In the interests of research, a couple of weekends ago, my veterinarian husband, his two clinic assistants and I, packed our bags and set off for Madrid, to visit Propet+Iberzoo, the Pet Industry International Trade Fair at Ifema. Ifema, or Feria de Madrid, is Spain’s most important exhibition centre, and it hosts numerous big, international events for all types of industries, as well as international congresses and conferences.
It was a marvellous opportunity for my husband and his staff to see all the latest equipment and medical advances for the profession, although most of it was too expensive for the average practitioner, particularly where we live, where the locals are very tight-fisted when it comes to spending money on their pets. Although we did not come home with an MRI or a new theatre light, we did make a couple of interesting purchases. My husband particularly enjoyed the opportunity to show off his mastery of the suture, cauterising and stitching up chicken legs with his customary skill, while I enjoyed the pet fashion show featuring Chihuahuas dressed in ballerina skirts!
My interest in going to Ifema was also professional, although I will admit that I am a mad dog woman! I translate a lot of texts for trade fairs, and attending in person allowed me to explore the facilities and get a feel of the atmosphere, which I know will have a positive effect on my future translations. It is one thing describing things based on pictures on the website, and quite another when you have experienced everything for yourself. Research is extremely important.
And while we are on the topic of research, last week, I was assigned an article from a very up-market travel magazine to translate. It was patently obvious that the writer had never been to the destinations she mentioned, because I have. One of these was the Bazaruto Archipelago, a marine national park in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Mozambique. The writer raved about the ‘tropical fruit’, but failed to mention the sensational scenery visible from the top of the sand dunes, the coral reefs and sparkling water in every shade of blue imaginable. Even if she did go, I wouldn’t have bumped into her, because the accommodation she recommended cost more than $6,000 a night, enough to feed a local village for months, while I stayed in a mosquito-ridden straw hut with no hot water!
I ask myself, should I specialise in travel writing… perhaps that will give me an excuse to check out the destinations I write about, strictly in the interests of research, of course…