Learn more about Sylvia Durán
When did you come to the realisation you wanted to learn languages and work with them?
My father was passionate about the United States: its music, customs and culture. As a huge music lover, he learnt English so that he could sing Frank Sinatra songs (his favourite singer) and even years later, he still speaks English with the characteristic American accent.
My mother, on the other hand, is a woman in love with life who has travelled across the five continents. Thanks to her constant drive to learn, investigate and assimilate different experiences she lived and studied in Switzerland when young.
It was from the relationship between these two people, both so unique, different and special, that I came to be. At that time, my parents lived in Los Angeles (California).
How did you come to learn the languages you speak?
Ever since I was born I have been in contact with languages, the Arts and communication. When my parents separated, my mother took my brother and me on a long trip around the world. At this time we travelled in an old van.
We came from Peru, where my parents lived, and our first stop was Europe. After travelling across Europe, we continued to Turkey, and from there we moved on to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, etc. even getting as far as the Chinese border. This trip lasted two years and changed my life. During that time neither my brother nor I went to school, we just taught ourselves. We never knew where we were going to sleep from one night to the next.
Depending on the country we were in, sometimes I had to speak in Spanish, English or French which developed my ability to communicate in different languages. I buried myself in my books and studied all I could during this long trip. It was my mother’s husband who made me fall in love with reading and adore knowledge. At night, when we reached a new place, I used to love listening to him as he read the countless stories and novels we carried around with us in the van. That was precisely what led to my great interest in different languages and cultures.
How did Sylex come to be?
After travelling for almost two years, we arrived in Paris. I was nine years old. My mother and her husband decided to settle down here. I went to a French school and started getting a feel for the French culture. I was excited to finally have a less nomadic way of life, and felt that I fitted in perfectly in that country, which I loved with all my heart, as it welcomed me, educated me and made me grow.
I spent my childhood and part of my teenage years in Paris. I lived for a short time in Lima (Peru) before returning to Paris to get my university degree. At the same time, I began working as a conference interpreter thanks to the help of my mentor, Sergio Díaz.
After a few years, for both personal and family reasons, I settled down in Madrid. At first I worked for a translation company, however, after a few years I decided to start freelancing. Initially, my plan was to carry out translations and interpretations combining the different languages I know. However, my clients gradually began requesting other languages. As I had been working for so many years in the world of translation, I had many resources and contacts available thanks to translator colleagues and friends. So, in 2003 Sylex Traductores e Intérpretes S.L., was set up with the aim of helping companies expand into a large variety of international markets.
Over time, some of the companies collaborating with Sylex Traductores e Intérpretes S.L. started enquiring about language lessons. Therefore, to make the most of that market niche, the training department was set up to provide Spanish, French and English language training through group, private, online lessons, etc. Thanks to the arrival of new technologies, we can reach the homes of many students around the world in need of French, English or Spanish lessons or, who are, alternatively, looking to refresh their knowledge to pass an official exam.
Finally, what is your personal mission? And Sylex’s?
Fourteen years have passed since Sylex Traductores e Intérpretes S.L. was created. The idea behind the company was to help clients with their international expansion by facilitating the communication between them and their partners. We wanted to be the connection point between different cultures and, thereby, form part of the age of globalisation which we were witnessing. As my company’s founder I have been able to share my knowledge of the languages I have learned and my passion for human communication.
During my time as a language professional, my natural curiosity has led me to study a variety of human development techniques, which I employ with my students. I am happy to say that they have proved to be quite successful. I have been blessed by having had excellent teachers throughout my life and they have inspired me to convey my love for languages and the corresponding culture to my students. Teaching is a calling for me. What we learn influences who we are and also contributes to the impact we create as we go through life. My personal contribution to the world is to help my students think for themselves and, in order to achieve this, education is paramount.