Ana: From Mexico City to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I was born in Mexico City. Both my parents are Mexican, and we all spoke Spanish in the house and with family and friends. I am the first one of three. My dad is a dentist, and my mom is a kindergarten teacher. They decided it would be great to sign us up at the German Immersion School. I started learning German when I was 3 years old at a small pre-k. I fell in love with German. It was love at first Ja. My mom tells the story of how I would speak «weird» when I was at home back from pre-K. She would say that I already knew how to speak, and I would tell her I was speaking German. She thought I was kidding until a friend of hers listened to me and told her I was speaking German. I was obsessed with it.
I honestly could have spoken German all day. I always sought an opportunity to practice it. My whole school life was half in German, half in Spanish with a little English. I started learning English in 4th grade, and I remember feeling like I was already so old. By that time, I was fluent in German and had spent the summer in Germany with a German family. I loved it! Once I started learning English, my obsession with languages only intensified. I always watched TV in English and would obsessively watch CNN and Oprah and always pay attention to the words they used and looked it up in a dictionary… there was no google then. When I watched a movie, I would always pay attention to the translations used in the subtitles.
I went to University in Mexico City and graduated with a degree in Education. After I graduated, I started working as a teacher for a year. A friend of mine was doing some interpreting and translating for a big international manufacturing company and asked me to join her. I loved it! It was like a field trip every day! We were on the manufacturing floor, seeing how everything worked and helping people communicate. Translating all the documentation. I loved it!
I then met somebody, got married, and moved to California. I started looking for a class I could take to begin networking and continue working in the translation industry. I found the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and went to visit it. I loved it! I was able to start my Master’s Degree a few months later. I am a nerd, so being in school surrounded by like-minded people was my thing. I loved MIIS, you walked around campus, and you could hear people speaking French, Russian, Mandarin, German, Spanish…. Everyone spoke at least two languages. And the stories, I loved hearing all the reasons people spoke different languages and why they all were there.
I got an internship to join the in-house translation team at a retailer in Minnesota and went there for 10 weeks. I joined the company a year later, Full time. I have been in Minnesota ever since. I have been lucky enough to always be surrounded by amazing, brave people who have moved and lived in different countries and cities. Now, my challenge is making sure my children love languages and cultures as much as I do.