From teaching to translating

October has arrived, I’ve got out my winter coat and boots, but there seems to be no let up in the visitor numbers in this end of Cornwall. Luckily the days of mist and drizzle have been punctuated with glorious sunshine, which makes me think there’s no better place to live!

Autumn always feels like a time of new beginnings (must be the teacher in me!). I finally submitted the dissertation for my MA in Translation Studies in September and I’m now putting my energies into setting up as a freelance translator. Fortunately for me the ITI (Institute for Translators and Interpreters) runs a great course entitled – wait for it – “Setting Up as a Freelance Translator”. I have already learnt loads from the tutors, all practising translators, and am trying to narrow down which fields to specialise in.

I translate from Spanish and German into English. I also subtitle. Being a film fan encouraged me to take the subtitling module on the MA and I enjoyed it so much that I made my dissertation all about subtitling my favourite Spanish TV series, Cuéntame Comó Pasó. You know, you could all lobby your favourite streaming/video-on-demand service to acquire this series – then I’d be well placed for work for a few months at least (there are upwards of 300 episodes). In any case, it’s a great series and I recommend it to advanced Spanish learners as a way of improving your Spanish and learning about recent Spanish history. I still enjoy it even after having to watch the same scenes frame by frame about two thousand times whilst preparing the subtitles.

Talking of Spanish learners, my Intermediate/Improvers Spanish course recommences on Mondays 5.30 – 6.30 pm at the Centre of Pendeen and there is plenty of space for anyone who’s interested in this friendly, practical class. I may offer Beginners Spanish too, if I can get enough students, so please get in touch. I am currently not taking on any more classes as I focus on my translation business, but do get in touch and I may be able to point you in the right direction.


Autumn, Herbst, Otoño 2015

So, time for an update…

Autumn has brought several new students to the Centre of Pendeen wanting to learn Spanish for their holidays (to Cuba, the Canaries, and mainland Spain). I must confess to a slight touch of envy when I hear of all these plans, but I have been travelling too, albeit from the comfort of my laptop – translating texts about Colombian peace talks and about a Spanish gastronomy conference for my part-time translation course. Translating really helps me keep in touch with the language and learn about other cultures or specialist fields (including, for example, how to eat a sea urchin).

The 4 week Spanish for Beginners course has now finished, but we will be continuing from November 2nd, and new students are very welcome to join us. If you would like to join but are a complete beginner, please feel free to contact me and we can arrange some catch-up sessions. Mondays 6.45 – 7.45 pm.

The Spanish for Improvers class is going strong and we have been working on our verbs as well as practising asking for tourist information and honing listening skills. Sometimes using a foreign language is all about guesswork and negotiation rather than grammatical accuracy, so we have practised listening out for key words and phrases and using the context to guess what the message is. It may just be that you need the message to be repeated or spoken more slowly (más despacio), so that that string of seemingly incomprehensible syllables starts making a bit more sense. If you are interested in joining this class, please get in touch. Mondays 5.30 – 6.30 pm.

While you are at the Centre of Pendeen you can pick up a bargain second hand book (they have several thousand for sale) or even some useful kitchen equipment in their “Kitchenalia” sale. And if Spanish is not for you, you could try Tai Chi or Scrabble…

New Beginners Spanish Course at the Centre of Pendeen

Learn the basics…

Numbers, greetings, introducing yourself, negotiating a conversation and knowing how to pronounce Spanish words.

Understand and speak from the start

We will focus on listening skills and speaking, to build your confidence in using Spanish on your holiday or in future classes.

4 – week course

The course runs for 4 weeks and will hopefully give you the taste for learning more! The course costs £28 which works out at just £7 for each session.

When and where?

Monday evenings 6.45 – 7.45 pm at the Centre of Pendeen starting mid September (provisionally 21st September 2015).

Small class size

The maximum number of students is 6, which means I can respond to the needs of the individuals within the group. So if there is something you would particularly like to learn, or you need extra help or practice with an aspect of the language, just let me know.

About the tutor

I am a PGCE-qualified teacher of MFL (Modern Foreign Languages) with more than 8 years’ experience of teaching languages to adults and children, both in Spain and in the UK.  Please contact me on  or 01736 787905 if you would like to reserve a place on the beginners Spanish course, or if you have any further questions. ¡Hasta pronto!

