Valeria Pina Fonseca, TRNL ’18


Bora community in Iquitos, Peru

My name is Valeria Piña, and I’m a MAT candidate with Spanish and English as my language combination. I am a native Spanish speaker, but after years of living in the United States and living and breathing English, I wanted to spend some time in a Spanish-speaking country that wasn’t my own (I’m originally from Puerto Rico). 

As a professional translator in the United States, it is more important than ever to be flexible and adapt to the reality of language and how it constantly changes. In my time in the United States I have met all kinds of Spanish speakers, and in my work I will translate for all of them. As a goal I want to visit as many Spanish speaking countries as I can, and humbly learn from them. Having felt this need, I considered the possibility of spending time volunteering in Peru, and the rest is history.

Iquitos in the capital of the Peruvian Amazon, and the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road. Mototaxis fill the roads, and the presence of the Amazon river can be felt everywhere. I had the opportunity to visit local communities and translate documents both from Spanish into English and English to Spanish regarding living conditions of the local indigenous communities. These documents included agricultural records and descriptions of the sustainable tourism opportunities which help both tourists and the local community. My experience was not limited to translating; I also served as an interpreter to tourists and other visitors. In remote parts of the Amazon, it is challenging to find translators and interpreters, and both skills proved useful to reduce communication barriers. I must add that my collaboration with the local communities did not finish when I left Peru, I am still translating for them and hope to continue to do so while I finish my studies at MIIS and beyond that. 

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