I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. My Venezuelan mother (a Palacios) married a guy from Denmark (a Nielsen) who spoke Danish, English, Spanish, German, and enough French “to read a menu,” as he would often say. He instilled in me a love for languages, and a perfectionism that is both a blessing and a curse.
Since my early teens, I have been bilingual. In high school, I always got top grades in English (as a foreign language), and my parents always had Newsweek, Time and Reader’s Digest at home. I read them all. After I finished high school in Caracas, my father sent me to the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey to do 12th grade again, with the hope that I would go to college in the U.S. I remember the day I realized I had been dreaming in English, and thinking I was finally fluent. While I had already been able to read and write almost anything in English, it took that year in New Jersey to allow me to understand full-speed spoken English, and to make myself understood verbally.
After Lawrenceville, I decided to return home and started studying architecture at Universidad Simón Bolívar, where I took more English, including “English for Architecture.” I also took electives in French and German, and spent an entire summer traveling by myself in Germany. I even tried Japanese for a while.
Once I graduated from architecture school, I spent three years practicing professionally, part-time in my own firm with five architect friends, and part-time for a builder, actually making money. We did a variety of projects, mostly housing, entered and won design competitions, and had a lot of fun.
I then decided to pursue graduate studies, which brought me to Cornell University (and Ithaca, New York). I pursued a graduate degree in Architectural History, took additional classes in German, Italian and Danish, and got to defend my thesis. Soon after, I had a full-time job, learning how to be an architect “the American way.”
I have worked for three medium-to-large architectural firms, designing many kinds of projects, although the majority have been public schools. During most of that time, I earned a little extra money, evenings and weekends, doing translations, and proofreading the work of other translators.
I now have my own business, combining the things I love: architecture and languages. I can, and will, offer traditional architectural services. I can also translate myriad different topics from English into Spanish, and several from Spanish into English. And I can catch a typo in any of those languages. The intersection of these three skills seems especially attractive to me, and I hope to become the “go-to” guy for U.S. architects and developers doing work in Spanish-speaking countries, and for architects and developers from those countries doing work here.
My résumé is available on the RESOURCES page.