Spanish in Pendeen

We are looking for more people to join our small, friendly improvers Spanish group in Pendeen.

Held on Wednesday evenings from 5.30 – 6.30 pm at the Centre of Pendeen, this class will suit you if you know some of the basics of Spanish already.

We have recently started looking at how to talk about past events in Spanish.

Please contact me for more information.

The class costs £7 for one hour, and your first session will be free so you can see if the class is right for you.

German for Beginners Part 3 in Penzance – sign up for September

The next part of my Penzance beginners course with Cornwall Adult Education Service will continue in September on Wednesday evenings from 7 – 9 pm.

Please come and join us if you know a little German already and would like to learn more. Classes involve a lot of speaking, listening and interaction, giving you the confidence to use the language in real life situations.

To sign up, please ring Cornwall Adult Education on 0300 1231 117  or email

You can also enrol online.

If you want some German practice before September please take a look at my facebook page German and Spanish St Just.

German for Beginners Part 2 – Penzance

Learn German in Penzance this Spring

I’m pleased to say that Cornwall Adult Education Service are offering another 5-week German course in the Skills for Life Centre at Penlee Park. The course starts on 22nd April 2015 and takes place on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 pm.

Topics covered

This course follows on from German for Beginners Part 1 and we will be learning how to ask for places in a town, understand times and prices in German, buy tickets for travel, and talk about your family.

New learners welcome

Learners who did not come to the first part of the course are welcome, though some prior learning in German will help you.

To enroll phone Cornwall Adult Education on  0300 1231 117.

Rabbiting away in Spanish at the Dog and Rabbit, St Just.

March – Spanish at the Dog and Rabbit

Now March is upon us, the Café Dog and Rabbit has reopened after a very well deserved hibernation in February, and we are back to our usual Thursday evening Spanish sessions. These are from 4.30 – 5.30 and are aimed at beginners who have some knowledge of the basics, and people who have learnt a bit of Spanish and want to practise their speaking. To give you an idea of what we have been covering, last week we practised using and understanding numbers above 100, and then understanding the words for places in town, and saying how far places are.

New people welcome

We are always on the look out for more people to join the group, so please pop along to our next session and enjoy un café con leche and some Spanish chat at the Dog and Rabbit.


Many thanks to Corinne at Bosavern House, who provided a very comfortable alternative venue in February. Muchas gracias!

Wednesday night German in Penzance

I’m really happy to say that this course will now be going ahead starting Wednesday 25th February 2015.

So Wednesday nights are now German night: 4.45 – 5.45 is beginners German in the Centre of Pendeen and then 7 – 9 pm is a beginners German class in Penzance, run through Cornwall Adult Education.

To sign up for the Penzance course (you still have time) please contact Cornwall Adult Education on 0300 1231 117.

Right, I’d better get planning….

Why learn a language?


Speech bubbles with reasons why people want to learn Spanish or German

Why learn German or Spanish?

In the first class I like to ask learners why they want to learn German or Spanish. Shown above are just a few of the answers they give.

Get speaking right from the start

Many people learnt a language at school and now want to take it up again, or learn a completely new language. Others did not really enjoy language learning at school, but are motivated to give language learning a second chance. Often they feel their knowledge of grammar is OK, but they want to be able to speak and understand more confidently.

Travel, friends and holidays

A lot of people are enthusiastic about the country where the language is spoken and may have visited and got a taste for the culture and want to go back and chat with the locals or friends over a café con leche or a Weissbier.

For business

I have several learners working in the hospitality industry, who want to be able to communicate with their guests. Here in West Cornwall we have a huge number of German visitors, thanks partly to the popularity of the German produced TV adaptations of Rosamunde Pilcher novels shown on a Sunday evening in Germany. Filmed in Cornwall with a German cast, these shows draw thousands of German tourists every year to visit the landscapes and houses made famous in the programmes.

Classes tailored to your interests

Whatever your reasons, I will take them into account when planning your lessons and if there is something you particularly want to learn then let me know, and I can plan it into a future lesson.

And if you have no particular reason and just want the fun and challenge of learning a new language, then that’s fine too!

Look under the Spanish or German tabs to find details of current classes in St Just, Pendeen and Penzance.