Welcome to The Bicultural Podcast.

I’m delighted to be joined by Eva Túnez Salvador, director of Genuine Translations. In this episode, you will find out more about

  • Eva’s story about being bicultural
  • Doing business with Spanish-speaking audiences,
  • Tips for better business relationships between British and Spanish audiences.

So, hello Eva, how are you?

Eva Túnez Salvador (00:50):
Hello Janina, I’m fine thank you. How are you?

Janina Neumann
(00:54):
I’m doing well thank you. I’m really excited to have you on my podcast.

Eva Túnez Salvador (00:59):
Oh, I’m really glad you have invited me to this fantastic podcast, and it’s a real honour.

Janina Neumann (01:08):
Thank you so much for your kind words. So, tell us a bit about yourself.

Eva Túnez Salvador (01:14):
Sure. So, my name is Eva Túnez Salvador. I’m from a little town in the southeast of Spain called Almeria, and I’ve been living in the UK since 2008. I’ve lived in Bristol, Leeds, Surrey and Cheltenham, where I’m based now. I have a Nigerian husband and two little girls born in Gloucester. So, we are a multicultural, bilingual and biracial family, and it’s the best thing ever. Professionally, I’m a Spanish translator and my business is called Genuine Translations. It’s a multilingual translation company that can help with website localisation, e-commerce translations, transcreation and legal certified translations. And now I would like to say that in Spanish, if that’s okay?

Janina Neumann (02:02):
Yes, we’d love to hear it in Spanish.

Eva Túnez Salvador (02:04):
“Hola a todos, me llamo Eva Túnez Salvador, soy de Almería, al sureste de España, y he vivido en Reino Unido desde 2008. He vivido en Bristol, Leeds, Surrey y Cheltenham, donde vivo ahora. Mi marido es nigeriano y tenemos dos niñas pequeñas que nacieron aquí al lado, en Gloucester, así que somos una familia multicultural, bilingüe y biracial, ¡y es lo mejor del mundo! Profesionalmente, soy traductora de inglés-espanol y mi empresa se llama Genuine Translations; es una empresa de traducción multilingue y ofrecemos servicios de localización de páginas web, traducciones para e-commerce, transcreación y traducciones juradas”. That’s it.

Janina Neumann (02:08):
That sounded beautiful and I’m sure the Spanish listeners would have loved that. Fantastic.

So, tell me a little more about when did you become bicultural?

Eva Túnez Salvador (03:03):
Okay. So, before I became bicultural, I became bilingual. It’s important to note it’s two different things. I became bilingual during my time at University of Surrey, where I came to do an Erasmus year in 2005. And that’s where I met my husband. And since he could only speak English and I spent most of the time with him, my English really improved. And then I went-

Janina Neumann (03:29):
Fantastic.

Eva Túnez Salvador (03:30):
Yes, it’s the plus side of having an English speaker boyfriend. And then I went back to Spain to finish my degree. When I moved back, I was living in Leeds and then Bristol. And that’s when I became bicultural. And because I was immersed in English culture, thanks to my work, friends, colleagues, and I learned the traditions, the values and the way of living, I could say I was settled in this country.

Janina Neumann (04:03):
That’s really interesting.

Do you sometimes feel that you take some of your bicultural elements and apply them to different situations?

So for example, with your Spanish friends, do you sometimes apply the English way of doing things to situations, or do you show your Spanish side a little bit more?

Eva Túnez Salvador (04:26):
Yes, I’m sure I do, because sometimes they tell me, “Oh, you’ve become really English”. And at first, I wouldn’t understand what they mean, but then I will say, “Oh yes, probably”. Even the way I dress, my mom always says, “Oh, you’re becoming really English in the way you’re dressing.” I’m like, “Why? No”. It’s little things that I don’t even notice, but yeah, they obviously do.

Janina Neumann (04:54):
That’s really interesting to hear.

So, tell us a bit more about how would people in business scenario in Spanish speaking countries dress?

Do you know a little bit about that?

Eva Túnez Salvador (05:08):
Yes. So they dress, I will say in, general terms, smart but casual. But there is less suits, I think for male, or at least, I don’t know, I would say they look slightly different. Here you will see the same type of suit for every man and I think in Spain there’s a bit more variety or they tend to wear a blazer instead. Yeah, so, I will say here they dress a bit more classic, like more classical style or yeah, traditional and in Spain they have that smart casual element. And I don’t know if many of the listeners will agree if they know the way they dress the differences.

