Month: April 2021

The Spanish Consulate of Los Angeles Translation Disaster

The Spanish Consulate of Los Angeles Translation Disaster

Gay Marriage, Leaving the Country, Resistance to Trump-ism in a Nutshell

On 12/14/16, I got gay married to an Italian named Christian at the courthouse in Beverly Hills. We decided to move to get married to ultimately move to Europe when Trump was inaugurated as president. We didn’t want to be part of that shit show, but the move to Spain was a shit show in itself. Getting married to someone with Italian citizenship means that I was eligible to become a European citizen. So we decided to move somewhere gay-friendly and decided on Madrid.

Since Christian is already a native speaker of English with European citizenship as he was born in Italy but left for Oklahoma when he was one years old, the English teaching institutions in Europe, a particularly notorious one called BEDA that you have to ‘pay’ to teach for and does all of the Catholic schools in the Madrid vicinity, swooped him up and wanted to offer him a placement immediately. So he did it, for all of 2017. He moved and was able to glide into living in Madrid after spending a month in a pensione (a monthly budget hotel) and staying for a time with temporary roommates he met on Grindr.

The Spanish Consulate Appointment System

I had to wait a year and apply to English teaching groups more formally and I got accepted into the fanciest English teaching one called UCETAM. I also applied for the public one offered by the country, but I went for UCETAM. This got me into Europe via a student visa. With a digital letter sent from UCETAM, I had to get a student visa from the Spanish Consulate in Los Angeles. There was no way of knowing that there were no appointments for three months out. I checked their website on a daily basis and finally was able to shoe myself into an appointment.

After waiting a month and shoeing myself in, I was rejected. I didn’t have the original letter from UCETAM. They had to send me the original letter and not a digital copy.

I was also rejected because my Spanish translation from Advanced Translation Services* was not done by a certified Spaniard. I didn’t have a ‘certified’ translation of my Apostille and FBI Background Check. It was not only any kind of translation, but it also had to be a special translation certified by only a select native Spain Spanish speaker living in the United States because Spaniards cannot decipher my clean criminal background in Latin American Spanish. It was obnoxious and unhelpful, to say the least.

Spamming The Translators for a Response

All Spanish Translators Are Not Equal

I was referred to a book of translators. There are about 20 sworn translators available in the United States who could do a translation of my background check. I emailed all of them at the same time.

Of the eighteen, eight responded back, six were on vacation and only two were able to have availability for the translation.

Sworn Translators Who Responded Back:

Tamara Cabrera could do it for $60.
Patricia López-Gay could do it for $120.
Pero Bujalance Andrés was not available.
Wawi Gorriz was not available.
Rocío Corredor was not available.
Sergi Raneda was not available.
Mercedes Oetgen was not available.
Marta Manzanares was not available.

Sworn Translators Who Didn’t Respond Back:

Celia Bravo Diaz didn’t respond back.
Eva Alonso Calero didn’t respond back.
Margarita Calvo didn’t respond back.
Eva Chaler didn’t respond back.
Angely Giambra didn’t respond back.
María Gutiérrez Rey didn’t respond back.
Irene Igualada didn’t respond back.
Mercedes Oetgen López didn’t respond back.
Silvia Aurora Oviedo didn’t respond back.

So I went with Tamera Cabrera, who was half as expensive as the other translator who responded back. She was a life saver.

Advanced Translation Service Said I Threatened to Leave a Negative Yelp Review…

…I said I was GOING to leave a negative review.

Oh my god, Marina, the lady who runs Advanced Translation Services, was so arrogant and awful to me. She took an “it’s not my problem, and how dare you even think our service has any bearing on your rejection” stance to me having to redo her translation by another translator that should have never been done. I asked if she could at least reimburse me for the $60 I spent on Tamera Cabrera. (I spent $95 on their service.) Nope!

