? Nov 1, 2016

Hi Luca,

Have you thought about the lapse of local business (i.e. not being surrounded anymore by Italians requiring English or French to Italian services)?

Many businesses still search for a service provider regionally or at least domestically because they feel more comfortable doing business on that basis.

Best regards,

Sebastian Witte


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
. Nov 2, 2016

I owned an apartment in Tenerife for many years. It's basically the same as living anywhere else in Spain, and the climate is lovely. Jan Truper must have been there during one of the occasional heatwaves when the wind blows off the Sahara, but normally the daily maximum is about 24 degrees. Internet connections are fine.

 

Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 17:51
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Calima Nov 2, 2016

philgoddard wrote:

Jan Truper must have been there during one of the occasional heatwaves when the wind blows off the Sahara


You are right, it was during "Calima", which occurs regularly, though.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:51
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
A few answers, maybe a bit long Nov 2, 2016

Hi Luca, it would be great to have you out here. There are too few professional translators locally and far too many amateursicon_frown.gif.

I'm really surprised Jan found it too hot. Places like Sevilla are known for their extreme heat; the Canaries aren't. In fact they're often titled "The Archipelago of Eternal Spring". It fits well. Here in Fuerteventura I've never (in nearly five years) seen single figures on my garden thermometer, although it has registered 10°C at about 5am on a couple of January mornings. And it rarely goes above 35°C near the coast, in fact 30°C is considered a good maximum in summer - that's in the shade, of course. 35-40°C is reserved for Calima days, but they only last a few days and some years there's only one, maybe two max. We've been plagued by them this year though and they aren't fun. If you're asthmatic it's worth thinking about, although as a translator you could at least follow the advice to shut all windows and stay indoors - unlike the poor touristsicon_frown.gif.

As for connectivity, it may or may not be a problem. I have about the best that's offered on Fuerteventura, a landline through Movistar which still has a monopoly on the lines, and I get a supposed 10 thingies (sorry, can't remember what the unit is - something per second?). I know that's tiny, and I only get about 6, but it only causes problems when I have to receive/send large PDFs and audio/video files, when I may have to wait a minute or two. I don't have any of the awful dial-up experience I remember. I suspect it's better in the capitals, and worse elsewhere. They're promising fibre-optic "mañana". Anyone who has ever lived in Spain will translate that for you. It does NOT mean tomorrow!

Sebastian's point is valid to some extent, although if you've got a solid client base they shouldn't desert you. I lost just one client when I moved here from France - the only one I'd ever met personally. What you do have to consider is your credibility as a translator who lives neither in a source language country nor the target language one. That will impact on your business. It's why I do fewer translations nowadays and more monolingual English work. If you were to live locally to me you would have no reason to miss out on any of the changes to Italian or English as there are thousands of native speakers, but that doesn't necessarily apply elsewhere. Of course, I imagine you'll intend to offer Spanish to Italian after a while.

VAT can be a massive headache. I've had rows with accountants about whether I have to charge it, or charge our Canarian version called IGIC, and whether I can reclaim it... You need an accountant who knows all about doing business between the Canaries (not mainland Spain) and the rest of the world. Getting supplies is also a problem as you have to officially import things from everywhere, even the mainland! And don't expect a shop locally to sell even what you consider to be the basics.

I have to stress that I have no experience of life and work in mainland Spain. In fact, I know that a lot of things vary massively depending on exactly where in Spain you decide to settle. But I have loads more information (and probably some misinformation) available for anyone who wants to know about the Canariesicon_smile.gif. Keep in touch, Luca.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Slowly springing to your mind? Nov 2, 2016

Jan Truper wrote:

I spent about a month on El Hierro a couple of years ago. I tried to work for about two weeks, but it was just too damn hot. I was sweating profusely onto my laptop, my brain felt like it was operating in slow motion and I had some serious internet connectivity problems.
I vowed to never work there again, at least not in the summer months.