Janina Neumann (06:14):
Yes. I can kind of picture it. Do you think within the Spanish business environment, people are a bit more colourful or are they more muted with their colours?

Eva Túnez Salvador (06:27):
Yes. So yeah. That’s a good point. Yeah, I think in Spain you see more colours. Here, you tend to see trousers that are smart trousers that are black or grey or dark blue, but in Spain they are more… Yeah, they are not afraid of mixing more colours and they tend to have brighter colours, I will say, yes.

Janina Neumann (06:56):
That sounds really great, because I’ve also noticed in like a British business environment…Yes, it’s mainly greys or blues or blacks. And you see a lot more colour variety with the way women dress, but there is this kind of muted colour palette. I would agree with that.

Eva Túnez Salvador (07:22):
Yes.

Janina Neumann (07:22):
It sounds like, biculturalism has given you a lot of advantages also in business and in life.

Would you like to share some of the advantages?

Eva Túnez Salvador (07:33):
Yes. Lots of advantages. The main one is really the joy and the fun and the wisdom of seeing and really understanding the differences between English and Spanish cultures. Being able to appreciate both cultures and teaching my children, family, friends about them. And also becoming more sensitive towards those cultures and more aware of other cultures also around the world. Well, professionally it’s what essentially differentiates Google Translate and similar machine translation tools to human translator. So it saved my life, really my career.

Janina Neumann (08:14):
That’s really interesting. And I can imagine that…

How’ve you found bringing up your children bilingual?

Do they lean towards a certain language more than the other language or how’ve they found it?

Eva Túnez Salvador (08:30):
Yeah. So I’ve got two little girls, as I mentioned, the first one is, I would say she is completely bilingual, but she speaks to her sister in English. And I think she’s more comfortable in English because she has more people here that speak English to her, my husband speaks English to her and then obviously school and friends. So for that reason, I think my youngest is much more comfortable in English. She still understands everything I say in Spanish and I only speak to them in Spanish which is good, but yeah, let’s see. She’s only three, so she might at some point reply to me in Spanish, hopefully, but I think at the moment, as long as she can understand that’s great. Many people ask me, “Oh, how do you do it?” and I’m like, “Well, I just speak to them in Spanish. I force myself not to say anything in English,” and it has worked so far. So, let’s see how it goes.

Janina Neumann (09:41):
That’s a fantastic commitment. And myself, I grew up bilingual as well, and I’ve always really been thankful to my parents for putting me in that situation. Because it teaches you so much, but also it gives you a competitive advantage later in life. So, I’m sure your children will be very thankful for your approach.

Eva Túnez Salvador (10:09):
Yeah. I hope so. They are already teaching their friends some Spanish.

Janina Neumann (10:14):
Fantastic. Exactly. And also I think there’s this sense of play as well with children and learning languages. So it’s a lot more enjoyable for them because they don’t just see it as learning vocab and getting everything right in their sentences as a way of expressing themselves.

Eva Túnez Salvador (10:34):
Yes. That’s it.

Janina Neumann (10:35):
So tell me a little bit more about, you touched on, what I would call transcreation within translation. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Eva Túnez Salvador (10:47):
Ooh. Transcreation is my favourite part of our translation services, I would say. So it’s a very creative process. It’s a mixture between translation and copywriting and it’s normally used for the advertising industry or for marketing. So translators are more like copywriters with transcreation and they are highly creative, as I said. And the purpose is to attract that target audience and make them engage with what you have to say, as opposed to literally translating from, let’s say Spanish to English or English to Spanish. And, yeah, the goals are not so much to inform, they are to attract, to convince and ultimately, to sell.

Janina Neumann (11:41):
Yeah, that sounds really interesting. And it’s comparing it to the people skills that you have to use in business. You might have the strategic and technical know-how, which you could say a machine has, but actually it’s the people and the softer skills that you need to form business relationships. So perhaps that’s a good analogy of explaining the difference.

Eva Túnez Salvador (12:08):
Yeah, definitely. And also you have to remember with transcreation, you’re usually selling something. So you have to really understand the culture and the aim of the company as well. And let’s say advertising campaign, so that you can then put that into Spanish without sticking to the English, because it will be completely different.

