2020 By the Numbers…and Hello 2021

Well, a very Happy New Year to you! I’m looking forward to what 2021 will bring. 2020 taught us that changes, questions and uncertainty are here to stay. At the same time, growth, new experiences and opportunities we didn’t see coming can also be part of our reality. One of Brené Brown’s recent podcast episodes highlights the fact that life has actually always been this way – and the past year, perhaps, gave me more tools to use when times get challenging.

Before diving headfirst into 2021 (because, let’s face it, we can’t wait to get some distance between us and 2020), I’ve done some reflecting upon where my business is at. It’s looking good, friends. Like many people, my work was slow in the spring and early summer. It’s now picked up, and I currently have more translation projects than even before the pandemic. Here are a few facts about Alison Trujillo Translations from the past year:

With that, I wish you health, happiness and personal and professional growth in 2021. I look forward to further connecting with all of you, and perhaps also providing you with translation services in the coming months.

WindowSwap Love

Picture, if you will, me sitting down to a workday lunch in my dining room. I’m taking a break from screen time, so I look out the window at the meadow and the trees. We have a “filtered” ocean view through the trees, and on really clear days you can make out the sparkle of the sun’s rays dancing over the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Not too shabby, right? I love my view! Buuuuuut—these days, being at home so much means that even the most beautiful views can start to get old. Enter WindowSwap! Now I can sit and eat my lunch while looking out a window in, oh, I don’t know—Cairo? St. Petersburg? New York City? I love it, and it’s saving my sanity.

A husband-and-wife team developed this site. They say this is “a place on the internet where all we travel hungry fools share our ‘window views’ to help each other feel a little bit better till we can (responsibly) explore our beautiful planet again.”

If you haven’t visited WindowSwap, please do, and make sure your volume is turned on so you can hear the local sounds as well. I might submit my own window view, so perhaps you’ll stop by my dining room window. Happy “travels”!

Image courtesy of Business Insider.

5 Spanish Sayings and Their English Equivalents

Great translation captures the true meaning of something in the target language while also keeping it accessible and relatable for the reader. This is especially true for Spanish sayings and their English equivalents!

One of my most popular blog posts has been about Spanish dichos, or sayings. A translation colleague recently presented about proverbs from around the world at the annual American Translators Association conference, and this inspired me to write another post with some useful Spanish sayings. Here are five, with their English equivalents:

  1. “A mal tiempo, buena cara.” Literally: “In bad weather, a good face.”

In English, we would say: “Put on a brave face.” We could also say: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

2. “Dios los cría, y ellos se juntan.” Literally: “God breeds them, and they flock together.”

In English, we would probably say: “Birds of a feather flock together.”

3. “A cada cerdo le llega su San Martín.” Literally: “Every pig has its Saint Martin.”

Some villages in Spain celebrate the feast of Saint Martin of Tours on November 11 by slaughtering a pig. An English equivalent would be “You reap what you sow” (no pun intended) or “What goes around, comes around.”

4. “A caballo regalado, no le mires el diente.” Literally: “Don’t inspect the tooth of a gift horse.”

In English, we would say “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” or “Beggars can’t be choosers.”

5. “Aquel va más sano, que anda por lo llano.” Literally: “They who are healthiest walk on the plain.”

In English, we would say “Everything in moderation.”

As I finish up this post, we here in the U.S. are awaiting our presidential election results. Be kind to your American friends this week – we are on pins and needles!

Covid-19 Communications

Translators and interpreters are busy providing Covid-19 communications these days. I’m happy when a translation project about Covid-19 guidelines comes my way. This means that the individual or organization needing translation cares about the health and safety of their employees and others in their field.

Some recent Covid-19 communication projects I’ve worked on are for the wine industry: health and safety protocols for agricultural workers at grape harvest time, happening now. Other projects include newsletters from educational institutions regarding school closures, re-opening expectations and program changes to make sure kids and adults stay healthy.

