This post is part of what happened to me when I came to Spain. Pay attention, it could happen to you! If an interpreter would have been with me it did probably not happen.
Arriving to Zaragoza, where I landed for the first time, I could not yet speak Spanish and the first months were intense. Hopefully I could count on very generous people, who ended up being my friends.
The first challenge I faced was finding a place to live. I was looking for a shared flat, to live with native people and learn the language quicker. There was a plentiful supply of flats at that time, but It turned out to be very difficult to find a place I liked, for several reasons:
- Talking on the phone is something very difficult, and I missed several appointments because of that.
- I did not know the usual price, because in Belgium they are totally different. There were people who tried to take advantage of it and charge me more than they should.
- I did not understand what they were saying and therefore I distrusted people who were probably acting in good faith.
In the end, my friends helped me, without them I would have taken much longer and probably would have paid a lot more too. In your case, you may be looking to buy or renovate a flat or house. It is important to negotiate all conditions carefully before making any decision.
Then came the winter, I became ill and had to go to the doctor. I do not want to go into details but I ended up telling him I had a “breastache” instead of the “headache” (as in French “head” is “tête” and “breast” is “teta” in Spanish…). Seeing the doctor’s face I understood something was wrong and I reacted, but imagine if it would be something more serious. I wish someone would have been with me to help.
A million situations like these could come to mind, as when I gave the chicken I was buying to the cashier in “mercadona” because he was asking me my ID to pay (“meat” and “ID cart” in Spanish sound similar), but I think I’ll keep some for another post!
Many people come to Spain because they want to live a new experience or because they found an interesting job. Many people have the same problems I have just related. For all these situations, it is better to have someone (interpreter) on your side who can use the language to help you to negotiate with professionals (painter, plumber, bricklayer, …) lawyers, real estate agents, doctors, etc Because in the end, It will always be much more expensive or you will lose much more time if you do it alone.
Therefore, I have decided to offer this work as an interpreter for foreigners who come to Valencia, to make life easier for everyone.