Laura Ray | Owner, Sol Linguistica LLC
Let me tell you a little story...
Who am I? What do I do? How did I get here anyway?!
Since this is my first blog post for my translation service, let me tell you a little story to tell you how I got here and how Sol Linguistica LLC came to be...
Almost exactly 14 years ago in the spring of 2008, I was neck deep an existential crisis after having just returned to the U.S. mainland after spending about four intense months hiking on volcanoes, conducting vegetation surveys, and collecting insects as part of an internship for the United States Geological Survey.
I had graduated from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in December of 2008 with a degree in Wildlife Biology. Once I was back in Syracuse, I had some time to reflect on my experiences in Hawai'i and ponder my next steps (i.e. what would I study in grad school?!). Although I absolutely loved the sweaty, exciting, and slightly dangerous fieldwork that my undergraduate degree prepared me for, my time on the Big Island made me realize that I also had a deep interest in people, culture, and language in particular.
I paused, took some time to figure out where I wanted to head academically and professionally, and decided to use my time wisely and brush up on my Spanish in the meantime (just in case I might need it in the future.... #foreshadowing). In high school, aside from music, Spanish class was definitely my favorite, and I always had a knack for and interest in acquiring a second language.
By the summer of 2008, I had been hired as the Warehouse Manager for Interfaith Works of Central New York, and over the next year I pretty much embedded myself in the local Cuban community that had been steadily growing as a result of the Cuban-Haitian visa lottery program. I spent 8 hours per day (minimum), 5 days per week (minimum) for over a year completely immersed in a Spanish-speaking community.
Through that position, I was inspired by the new immigrant experience I observed and saw the need for English as a second language (ESL) teaching and advocacy. Since I was still also interested in science, I decided that the best way to continue in a scientific field but also study language was to pursue linguistics, which is the scientific study of language.
In August 2007, I moved to the Hampton Roads region Virginia where I had roots on my mother's side of the family, and by December 2008 I had earned my Master of Arts (M.A.) in Applied Linguistics with concentrations in both Sociolinguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Old Dominion University.
By January 2009, I started working the Old Dominion University English Language Center as an adjunct instructor and worked my way up until I became Assistant Director of the program in May of 2015.
Over the last 11 years I've taught hundreds (maybe thousands? I don't haven't kept track, though I wish I had!) of students from all around the world, and have had the opportunity to interact with absolutely wonderful students - many of whom I now call friends - through a multitude of diverse cultural experiences that have enriched my life in countless ways.
A lot of people ask my how I became so fluent in Spanish. Well, the truth is, I met my ex-husband while working for IFW-CNY back in Syracuse, and for the duration of my marriage, the only time I spoke English was with family and at work. Other than that, it was 100% español for the 7 years we were together.
Even after my marriage ended, my immersion in a Spanish-speaking environment continued as almost all of my personal relationships from that point on were with Spanish speakers.
So, essentially, outside of work and with family, almost all of my communications for the last 14 years have been in Spanish. No, I've never lived in a Spanish speaking country, I do not have Hispanic ancestry (though my friends often tell me I was born in the wrong country), and I didn't major in Spanish. (I did get to travel to Cuba twice though!)
Inevitably, over the course of one's professional career, one often experiences an urge to pursue new challenges, broaden the ol' skillset, and sharpen the ol' saw. So, after settling into and thriving in my administrative role at the ODU ELC, I took advantage of opportunities to continue my education by earning graduate certificates in budgeting and finance as well as data analytics.
Then, I thought, I've done a lot, but how can I tie all of this together? My language skills, my desire to help the people (cliche, I know...), my administrative strengths, and my goal of broadening my impact as a professional and advocate in the community... I saw a growing need in the community for services and advocacy, and as a natural problem-solver, I wanted to meet that need.
So, in October 2019, Sol Linguistica LLC was born after many years of slow gestation and then a seemingly sudden, quick labor.
I am so excited to be offering translation and interpretation services along with a wide range of other language-related services for individuals with limited English proficiency (and even for some native English speakers!) such as editing, subtitling, creating marketing materials, and more.
If you have gotten this far (sorry... this kind of turned into a life story), then I have to take moment to say that I really appreciate your time and attention.
Of course, this was just an "intro" post, but my goal is to write weekly - I would like this blog to serve as a medium to share information, resources, announcements. I would also love to create a community.
So, please feel free to share, help me spread the word, and let me know how I might be able to serve you through Sol Linguistica.
Thank you, and again, WELCOME!