Janina Neumann (12:34):

So tell us a little bit more about doing business with the Spanish-speaking audiences.

Eva Túnez Salvador (12:40):
Yes. So there are some differences between Spanish-speaking audiences and English-speaking audiences. The first one, well, first of all, I will say it’s worth noting that there are two main Spanish speaking audiences, Spanish speakers from Spain and Spanish speakers from Latin America, which is huge. And just doing a quick Wikipedia search, there are more than 469 million people speaking Spanish as their native language and more than 422 million are in Latin America, the United States and Canada. So as you can see, it’s a huge market. And this means there are already differences between Spain and Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America. But I will say their approach to business is quite similar.

So, Spanish speaking audiences take a relationship-first approach to doing business. That means they want to meet you in person first, go for meals, and get to know you personally a bit more before signing any deal.

Eva Túnez Salvador
(13:50):
And that’s how they gain trust and trust is very important for them. They also prefer speaking to people that they have been introduced to, mainly because of that search for trust.

And also, because it’s a more hierarchical culture than the English culture, where you can address the director of a company directly.

And also, if you are presenting information to them, they like to see you’ve done the research before jumping into any conclusions or statements, they like stats, references, et cetera.

In terms of communicating, they prefer to do this in person or over the phone, as opposed to sending emails, which is the preferred method in England.

And finally, they also do less recaps. They don’t put things in writing after conversations as much as an English speaker. We have a Spanish idiom, in Spanish it is,

“A buen entendedor, pocas palabras bastan”

that means if you are good at understanding or if you are a good listener, few words are enough. And so yeah, not so many breakups are needed. Yeah so, I think those are the main differences between the two cultures.

Janina Neumann (15:15):
Fantastic. It sounds like a very personable and efficient culture to make sure that everyone’s on the right terms. It sounds like a good way of doing business. And I love your expression as well. And for those of you listening in English, if you are good at understanding things or a good listener, few words are enough words. That’s fantastic. So tell me a little bit more so about introductions. So I can imagine that having a website that is in Spanish could also be an introduction to building that relationship first.

Eva Túnez Salvador (16:01):
Yes, definitely. It’s something you can send your potential clients first. It definitely helps them build that trust as we said, and especially if it’s in Spanish, because not everyone speaks English in Spain, and they will connect more if the website is in their language, and not only their language, but their culture. So if their cultural elements have been taken into consideration. And that’s where localisation comes in place. So localisation is not only translating the words, but also translating the cultural elements. And I will give you an example.

So in English, on our website, you will have the ‘home’ button. And that translates literally in Spanish as “casa” or “hogar”. But we don’t use that on websites, we just say “inicio”, which is start.

Eva Túnez Salvador (17:11):
So if you are browsing a website, you will say “inicio” in Spanish as opposed to “casa” or “hogar”. And there are many other things.

So Asian languages, for example, they write from right to left. So that has to be taken into account. And when you are building a website or localising a website into those languages. And also things like colours, expressions. Yeah, it’s really, really interesting when you learn all those differences.

And like I learned the other day that, in Greek, well, yeah, the Greek people, find the thumps up symbol offensive. So that’s actually something that’s really common here or the US, and it’s surprising to know that actually they find it offensive. So that’s something they’ll need to take into account if you are localising your website into Greek.

Eva Túnez Salvador (18:17):
And yeah, all those little details that will tell if the website is really translated by someone or localised by someone who’s specialised or they’ve just used, I don’t know, the Google Translate tool that manually translates the websites, which is good, but I think that’s good for understanding a bit more what the website is about, but not for attracting your audience and selling to them.

Janina Neumann
(18:50):
Certainly. And I also think it gives an impression of how serious you are about exporting into that market. Some businesses that I meet, seem to forget that there are lots of competitors in that, for example, in Spain, that all speaks Spanish fluently and have their way of doing it. So they seem to forget all about these competitors that are obviously on top of their game-

Eva Túnez Salvador (19:15):
Yes.

Janina Neumann (19:16):
… with writing in Spanish and they then tend to just use Google Translate. And if you want to position yourself as an expert, you need to make sure that it’s localised and that you don’t encounter any of those cultural barriers.

So touching on some of the cultural barriers with Spanish speaking audiences, do you have any examples?

