Spanish for Professional Purposes...

...for teachers and students who see the need for Spanish language and Hispanic cultures knowledge in professional contexts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How to Say "résumé" in Spanish

To talk about your professional "résumé" in Spanish, use on of these:


historial personal

hoja de vida

Be careful of the "amigo falso" resumen which is a summary in Spanish.

An academic curriculum in Spanish would be plan de estudios, programa de estudios, or currículo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer Plans: Santiago Beltran and FAC Internacional

This summer UNC junior Santiago Beltran will return to Guatemala to expand the microfinance initiative started there last year: El fondo de apoyo comunitario.   This summer FAC will expand its training programs, increase the capital savings of its participants, and continue the successful microlending projects.

To prepare for the growth and expansion of FAC, Santi has received a Burch Fellowship to be trained as a savings office by two microfinance organizations: CrediFamilia in Colombia and Fondesol in Guatemala.  This training will help Santi to better understand how to help the world’s poorest populations build capital despite the limitations imposed by their circumstances:  How do you teach financial literacy to the illiterate? How do you handle the potentially complicated dynamics of a group-shared loan? What are the implications of empowering women through these programs?

We'll know more when Santi gets back to campus in August...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Last Names in the Spanish-speaking World

In the Spanish-speaking world it is common to write names in the following way:

First name(s) + father's last name + mother's last name

The last name used for family name, identification, etc. is the father's last name--its function is the "last name."  

It is not a "middle name" even though it appears between the first name(s) and the mother's last name (what you might call the "mother's maiden name").

Here are some examples:

José Manuel Cureño Naranjo (last name = Cureño)

Edna Vila Aguilera (last name = Vila) 

María Victoria Villasana Rivadeneyra (last name = Villasana)

A seemingly minor bookkeeping or bureaucratic error in which the mother's maiden name is erroneously presumed to be the last name can essentially change someone's identity.

Because of this, many Latinos in the U.S. either hyphenate the two names or drop the mother's last name. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Se busca... Job Opportunity in Carrboro

Assistant Director of Human Rights Center in Abbey Court, Carrboro, NC:

We are looking for a bilingual person who will live rent-free at the
Human Rights Center, Abbey Court, as the Assistant Director. The person
would be paid a stipend, and the amount depends on what they wish to be
involved with and their preferences. Since the beginning of the HRC,
that person has been involved in the after-school program. We will miss
Alfonso Hernandez, but understand his decision to pursue a BA degree in

Judith Blau

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Nice to Meet You..." Navigating Introductions in Spanish

Proper introductions are an important part of professional life--you have to be able to introduce two colleagues who don't know each other in a professional manner.

Here are a few pointers for pulling that off in Spanish:

  • Start with the name of the "highest ranking" person (use your judgement: in each situation, is it the boss, the visiting guest, the oldest person present, the person with the most seniority at the company?)
  • Use titles where appropriate, which is more common in Spanish than in English: Doctor, Doctora, Licenciado, Licenciada, Ingeniero, Ingeniera, Señor, Señora.
  • Say: the title and name of the person you will introduce + "le quiero presentar a" + the name of the person you are introducing:
 -"Doctora María Sánchez, le quiero presentar a mi colega, Kevin Jones."

When you are the one who has been introduced to someone you've never met before, you can say:

-"Mucho gusto."

-"Encantado." (if you are male)

-"Encantada." (if you are female)

If the other person beats you to it, simply reply:


And the most important thing to remember is that the Spanish verb for "to introduce" is presentar.

(NOTE: The verb introducir exists, but is used in a context such has inserting a coin into a Coke machine or inserting your card into an ATM.  Watch out for that false cognate!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spanish Dictionaries

As much as possible try to use a true Spanish dictionary (such as  ).
If your goal is to be a fluent Spanish-speaker then you have use a Spanish-Spanish dictionary! That's what native speakers do.
A good online Spanish/English-English/Spanish dictionary is: That's a great reference for spelling, gender of nouns, different possible uses and meanings; in other words, it is a good reference for language learners.  But fluent speakers would use the Spanish-Spanish dictionary a lot more.
Try to find a way to use both!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spanish-speaking Volunteer Opportunity in Carrboro This Summer

This summer, LINC (Linking Immigrants to New Communities) will continue and we need help! We're looking for volunteers for our once-a-week classes: Thursdays from 7-8:30 pm. Class will beginJune 2

We'd love to have people would could make a weekly commitment, but if you can't, please still contact me and we'll keep you involved. Volunteers will be working one-on-one or in small groups with community members looking to begin learning English, improve their language skills, or just practice with a friend. 

We may be experimenting with some new class formats depending on how many tutors we have with us, but everyone will have all the materials they need. 

Please email me Anna McCreight ( if you'll be around for all or part of the summer, and you're interested in participating.