Language skills propelled my career abroad

Zilin Cui '11

Doing consecutive interpreting for a joint project between the Chilean Ministry of Environment, UNDP and Chilean Air Force on halon reduction and recycling in early 2014.

Zilin Cui ’11, Interpreter and Translator

Major: Spanish and Economics

Awards: Jessie Babcock Award

Thesis: Identidades mediatizadas: El mapuche como una raza en la canción "Füta Nüyün Terremoto" de Wechekeche Ñi Traün. 2010-2011. 

Internship: Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, Seville, Spain

Study Abroad: CIEE Liberal Arts, Santiago, Chile

I obtained a double major in Spanish and Economics at Mount Holyoke, and I have to say that the language skills I learned at Mount Holyoke and through a semester of study abroad have helped me in more than one way!

After graduating from college I worked as an assistant economist for a year, but surprisingly I was able to use my Spanish skills to help the company expand their market in Spanish-speaking countries. In 2012, I decided to move back to Chile where I had previously studied abroad, and I worked as a translator and interpreter in Spanish, English and Chinese.

I worked with government ministries, universities, wineries… some of my career highlights include a hydroelectric interpretation gig, which required a six-mile hike up and then down a mountain in order to see (and interpret all the way!) a project site! Most recently, I was selected to interpret the Chile-Chile business council annual meeting inaugurated by the Chinese premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Latin America this past May – it was a challenging and memorable event!

Currently, I am working at a Chinese company trying to establish their first branch office in Chile. Being the only trilingual person on the 26-person multinational team, I assist with cross-cultural communications, translation and interpretation on a daily basis. I can’t imagine navigating all these adventures if I did not major in Spanish at Mount Holyoke.

More than language skills, I learned how to engage with Spanish speakers on a cultural, intellectual and professional level, and became a world citizen in the true sense.