Eva Túnez Salvador (19:43):
Yes. So the main ones I will say are working hours and days and holidays and bureaucracy. And so as you probably know, if you’ve traveled to Spain, business hours are very different from the rest of Europe. And with most shops, at least in Spain, you have morning hours between 9:00 AM and 1:30 or 2:00 PM, and afternoon, or more like evening hours from 5:00 to 8:30 or 9:00 PM. This is because people stop for a break at lunchtime and lunch is our main meal of the day and we have it in family. And that’s usually followed by a siesta, yes, although, definitely not everyone has an actual nap, it’s a little bit stereotypical. And with offices, especially now in bigger cities, they take a more European approach to working hours and they don’t have a big lunch break and they also finish a bit earlier in the evening, but it really depends on the location and the type of business.

Eva Túnez Salvador (20:47):
And also most businesses close on Saturday afternoons, and almost everything is closed on Sundays. And the banks are closed to the public in the afternoons. Civil servants don’t tend to work in the afternoons either. So it’s better to do any paperwork early in the morning.

And then there are national and regional bank holidays, which are different from other countries. For example, Christmas and Easter have slightly different bank holidays. Many people take holidays in August, so you’ll find many businesses are closed then.

Eva Túnez Salvador (21:21):
And also if you’re planning to do business in Spain and this probably applies to Latin America too. Just bear in mind the bureaucracy or paperwork is a bit more than in England, and things take longer. We have another idiom for that,

“Cada cosa a su tiempo”

one step at a time. So, yeah, I know these together with the language barrier can cause frustration, but I will just recommend to ask for specialist help.

And finally they are, these are not really barriers, but they might create a bit of a shock or frustration when you travel to Spain. One of them is the personal space and you don’t get much of that in Spain, unfortunately, although now will be with COVID. And many people still smoke. So if you don’t like smoke, just choose carefully where to sit at terraces. I really don’t like it. That’s what really gets me when I’m in Spain.

And also people generally speak faster and I’m trying my best here. Sorry. And don’t be scared if people raise their voices. I would just say we are just passionate about everything we have to say.

Janina Neumann (22:33):
That’s fantastic. And I’m really glad that you shared these points with us because some people might have encountered them and now they understand them a little bit better. And this is what The Bicultural Podcast is about, is to give some insight in things that people find odd and actually explaining them that these are part of the culture and is a part of being involved with Spanish people. So that’s really helpful.

So, do you have any top tips for better business relationships between British and Spanish audiences?

Eva Túnez Salvador (23:13):
Yes. So number one, do your cultural and business research first, like everything in life, especially do research for the specific Spanish-speaking country you’re interested in, because as I said, there are differences between those countries. And if you can, ask for help from someone who knows that market.

Number two, learn some Spanish, even if it’s a few sentences and words so they can see you care.

Number three, don’t be afraid of asking for introductions. In fact, try to look for introductions, because you are more likely to be heard.

Eva Túnez Salvador (23:56):
And number four, visit your clients in person, if you can, and get immersed in the culture.

And number 5, present any marketing and important information in good Spanish, because this will not only avoid any misunderstandings, but also helps with the trust element we discussed earlier. And I will say this points would be pretty much the same if you’re a Spanish speaker looking for better business relationships in English-speaking countries, or for any cultures interacting between each other, really. And I just have two more idioms, I hope you don’t mind.

Janina Neumann (24:34):
Yeah, we’d love to hear them.

Eva Túnez Salvador (24:37):
So this is my favourite one and,

“Vísteme despacio que tengo prisa”

that means dress me slowly because I’m in a hurry. So if you rush, you are more likely to get things wrong. And the second one is

“Ni rí, ni rá, si tu padre quiere terneros, que compre vacas”.

“If your father wants calves, he has to buy cows”. So, to win you need to invest. And actually, I didn’t know about that last one till this morning and that my sister texted it to me, and I found it quite appropriate. So yeah, if you want to win you need to invest. But yeah, “Cada cosa a su tiempo”, so one step at a time.

Janina Neumann (25:25):
Yes, I think that’s a great quote about investing in your business, and especially if you’re looking to export, make sure you do your research also with the companies that could help you expand into new markets. And having worked with Eva before, I can highly recommend talking to her about exporting into Spanish-speaking countries. It’s been so fantastic to speak with you, Eva, I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’ve learned so much.

Eva Túnez Salvador (25:59):
Likewise, it’s been a real pleasure. So, thank you so much for inviting me.

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