Be Global Translations: Translating Towards Internationalisation

[cml_media_alt id='7259']logo Be Global Translations[/cml_media_alt]Be Global Translations is a company specialising in legal and economic translations founded by Virginia Pastor (Madrid, 1990), a Spanish enterpreneur based in Edinburgh. This startup aims to help in the internationalisation of local and national Spanish talent.

The career choice of this Madrilenian (native of Madrid) based in Scotland, has not been coincidental. Her desire to explore beyond normal boundaries is an inherited passion. Virginia’s parents are tour operators and she has experienced the opportunity to travel with them to different corners of the world. She has collected many anecdotes from those trips. She will never forget, for instance, the day they lost their suitcase in an airport on their way to Prague. If it was not for the English she had learnt in school, they would have never found it. She also remembers the time when her father went behind the counter of a coffee shop in Vienna to explain to the waiter how he should serve an ice coffee.

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Virginia Pastor at her studio in Edinburgh.

She has been in touch with people of different nationalities since she was a young girl: British, American, French, Italian, Scandinavian and Latin Americans. Virginia Pastor states “Be Global Translations was born because of my passion for the translating profession. I want to be the instrument that makes it possible for people from different cultures, with different languages, understand each other, both orally and written. The personal satisfaction that I get when I know that a person has been able to understand a text written in a language they don’t understand thanks to me, is priceless. That’s why I put a lot of care into my work”.

This early contact with other societies has allowed this Spanish entrepreneur to get in touch with other cultures, languages and gastronomies, as well as to explore the world of fashion in different countries. These are sectors about which Virginia has a detailed knowledge thanks to specialised blogs that she follows as well as her own research.

Corporate internationalisation and translations

Virginia moved to Scotland two years ago; a country that she finds exciting because of its culture and people. She was surprised by the great interest that Scots have for the Spanish culture, “although they still have lots to learn, though not due to a lack of desire!”, she observes.

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Virginia Pastor at Ocean Terminal, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Be Global Translations is looking for projects that fall into its sphere of internationalisation. The company offers legal and economic translations. Virginia states that “there are sectors in Spain like the gastronomy, wine and fashion industries that can compete conveniently abroad, both in terms of quality and innovation”. She also comments that “Be Global Translations specialises in the translation of contracts and will soon offer legally sworn translations. We have worked for a wide variety of clients like tour operators, such as the Madrid Ghost Tour, international sport competitions and have translated websites for companies in different sectors”.

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Be Global Translations in the Language Show Live in London.

Be Global Translations has its own guide about internationalisation for small and medium-sized companies. It is a document that they offer free to all of their subscribers. “It is a small handbook that describes the most important steps that companies should follow in their internationalisation process¨, Virginia explains.

Wine, fashion and food

Many small businesses from Spain have managed to step up and compete in the global market thanks to their natural production processes, a fact that Virginia admires. She is very passionate about oenology (the study of wine and winemaking). One of her favourite wines is the Rioja wine from Bodegas Murillo, a wine that follows a unique process of fermentation at the bottom of the sea. Virginia is aware that these types of products have an international reputation they should explore and take advantage of.

“The Spanish fashion industry has immense possibilities abroad,” Virginia believes. “There are fashion blogs that could easily go viral if they were bilingual with English subtitles. There are several examples of this. One is the case of Galician blogger Alexandra Pereira, founder of Lovely Pepa, one of the most influential fashion blogs in the world. Mus & Bombon, a company that sells clothes made in Spain and Portugal, is another important example.”

“The Spanish fashion industry has immense possibilities abroad”

Gastronomy is just one of the activities that Spain should promote in a better way internationally, according to Virginia. “Usually, people know about our tapas or our potato omelette, but nothing else beyond those better-known recipes. However, there are traditional recipes and also more creative and innovative ones that could create interest at an international level,” Virginia says. She remembers some fish dishes that she tested in Cadiz, such as ‘pulpo a la escandalera’ (octopus) or ‘güeníjimo de atún’ (tuna). She did not learn the exact recipes of these dishes, but she believes these kinds of dishes have excellent qualities which would delight the most demanding foreign guests.

“Usually, people know about our tapas or our potato omelette, but nothing else beyond those better-known recipes. However, there are traditional recipes and also more creative and innovative ones that could create interest at an international level”

Virginia understands the potential of the Spanish cuisine. She also likes to find new French recipes in her free time. Recently, she took a university course on French cuisine, in the French language, and she has followed the BBC show ‘My Little Paris Kitchen‘, to better understand the culture of France and improve her skills in the French language. She also has an interest in Italian, Indian, and Asian food in general.

In times of crisis we must keep an eye on the opportunities that come our way. Be Global Translations is an initiative which aims to prevent language barriers curb these opportunities. “We live in a globalised world, in which everything and everyone is connected. However, there are still obstacles in achieving that universal communication. There are many companies that are not yet globalised, although we live in an increasingly internationalised world,” Virginia believes. Her passion to understand cultures in depth and her aim to challenge stereotypes guide this project with a comprehensive view of the world and the relationship between its people.

Cosmopolita Scotland collaborates with Mundo Spanish promoting private initiatives of Spanish citizens living in Scotland. If you are a small business based in Scotland, your activity helps to integrate the Spanish-speaking community and you want to promote your business, get in touch with us. For further information visit Mundo Spanish website here [in Spanish].


International Experiences in Participatory Budgeting: A Seminar at the University of Edinburgh

On Monday June 13th, the think-tank What Works Scotland hosted the event “International Experiences on Participatory Budgeting (PB)” at the University of Edinburgh. The session included presentations by Kathleen Glazik, an academic expert in public policy, and Giovanni Allegrati, a representative of the Italian authority, a country where participatory budgeting already takes place.

Laura Medina y Tanausú Vilches

Participatory budgeting is a new concept in most countries. Essentially, it involves democratising the public’s administration budget by opening up the decision-making process to a citizen´s assembly. Some of the countries that have tried to implement it in recent years have taken Brazil as a reference.

Following a brief introduction by Oliver Escobar, the session began with Kathleen Glazik´s presentation, which examined the chronology of this movement in Scotland. Glazik emphasised the birth of this process in June 2014, which arose from the government´s proposal of using participatory budgeting as a new democratic tool. She highlighted two commitments towards participatory budgeting: the progressive investment of £2m  for public use and community groups in a large number of councils around the country; and the drafting  of a manifesto which specifies the distribution of at least a 1% allocation of the public budget to this particular collaborative process. The government representative also underlined the next steps planned, among them the National PB Conference taking place in autumn this year.

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Following the presentation, the attendees organised themselves into discussion groups where they exchanged ideas and opinions. After this, Giovanni Allegrati presented a more globalised vision based on his 18 years of experience on the subject, which contributed to the discussion with a wider perspective of the issues. Allegrati represents the Independent Authority for the Guarantee and Promotion of Participation of Tuscany Region (Italy).  He used Italy and Portugal as case studies in order to compare the evolution of different geographic areas, and underlined the different existing routes of participation. Additionally,  he emphasized the fact that “the process itself is sometimes more important than action. We need to break the strong mistrust between the people and the institutions as well as taking into account the amount of influence that all the different actors play when contributing with their vision to this democratic process”, he said.

The event concluded with a relaxed lunch where the participants could socialise and engage in conversation. All in all, it was a productive session for all attendees, who were agreed that Participatory Budgeting is an increasingly important issue in Scotland.

Experiencias Internacionales en Presupuestos Participativos, un Seminario en la Universidad de Edimburgo

El pasado lunes 13 de Junio el think tank Whatworls Scotland organizó el evento Experiencias Internacionales en Presupuestación Participativa en la universidad de Edimburgo. El encuentro contó con la presencia de académicos expertos en política pública, y un representante de una autoridad italiana, Giovanni Allegrati, donde se aplican esta forma de presupuestación participativa.

Laura Medina y Tanausú Vilches

En esencia,este nuevo concepto -presupuestos participativos- consiste en democratizar los presupuestos de la administración pública abriendo la toma de decisiones a asambleas ciudadanas. Algunas de las experiencias de referencia han tenido lugar en Brasil en los últimos años.

El acto coordinado organizado por WhatWorks Scotland estuvo coordinado por Oliver Escobar, profesor e investigador de política pública de la Universidad de Edimburgo.  Además contó con la participación de Kathleen Glazik, representante del Área de Presupuestos Participativos del Gobierno escocés, así como con Giovanni Allegrati, experto en la materia a nivel internacional. Tanto el público, como los ponentes reflexionaron acerca de esta novedosa forma colaborativa de consensuar la distribución del presupuesto público para la financiación de proyectos locales.

Después de una breve presentación sobre la temática de la conferencia por parte de Oliver Escobar, la sesión comenzó con la exposición de Katheleen Glazik, quien repasó la cronología de este movimiento en Escocia. Glazik destacó Resaltó el nacimiento, en junio de 2014, de este movimiento que surge a raíz de la propuesta por parte del Gobierno de utilizar los presupuestos participativos  como herramienta democrática. Además destacó  el compromiso adquirido de manera progresiva por un amplio número de Consejos de todo el país, la inversión de 2 millones de libras destinadas para el uso público y los grupos comunitarios, así como la redacción de un manifiesto en el que se especifica la distribución de al menos un 1% del presupuesto para este proceso colaborativo. La responsable del Gobierno también apuntó los planes previstos, entre los que destacan la Conferencia Nacional de Presupuestos Participativos en otoño de este mismo año.

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Tras la primera toma de contacto, los asistentes formaron pequeños grupos de debate en los que valoraron sus impresiones. Seguidamente, Giovanni Allegrati expuso una visión más global -basada en su experiencia de 18 años de trabajo- que ayudó a que la charla se beneficiase de una perspectiva más amplia. Allegrati, que representa a la Autoridad Independiente para garantizar la Participación en la región de la Toscana (Italia), lanzó algunas ideas que arrojaron luz a la jornada. Tomó como referencia a países como Italia y Portugal para comparar la evolución en distintas áreas geográficas y señaló las diferentes vías de participación existentes. Asimismo, hizo especial hincapié en que “el proceso en sí mismo, a veces, tiene más importancia que la acción. Necesitamos romper la gran desconfianza que existe entre las instituciones y las personas”, así como en la influencia de incluir a todos los actores que aportan su visión en este proceso democrático.

Después de un intercambio general de impresiones, el acto concluyó con un tiempo para establecer relaciones sociales entre los invitados al evento, acompañado de una distendido aperitivo. Una jornada productiva para todos los que acudieron a la cita, en la que se profundizó en el conocimiento de un tema de creciente importancia en Escocia, como es el de Presupuestos participativos.

Plants in the City: How To Grow an Eco Balcony in a Small Space

It’s time for the next instalment of Plants in the City from Jackie Bruce! This month, we’ve got a very exciting project starting for the team at Cosmopolita Scotland. Jackie has agreed to help me (English editor Alex Owen­-Hill) and my partner to design a space-­friendly “Eco Balcony” in the balcony of our flat. It’s a challenge, but I’m sure it’s going to look great!

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‘Shared Heritage, Shared Future’ Connecting Spanish and Scottish Cultures Through History and Social Innovation

The Scottish charity People Know How (PKH) is coordinating a participative project in Edinburgh to unearth the historic bonds between Scotland and Spain by interviewing Scottish holidaymakers who visited Spain from the 1950s to the 1980s. PKH runs other projects to help people fulfil their potential including integrating the large Spanish-speaking community living in Scotland. The non-governmental organisation is now recruiting volunteers to help in this investigation.

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‘Patrimonio Compartido, Futuro Compartido’, conectando las culturas española y escocesa a través de la historia y la innovación social

La ONG escocesa People Know How (PKH) [Las personas saben cómo] está coordinando un proyecto participativo en Edimburgo para recuperar los vínculos históricos entre Escocia y España entrevistando a personas escocesas que visitaron España entre las décadas de 1950 y 1980. PKH gestiona otros proyectos para ayudar a las personas a realizarse en todo su potencial. Entre sus proyectos se incluye la integración de la comunidad castellanohablante en Escocia. Actualmente la ONG está seleccionando voluntarios para ayudarles en esta nueva investigación.

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Is Scotland on the way to gender-equal politics?

In 1999, the devolution of powers from Westminster allowed the creation of the Scottish Parliament. In its first elections, women gained representation levels at the level of Nordic countries, around 37%; well above those in the British parliament. In 2003, that percentage rose to 40%. Since then, the numbers have stagnated and in some cases have dropped. However, the 2014 independence referendum has completely changed the Scottish political landscape in terms of participation of women in politics. In this interactive, data-driven report, Asier Arrate finds out how.

Asier Arrate

The elections on the 5th of May 2016 could have been a key turning point in the move towards equal gender representation in the Scottish Parliament. Amongst other things, it is worth noting that all three major parties, SNP, Labour and Conservative, have women at the head of their party list: Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson respectively. The Green Party, meanwhile, shares leadership between Maggie Chapman and Patrick Harvey. However, Dr. Meryl Kenny of the University of Edinburgh warns that to only consider the party leaders can “obscure the reality” in terms of representation in the party as a whole.

Candidate Percentages by Gender in Scottish Parliament Elections

The objective of 50/50 gender representation, as championed (1) by Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, is still far away. This is especially clear if you analyse the numbers party-by-party, with respect to the position of women in the different electoral lists and their chances of getting a seat in Holyrood. Speaking to Cosmopolita Scotland before the election, Dr Kenny said that this could have been an election where we returned to “levels in the Nordic countries” with a representation of about 40%.

Regional Candidates for 2016 Scottish Parliament Election

Scottish elections consist of two different votes: one is for constituencies, where votes are for a particular candidate; and the other is for regions, where votes are made proportionately for ranked party lists. In both cases, the data shows that parties which have applied gender quotas have a greater number of female candidates. Highlights include the SNP with 41% in the constituencies and 45% in regional, and Labour with 55% and 50% respectively. Other leftist parties such as the Greens (42%) and RISE (50%) show better gender balance in the regional vote. Conservatives, on the other hand, do not set a gender quota. Despite the fact that Ruth Davidson’s leadership may suggest a gender balance, they don’t pass 15% representation in either of the two lists.

However, a high percentage does not always correspond to more women getting a seat. As Dr Kenny points out, other key factors are that women are: given higher rankings in the regional lists and placed in constituencies where there is a better chance of winning – “You have to place women in positions where they can win, otherwise it is no good to have 50% of women on the lists.” The Liberal Democrats seem to have good numbers – 38% in the constituencies and 46% in the regional lists. However, Dr Kenny notes that the constituencies where women of this party are placed, and their ranking on the regional lists, make it very difficult for any of them to be selected. This is the case for both the LibDems and Tories, where women are in seventh, eighth or ninth positions in the regional lists, or in constituencies where they have no possibility to win against SNP candidates.

When we analyse which parties have women first or high in the lists, and therefore with better possibilities of being elected, once again we find that the most left aligned parties are the most balanced. This highlights both the quantity and quality of female representation in these parties. Of the 8 regional lists, the SNP, Labour, the Greens and RISE each place four women at the top of their lists. Dr Kenny also notes that the SNP, which the pre-election polls predicted would have a landslide victory, which in the end didn’t happen, decided to fill vacant positions with women in every constituency where the party had a better chance of winning. “That will make a difference in representation in these elections.” said Dr Kenny at the time.

Competition affects representation

Despite these positive trends, Dr. Kenny was of the opinion that Scotland was unlikely to reach 50/50 representation, as the results of the election proved, as measures are only being implemented by parties which cover a specific ideological range. “What wins the SNP gain will come at the expense of the Labour Party, which is the other major party taking steps towards equality and balanced lists”. She believes that it also depends on the results of smaller parties, like the Greens or RISE. “It is clear that until all parties take steps to ensure equal representation, Scotland won’t get past the 40% barrier.” This is barrier that not even the Nordic countries have been able to overcome, except Iceland which has exceeded 50% female representation.

Between 1999 and 2003, the Scottish Parliament had one of the highest female representations of all Europe – 37% and 40% respectively. Amongst other reasons, this was due to competition between the SNP and the Labour Party. “In 1999, SNP applied a kind of unofficial quota but from there they stopped, just at the same time as they started to win. Similarly, the Labour Party began to implement more measures to get more women elected but began to lose seats to the SNP”, said Dr Kenny. She also emphasizes that small parties that applied measures to increase the presence of women, such as the Greens, have lost momentum in recent years. They passed from seven MSPs to two in the 2011 elections. “Small parties are important in the sense that they pressure other major parties on these kinds of issues. That may be the case with RISE in these elections”.

Although more difficult to measure, Dr Kenny thinks that there was also a general feeling that Scotland had done “quite well” with equality mandates during the 1999 and 2003 elections. Because of this, equal representation was relegated to the background in the political debate. “The parties did not see the need to talk about it, there was no competition”, points out Dr Kenny. The elections on May 5, however, returned the pressure on parties to reach 50/50. According to Dr. Kenny, this is what academics call “contagion” and affects mostly leftist parties. As she explains, new or small parties must have an impact before the changes can begin to come to light. Therefore, it is necessary that the major parties lead the change. “Because, in these elections, the SNP has entered into this issue, that is why we will see a change. It is partly thanks to Nicola Sturgeon and other women who have entered the game. The old guard, which was against quotas, has been outnumbered”.