This might not be the information you're looking for, but it's what springs to my mindicon_smile.gif




I can't work in hot conditions either. My mind goes into hibernation mode.

icon_biggrin.gif


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why the Canary Islands? Nov 2, 2016

Luca Cremonini wrote:

Hello I'm looking for translators in the Canary Islands who want to share their opinions about living and working there. I can't find the Canaries as a country in Proz directories to contact people directly. Can someone help?


Are you looking for a slice of paradise with a low cost of living? Or a lower tax rate? Even if a place like the Canary Islands turns out to be a safe bet for you, I strongly suggest you visit the place first, several times, in order to get your own subjective impression of the place, its culture, its facilities and people.

I'm not discounting the experiences of those who live there, but nothing can replace personal experience. You don't want to move to a brochure-perfect place only to regret it and find yourself stranded.


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Canary Islands Nov 2, 2016

Canary Islands comprise seven ‘large’ islands and several ‘islotes’. Tenerife and Gran Canaria are considered ‘main islands’. I have lived on both of them. Currently, I have an apartment in Bajamar (Northern part of Tenerife) and spend 4 – 5 month every year there.

Climate: First of all, there is no such thing as ‘climate’ in Canary Islands. Rather, you have micro-climates. It’s not the same to live in La Esperanza (fog, rain, cold) than in Los Cristianos (sun, drought, hot weather). El Puerto de la Cruz is lovely, but you get clouds very often hanging over the city. In Las Américas there are usually no clouds, but it can get pretty hot in summer. In any case, to summarise, you can very comfortably survive on Canary Islands without ever putting on a coat or jacket, unless you go over 600 meters above the sea level (There is a village, Vilaflor de Chasna, that is almost 1,500 meters above the seal level, and there are cities and villages at the sea level. Hence, you cannot talk about ‘climate’, but rather micro-climates). I have done ‘quad’ races in La Esperanza and almost froze up to getting hypothermic, and was exposed to 27°C of temperature in Santa Cruz the very same day. To believe it, you have to experience it.

It’s Spain: don’t think it’s a wild place somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s part of Spain and therefore Europe. You will get anything you might get say in Berlin or Madrid, but the quality of services may vary. It also depends on your culture. For example, here in Belgium you get zero customer service on just anything. Customers can wait, they are not important. In Spain in general and in Canary Islands in particular customers matter and they usually get proper attention and good care. The other day Juan Diego Flórez was singing at Tenerife’s ‘Auditorio’. I’m yet to see him in Brussels. To summarise, unless you live in a small island’s inland village, you will be getting the same (if not better) services as in mainland Europe.

Travel: it’s a problem. Geographically, the islands are very far away from mainland Spain. At times, I had to fly to South Korea from Tenerife. It’s 3 hours to Madrid, 2 hours to Amsterdam and 11 hours to Seoul. If you live in mainland Europe, you can just do those 11 hours and that makes a lot of difference, but if you do not travel often and far away, a 3 – 4 hour flight to Europe is bearable. There are also ferries, but that takes two days to reach Cádiz.

The only problem for me, and that might sound crazy, is the general presence of cockroaches on the archipelago. No matter how clean your apartment is, you will still see one or two of them showing up on the walls, near the light source. I hate them, I do with passion. I just can’t stand them. It’s not a problem, it’s MY problem, as I have a sort of phobia, but if you are at terms with these insects, good for you; you’ll always have a company.

Canary Islands is a politically corrupt (much like the rest of Spain nowadays) place, with excellent weather, open people, tons of foreign residents and very decent food. The colours of the landscape can make your normal day a very special occasion. Just imagine you can work hard up to 07:00 PM and then take a walk in a nearby seashore village, sit down on a terrace, have a beer and nice food and pay a fraction of what you would have to pay in, say, Brussels. There is a reason people call the archipelago ‘las islas afortunadas’.

I lived and worked on the island of Tenerife for many years. And I will move there again as soon as my kid (he’s 10) gets his schooling here in Brussels (Lycée Français, bilingual section: English-French). I forgot to mention that schools in Canary Islands are not so great. The same goes for universities and post-graduate level education. If your kid is small, think it twice before moving. Not even private schools are of an acceptable level (my personal opinion).