Buyer beware. The Spanish Consulate in Los Angeles doesn’t accept their translations! And the person who I’ve been talking to is extremely crazy argumentative about not giving me a refund, even partial reimbursement for the same translation I had to redo by someone who is certified by the consulate. Their argument is that it’s my fault, essentially I should have known that I shouldn’t have come there, even though it’s listed on their website and Yelp that they provide for student visas. And I’m warning you, while there is no problems with the service of the translation, it’s at your own risk if you come here. I wish SOMEONE had let me known that their translator has no business translating for the consulate that they’re next to! But no, it’s my fault.

I’m moving to Europe yet again and I am being accepted into a work study thingamajig through an ordinary student visa. I came in and said I was applying for a student visa and dropped off an FBI Background Check and an Apostille of one. Since they’re located about a mile away from the consulate, I came directly from there and dropped off the paperwork. They told me it would be $95 and to come pick it up the next day. I thought that was reasonable and fast, so they charged my card and I left.

They didn’t call me back, so I ended up calling them back the following day. They told me it would be ready by the end of the day, so I picked it up the next day. They provided me with a translation of an FBI Background Check and the Apostille Certification of an FBI Background Check. And it looks professional and fine. No problems so far.

I finally go to my student visa appointment this morning and drop off the paperwork. The woman at the Spanish Consulate looks at the translation and immediately rejects it. She said it was because the translator at Advanced Translation Services was not listed in their international list of translators booklet. She referred to some type of book of translators, and on Pages 601 and 602, are the accredited people listed in the United States.

I was a bit floored because nobody at the Spanish Consulate or anything explicitly lists this and nobody at Advanced Translation said anything either. They claimed to help many, many people with student and work visas at the Spanish Consulate. And I did look at their website, which has links to the consulates, and the glowing reviews regarding their translations for visas.

And Marina basically has been specifically arguing that it’s my fault for not knowing about what they require prior. Honestly I don’t think that the consulate is consistent with everyone as it doesn’t list this requirement for specific translators anywhere. And I will be reviewing the consulate, once I get my stamped visa! This entire process with the consulate has been a clusterfuck of rules. Anyway they should know to warn others who need documents translated at the Spanish consulate that the translator needs to be someone who is approved by the consulate that’s located a mile from them! Apparently it was news to them too. And it’s my fault.

So two stars was FAIR. They did provide a decent translation and consistently wrote back, even to argue with me. I thought it was fair to at least request to have the $66 that I spent on a legit Spanish translator (according to the consulate) as I basically threw $95 into the recycling bin with this beautifully useless translation.

So Marina the owner responded back to this Yelp review and said that I ‘threatened’ to leave negative feedback. At the very end of these long argumentative and dismissive emails, I said I was GOING to leave negative feedback.

I would have been happy to ‘return’ the useless Advanced Translation Services translation but I ended up throwing it out.

Posted by Chris Girard in Dual Citizenship, Languages
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Mornings Nights – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Mornings Nights – 5/5 Stars

Mornings Nights – CLOSED
$ Coffee & Tea, Bagels
1523 Griffith Park Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

After reading Gilbert P.’s heart-wrenching one-star review about how his wife told him about the horror of being tragically dismissed by a barista because she wanted him to find the tape and hang up her flier, I wanted to counter his assertions about the rude staff by saying I love the cool and peaceful attitude of the people who work here.

The employees have the best dynamic of any coffee shop I’ve seen. They’re – like – all friends. I get the sense most of them really enjoy being there (some seem to even live here), and many of them seem to even hang out on the tables off-hours.

There is really no place like this in Los Angeles. Since the opening of the ‘Sunset Triangle’ plaza (the green polka dot tarp area with tables) as a public space to hang out in, it made this place all the more perfectly located. The tables are public (and not the coffee shop’s) but they bring food over to them and their free wifi travels to them. The coffee here is incredibly good and is the most reasonably priced in the area.

Iced coffee is delicious and $2!

Useful: 33 Funny: 5 Cool: 32


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp