Juan Fernandez Cantero, a former translator of English, Spanish, and Italian, has already accomplished many interesting things in his 29 years of life. He has translated documents for the European Union, and lived and worked in two countries that are not his homeland.
Life as a Spanish Instructor
Cantero teaches Spanish classes at Auburn University, bringing the Spanish language to life for students in a way they may not have experienced before. Since he is multilingual, he sympathizes with students as they learn the definite articles in Spanish, “èl” and “lá.” He knows how difficult learning this concept can be since he took some German courses while living in Spain. “I usually tell my students for them to learn the gender if it’s masculine or feminine, that it was even hard for me learning them in German. So, I can understand them when they are studying the gender,” he said.
Cantero is currently teaching FLSP1020, or Beginner Spanish II. He tutors students of all levels of Spanish classes.
Cantero earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Business Administration and Human Resources at Universidad de Alcalá, a university in his hometown of Alcalá de Henares in Madrid, Spain (spain.info). It was there that he also earned a master’s degree in teaching English as a foreign language. At Auburn University, he earned a master’s degree in Hispanic Studies.
Cantero’s first language is Spanish. He started learning English when he was ten years old. At the age of 21, he started learning Italian. Despite learning Italian later in life, he finds Italian easier to speak than English. “Even though I learned it later, I’m much more comfortable speaking Italian,” he said.
Cantero as a Multilingual Translator
Perhaps this is one of the reasons that his favorite job was working in Italy for an Italian glassware company, Bormioli Rocco. As he begins to speak about the company, his face lights up. “I loved it! I’ve been working there twice, and I think it’s been the best job I’ve ever had,” he said. “I think because I met the best people there. Like, workmates. They were really helpful and nice, and I learned a lot. Also, because the second time I worked there, I could work as a training manager. So, I had to look for learning opportunities for the workers, and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.
Even though Cantero got along well with his co-workers, he didn’t make any lasting connections with people he met there. “People wanted me to translate something for them and then they disappeared. I felt like they were kind of friends and I’ve done a favor for them to translate anything and after that I’ve never known anything about them,” he said.
One of the tasks he had while working for Bormioli Rocco was translating engineering and technical instructions. This was a task he found difficult at times. Translating presentations of workers that came from the company’s main headquarters was another task.
Cantero enthusiastically pursued a task of a heavy workload that was given to him. “It was there (Bormioli Rocco) I had to translate the company honor code and I was so motivated that I wanted to translate 500 pages in one week, but I just did like 20 (pages) because I had other tasks to do too. ” he said. “Just a suggestion, they told me, ‘This needs to be translated,’ and I was so motivated because I felt so good in that job, that I wanted to do everything. I wanted to leave my translation there for them,” he said.
Cantero took a break from working at Bormioli Rocco, but returned the next year. “But after, when I came back the following year, they had a copy of that thing for me. Like ‘Hey, we’ve been saving that for you. It’s part of what you did.’ It was really nice,” he said.
Cantero gained valuable translating experience working at Bormioli Rocco. This man has great things ahead of him. His advice for people who are interested in translating as a career is this: “There are many pressures out there and people get really picky about languages. Like people think they know the truth about languages and it’s really discouraging most of the time so I would say to those people to continue no matter what, and don’t get discouraged.”
This feature story was written for the JRNL3220 Magazine and Feature Writing course at Auburn University in Fall 2014.