[Edited at 2016-11-02 11:08 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:51
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Very informative thread! Nov 2, 2016

How about that, Luca? Advice from a Spanish citizen who's lived on the two main islands, and an EU immigrant who lives on one of the lesser ones (although the second largest). Can't be bad icon_smile.gif.

Merab Dekano wrote:
to summarise, you can very comfortably survive on Canary Islands without ever putting on a coat or jacket, unless you go over 600 meters above the sea level

True. I've slowly got rid of all warm clothes apart from one jacket for use abroad. There's actually far less of the micro-climate effect on the two most easterly islands, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. I imagine that's because of the proximity of the huge land-mass of Africa, which is less than 100km away. (Then it's another 150km to the next island westward.) Fuerteventura is the oldest island anyway, incredibly old, so erosion has only left the cores of the volcanoes, 800m max.

I had to fly to South Korea from Tenerife. It’s 3 hours to Madrid, 2 hours to Amsterdam and 11 hours to Seoul.

You should think yourself lucky. If you don't live on Gran Canaria or Tenerife you often have to first fly to one of them. Even flying to another lesser island takes me two short hops! We can only get directly to a few of the places our tourists come from.

The only problem for me, and that might sound crazy, is the general presence of cockroaches on the archipelago. No matter how clean your apartment is, you will still see one or two of them showing up on the walls, near the light source. I hate them, I do with passion. I just can’t stand them. It’s not a problem, it’s MY problem, as I have a sort of phobia, but if you are at terms with these insects, good for you; you’ll always have a company.

Yes, that must indeed present you with a problem. I've seen people with that phobia. We don't see roaches every day because we spray regularly, as do the community association, the council, hotels, businesses... but they're always around somewhere, like the rats, ants and flies in northern parts. We have all those too, but there are no snakes on most of the islands.

Canary Islands is a politically corrupt (much like the rest of Spain nowadays) place

So, so true, unfortunately icon_frown.gif. That really does form a cloud over the place.

I forgot to mention that schools in Canary Islands are not so great. The same goes for universities and post-graduate level education.

I suspect that's true, but there is of course an advantage for non-Spanish kids, who will grow up bilingual. We found that the French system, although good on paper, wasn't so great in the wine-growing south where nobody thought much of "book-learning". But our son benefited so much from living in an entirely new culture and speaking a second language that we're all happy. There's more to an education than exam results, after all. Although without the countless diplomas most French employers require he probably had little alternative to doing what he did, i.e. set up his own company.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:51
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TFS - to Soul SEL via Helsinki Nov 3, 2016

Merab Dekano wrote:



Travel: it’s a problem. Geographically, the islands are very far away from mainland Spain. At times, I had to fly to South Korea from Tenerife. It’s 3 hours to Madrid, 2 hours to Amsterdam and 11 hours to Seoul. If you live in mainland Europe, you can just do those 11 hours and that makes a lot of difference, but if you do not travel often and far away, a 3 – 4 hour flight to Europe is bearable. There are also ferries, but that takes two days to reach Cádiz.



Better fly Finnair next time. Only one stop in Helsinki and total flight time 15 hours.
Always when flying from Western Europe to East Asia Finnair offers the shortest flights. Price next week 972 Euro from Tenerife to Seoul.


 

Clair Hamlett
United States
Traveling In Canary Island Apr 19

I have booked a flight to Spain with my son and definitely go to the Canaries. This will be the first time he will be traveling outside the country and he seems pretty excited and at the same time nervous hahaha .. I was thinking that we should go to Fuerteventura first because they have the most extensive white sand beaches and the most playful Atlantic waves over there, I was reading the info here in https://www.canaryislandsinfo.co.uk/fuerteventura/places/.. After Fuerteventura we might as well go to Tenerife then Gran Canaria. Any places in Tenerife/Spain you recommend guys? Feel free to share icon_smile.gif

 


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