I know. The temptation to write “fluent Spanish” when in actual fact you have only seen the film “Amores Perros” and another one with Penelope Cruz about a transsexual prostitute (whose name you cannot remember)  is great- especially when you consider that in all likelihood and based on past experience, your CV well end up in the trash and nobody will give it half a glance.

But take it from me, somebody just might look at it, and you just might get an interview. You can fudge the Spanish thing during the interview, and think you can get away with it, becasue there is a native Spanish speaker, Don Carlos, in the office who already does all the Spanish work. And so you get a job. And on the very first day of that job, you might, just might, be told that  Don Pedro is away, and can you please translate these fifty pages of extremely difficult academic/bureaucratic Spanish into academic/bureaucratic English, asap because our director needed it yesterday and the deadline was last week???

That is more or less what happened to me on the first day of my new job, except in French, not Spanish. And there is no Don Pedro or Carlos. Plus, I swear I did not lie on my CV or in the interview. I said I know intermediate French, and I say it again. I took the Dal Fench test, and it said my French was at “intermediate” level.

Except there is a wide range of ways you can interpret “intermediate”.

So there I was on the first day, staring at a French text, wondering what the hell “intervenants impliques” means, and how you do an accent aigulle on the keyboard, and what is the difference between “politiques” and “la politique“.

Eventually, after some hours with a dictionary, I produced a reasonable draft, and we sent it to a Francophone professor for editing. He called back the next day, giving a long confused lecture the “intervenants“, which has a shifting meaning depending on the context: “actors”, “stakeholders”, “people”, whatever. He didn’t say what the correct translation was, and he probably doesn’t know.

I consider myself the victim of a torturous Franco-Canadian relationship. And I am still missing my laziness.



  1. teng

    i hate learning new languages,
    its so hard.
    im sure if it wasnt for the one year in UK, i would never learned (even) english

  2. گلی

    teng keeps saying that. well, that’s just hopeless. so what?!! u think it’s cool not to know (even) english in the 21sth century? then what are we supposed to know?! how to install a pipe deep into the northen oceans?!!

  3. گلی

    now u tell me my dear sis, why don’t u pick up ur cellphone? it pisses me off.

  4. Not that I’m impressed a lot, but this is more than I expected for when I stumpled upon a link on Digg telling that the info is quite decent. Thanks.

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