Constituency Candidates and winners for 2011 Scottish Parliament Elections

The importance of the IndyRef

This change could be the most important event of recent years in Scottish politics. It can be tracked back (2) almost two years ago, to the independence referendum. The referendum itself, and the previous campaigns, created a social movement never before seen in Scotland. New groups, grass-roots and social movements were created and political parties saw a greater number of people affiliating with them or simply taking part in campaigns. Political issues were discussed in the street as they had never been before, between people who had never done it before. In turn, this seems to have encouraged women claim their rightful position (3) in the political landscape.

Victoria Heaney is member of Woman for Independence. She agrees on the importance of the referendum in igniting the interests of society in general, and in particular women: “Many women now have the confidence to ask and to test the power structures. The referendum helped many women to wonder about what happens and why”. As Heaney explained, Women for Independence has now become Independence for Women, to encourage women to get into the public sphere in both institutional politics and social movements.

Dr. Kenny saw many of the same women who participated in Women for Independence during the referendum in the lists as candidates for the SNP and the Greens. “Women are moving from lower case “p” politics to capital “P” Politics. We saw it in the elections to Westminster last year, proving that the referendum mobilized women and encouraged them to stand up. ”

Heaney is even clearer on the impact of the referendum: “Without a referendum I do not think we would have so many women involved in politics.” As she explains, it is clear that they still cannot say that enough has been done, but Heaney saws a “change in the mindset” of the Scottish society. Heaney thinks the debate on independence has brought the issue of gender equality to the discussion, and that these issues matter more these days: “The referendum has brought a sense of community on the social changes that still have to be done. Because we didn’t manage to achieve independence doesn’t mean we cannot still make big changes in how things are done in Scotland”.

Both women agree on a point that both agree is very important in this fight – that women do not follow the same path as men have done in the institutions, and that the Scottish Parliament does not turn into a place for the Scottish, white middle class. “Having more women is very important but it is also important that these women come from all backgrounds: class, sexuality, origin… equal representation of women is the starting point rather than the end”, states Dr Kenny.


 Use of English for Spanish speakers

(1) championed 

  • Definition: To defend and fight for a cause.
  • Example: “The objective of 50/50 gender representation, as championed by Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, is still far away.”
  • Translation: defender, luchar por

(2) tracked back

  • Definition: To look back in history to find the root of the situation.
  • Example: “This change could be the most important event of recent years in Scottish politics. It can be tracked back almost two years ago, to the independence referendum.”
  • Translation: ser seguido hacia atrás hasta
  • Comment: “Track back” is one of those phrasal verbs that doesn’t have a direct translation in Spanish, and to translate it directly sounds a bit inelegant.

(3) rightful position 

  • Definition: Having a valid claim to a position. A position that belongs to the subject (in this case women).
  • Example: “women claim their rightful position in the political landscape.”
  • Translation: posición legítimo

Have worked in this article:

Author: Asier Arrate

Translation: Asier Arrate

Editing: Alex Owen-Hill

Use of English for Spanish Speakers: Alex Owen-Hill

Data sourced from Dr Meryl Kenny, The Guardian, Holyrood and The London School of Economics and Political Science. 2016 Regional lists from Holyrood and the parties themselves.

Activismo social y creación cultural en Edimburgo, más allá de los datos demográficos

La comunidad española en Reino Unido ha crecido de tal manera que su presencia es notoria, se les escucha por la calle, participan de las actividades sociales y, cada vez más, son creadores de cultura. Este incremento lo han percibido tanto los españoles que llevan tiempo residiendo fuera como los propios locales.

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Social Activism and Cultural Creation in Edinburgh: Beyond Demographic Data

The Spanish community in the United Kingdom has noticeably been on the rise, it is has become progressively conventional to hear the Spanish language being spoken whilst walking the streets of major cities. Not only participates of local events these communities are increasingly now the creators of events, promoting Spanish culture and heritage in Britain. Spanish people that have been living abroad for a while and native British citizens recognise the increase of this demographic.

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El festival Iberodocs apuesta por el cine de directores noveles en su última edición

IberoDocs, el Festival de Cine Documental Iberoamericano de Escocia, vuelve entre el 4 y el 8 de mayo a la sala Filmhouse de Edimburgo. En esta tercera edición, el certamen se centrará en mostrar los primeros trabajos de directores emergentes que han arriesgado en formato y/o contenido para realizar algo inesperado. “Esta edición se revela ante los límites; se desprende de etiquetas y vuela a través de fronteras para traernos un mensaje de rebelión y libertad”, comenta Mar Felices, directora artística del festival.

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