While major organizations like the CDC have different language options on their website, many smaller businesses do not. Therefore, I’m so glad when business owners recognize the importance of translating Covid-19 communications into different languages. For my clients in the U.S., it may mean documents in Spanish for the large Spanish-speaking population here. In other countries, documents may need to be translated into English because that’s the common language that all employees speak (think agricultural workers in Europe who come from different countries to work).

Our knowledge about the virus and how to stay healthy is changing every day, so we’ve got to stay on top of these communications. While the road is still foggy, I take heart in knowing that I’m helping out in my own little way.

Yours in health,


P.S. – A huge shout-out to a very special organization here in California: CoPTIC. Their hard work helped to grant us translators and interpreters an exemption from AB5, thus ensuring that language service providers like me can continue working as independent contractors in this state. This is especially important at a time when language access is crucial. Hospitals, the court system, schools – these are just a few types of institutions that will benefit from still being able to call up a translator or interpreter at any time. What a relief!

The Price of Forgetting

What is the price of forgetting? “The Silence of Others” tells us that, for many parts of history, the price of “forgetting” is too high.

“Es simplemente un olvido. Una amnistía de todos para todos. Un olvido de todos para todos. Una ley puede establecer el olvido, pero ese olvido ha de bajar a toda la sociedad. Hemos de procurar que esta concepción del olvido se vaya generalizando porque es la única manera de que podamos darnos la mano sin recor.”

“It’s simply a forgetting. An amnesty by all, for all. A forgetting by all, for all. A law can establish a forgetting, but that forgetting must filter through all of society. We must ensure that this forgetting becomes widespread because it is the only way we can shake each other’s hands without rancor.”

In the film “The Silence of Others”, we see 1977 video footage of these words spoken by a member of the Congress of Deputies, Spain’s legislative branch that meets in the Palace of the Parliament. These words refer to Spain’s Amnesty Law, which placed a final end to Franco’s dictatorship in Spain but also, with the “Pact of Forgetting” (in Spanish, “el Pacto del Olvido”) wiped out the possibility of seeking justice for the thousands of Spaniards who suffered through disappearances, torture, the kidnapping of babies and many other crimes against humanity from 1936 to 1976.

This documentary is beautiful and heartfelt, full of both pain and hope. Much like here in the U.S., we have learned that the price of “forgetting” is too high. As we follow Spanish men and women of all ages—who lost family members or who were tortured themselves—take part in an international tribunal that seeks to bring perpetrators to justice, we learn their stories and how important it is for them to have some semblance of closure.

María Martín, one of the many Spaniards who has fought to exhume her family member’s remains from a mass grave.

An overall theme of the film is also the questioning of those monuments, streets and other public spaces emblazoned with the names of the Franco regime’s fascist leaders. We see footage of present-day nationalist movements in Spain today, with citizens chanting “Viva Franco, Viva España” while raising their right hands in the air a la Nazi youth. This, too, mirrors what I see happening in my own country.

These statues are a monument to those who suffered under the Franco regime. Shortly after their unveiling, someone shot at them. You can still see the bullet holes.

For an insightful look into these individual Spaniards’ stories and into the historical reckoning that many people in Spain now seek, I highly recommend this movie. It’s currently available on Netflix, and there are subtitles. Whether you live here in the U.S. like me or elsewhere, my guess is that you will see some of your own country in these scenes. Please let me know what you think if you watch it! I’m curious to hear other peoples’ takes.

Photos courtesy of the East Bay Express and Latino Public Broadcasting.

68 Voces

Image from 68 Voces
Summer “hellos” to everyone. A recent discovery I have to share with you today is 68 Voces (68 Voices). This art and storytelling project is the brainchild of Gabriela Badillo, an artist based in Mexico City. It’s a compilation of animated stories from Mexico’s diverse indigenous regions…all narrated in the original indigenous languages. Subtitles are in Spanish, and there is also a collection of stories in English. Beautiful.


Also art-related, do you now anyone who needs a nudge to wear a mask? Share this poster with them. It’s available in 19 languages and from the fab Portland, Oregon artist Maggie Rudy. Hope you’re enjoying summer, wherever this finds you. 


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