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Mercedes Paloma Lopez

Question and Answer

  • What is your name?
    • Mercedes Paloma Lopez
  • Where do you live?
    • San Antonio , Texas
  • What made you decide to become a translator or interpreter?
    • I decided to pursue a career as a translator after I began translating well-intentioned documents and letters for several non-profit organizations that wanted to be inclusive with their LEP clients.
  • List one strength that you think sets you apart from your colleagues.
    • Both my education and life experiences have led me to innumerous interactions with different communities that have enriched my vocabulary and Latin-American idiomatic expressions; For my education, I hold a Master's in Inter-American studies, and my experience includes traveling throughout Latin-America with humanitarian clowning groups.
  • Name the one thing that you most enjoy in your translating or interpreting career.
    • Working in Pediatric Oncology, I love the sense of relief that a child gets when they know there will be someone there to interpret for their parents, as they are commonly the person serving as interpreter. I also very much enjoy that parents feel free to ask questions, and are able to understand the documents provided for them.
  • We all have worked on those not-so-perfect assignments. Write about one such assignment that was not ideal and what you learned from it.
    • I am always part of "not-so-perfect" assignments; the multiple provider meetings in educational hospital settings can be distracting and chaotic, where several people are having side conversations and speaking at the same time. I have learned to deal with these situations by clarifying my role with everyone involved in the meetings, having the freedom to stop for clarifications, and conducting these meetings with simultaneous interpertation.
  • If you could go back in time to when you were just starting out as a translator or interpreter, what advice would you give to your younger self?
    • I would advise myself to shadow an interpreter before embarking on this career, to create my own glossaries and commonly used phrases and idioms. 
      I would stress that boundaries are important to serve in the fullest capacity, and to be firm and clear with ethics and standards.
  • Name one resource – such as a phone app, CAT tool, website, and so forth – that you find especially helpful in your translating or interpreting work.
  • What's the best book you've read this year?
    • The Language Instinct
      by Steven Pinker


In this classic, the world's expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was first published

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