María Zugazabeitia Fernández: ICB’s New Language Coordinator for Spanish

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Jutta Tagger

ICB Managing Editor Emeritus


You may remember that in the 2012 fall issue of the ICB (Vol. XXXI, n° 4, 4th quarter 2012) we presented to our readers the ICB language team, the persons making sure that all articles in the ICB are published in the four official IFCM languages.

At that time, it was Helen Baines who was responsible for the Spanish language edition. For personal reasons, she had to give up her coordinating role, but, luckily for us, she did not leave without finding a successor in the person of María Zugazabeitia Fernández. María graciously offered to reply to the same questionnaire which we had submitted to the team last year. Please find her answers, as well as a short biographical note, below.

We would like to thank her for accepting this – voluntary – task and hope she will enjoy it, with its many opportunities for making new (mostly virtual) friends and learning about choral music in the world. We also wish to thank Helen for all the work she has done for the ICB. May she go on with her life in good shape, spiritual and physical, and may she keep her fantastic sense of humour.


Are you – or have you been – in any way involved in music, in particular, choral music?

Since 2000 I have been a member of León de Oro, a choral group that was started in the mid-1990s in Luanco, a small town in the North of Spain. I have been singing in a choir for over half my life and, if I look around me, I see many of my friends and people I know involved in music in a professional sense; for this reason the choral world has become an increasingly important part of my life.


How did you first become involved in work with the ICB? And since when?

It all happened by chance last summer, in July. I had just finished my third year of a degree in Translation and Interpreting and I wanted to work as a volunteer translator during the holidays so that I could gain some experience and go into my last year at university better prepared. I found an advert online in which Helen Baines (the Spanish language coordinator at that time) was talking about how she needed volunteer translators (just the kind of work I was looking for). Four days later I was already translating an article for the ICB.


How did you become interested in language coordination? Have you had any prior experience with this kind of work?

It was Helen who suggested I take over as coordinator when she decided to give the job up. I would go as far to say that we had a great relationship from the very first email we exchanged and therefore it was a pleasure to accept her proposal; however, at the same time I knew I had a great challenge ahead of me. Fortunately I was not completely new to coordinating, because faculties of translation normally get students to carry out those kind of jobs, and from February to June this year I was the coordinator for a group of translators at the university where I was studying.


What is your motivation? How do you value your contribution to the ICB?

I love my job and that’s why I do it, given that I believe it’s important to be happy in what you do to be able to do it well. I don’t know if I’m a good coordinator or not, you would have to ask the translators I manage, the editors and the managing editor of the ICB, but what I do know is that I am thrilled to do the job I do.


What is your relationship with the volunteers in your team?

I like to have a close relationship with them; I usually write to them individually so that the process is more direct and personal. I am quite flexible on the deadline and conditions of a project, but I am always grateful if translators are punctual with sending me the work and if they do it well. I enjoy praising the work that they do and it’s not nice to have to call something to the translator’s attention, especially in an organisation like this where the translators work for free; I must emphasise, however, that all the members of my team make an effort to make my job easier for me.


Do you think that working as a volunteer is important in today’s society?

Of course. However, I would like to differentiate between working as a volunteer and working for free. I am completely in favour of working as a volunteer for non-profit organisations like this one, who are working towards improving the world’s culture, and increasing communication so that information (and in this case, choral music) can reach all corners of the world. On the other hand, I am completely against companies taking advantage of the free work carried out by interns and others; those that provide them with terrible contractual conditions.


María Zugazabeitia Fernández. Luanco (Spain), 1991. Graduated in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Salamanca. In the last two years she has undertaken internships overseen by the Spanish Association of Translators, Copy Editors and Interpreters and she has worked as a translator for the United Nations Organisation. Her working languages are English, French, Portuguese and Spanish and, as she specialises in institutional translation, she especially likes to translate for tourism and business. In July 2012 she started to work as a volunteer translator for the International Choral Bulletin and, since April, she has been the coordinator for the Spanish language version of the publication. She is currently working as a translator and teaching foreign languages.


Translated from the Spanish by Natalie Campbell, UK

Edited by Gillian Forlivesi Heywood, Italy


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