How to get to Gandia or any village in Valencia province by train

Travelling in Spain can be complex. As the summer is here I will take advantage of the Spanish culture section of this blog to help you all to get to Gandia from Madrid using a train.

Madrid has two main train stations: Chamartín and Atocha

First you need to know is that there are two main trains stations in Madrid. Chamartin is used to go north and Atocha to go south. To go to Valencia you need to go to Atocha.

If you arrive in one of the stations and you need to go to the other one, to take another train, you don’t need to use the underground. You can go from Chamartín to Atocha or viceversa using Cercanías.

So, if you arrive at Madrid by train, and need to go to the other train station check if your ticket has this code.

how to get to Gandia from Madrid
It is possible to change from Chamartin to Atocha or viceversa for free if your ticket has this code in the red circle

If you have the code you don’t need to pay the Cercanias ticket. You have to go to the machine where you usually buy the tickets, choose your destination (Atocha or Chamartín) and scan the QR in it. Doing so, it will give you the ticket for free.

Atocha – Valencia – Gandia

In July and August there are some trains that go from Atocha to Gandia. This is easy and do not need more explanations. But, it is possible that you can’t use one of these trains because of your schedule. If so, you need to go to Valencia.

In Valencia you will arrive at Joaquín Sorolla station and there is not any train from this station to the villages. So again you need to

Go from Joaquín Sorolla station to Valencia Nord station

It is very easy. You don’t need a taxi. When you arrive at Valencia, walk to the street and look at your right. There is a bus stop that is not looking to the road, but to a kind of intern path with a small roundabout. It is easy to find because many people with bags is going there, so you just need to follow the crowd.

This bus is free, you do not need to show any tickets, and it will take you to Valencia Nord.

From Valencia Nord to your destine

Now, you are in Valencia Nord. You will need to buy a Cercanías ticket. This time you have to pay for it. If your destine is Gandia, there are trains every 30 minutes.

This is the best way to move between the stations without spending a lot of money in taxis. Feel free to ask if you have any doubt.

4 reasons to start a freelance career

Compared to regular jobs, freelancing is a bit different. Everything that happens, or might happen, depends on the freelancer himself. If he does not market himself for possible clients, he does not work. If he does not work, then he does not earn as well. This fact happens especially to people who are new to this industry. However, despite of these problems, and challenges, there are still many reasons why you will love to be a freelancer.

  1. Freelancing gives you choice to choose your desired job. You will be the one to look for a job. Hence, you are the only who will dictate what job will you take. You choose want you want to do and reject which work does not suit or ring a bell for you.
  2. Freelancing gives you more personal time and space. This is only possible to people who manage their time well. Also, the freelancer chooses time when and where to work. He can work in a coffee shop. He can work after ten o’clock in the evening. This type of work gives more personal options to everyone involved here.
  3. Freelancing gives you less stress-free working environment. Since you handle your own job, you are the captain of the ship. After deciding what, when, and where to work, it is the time to deal with how will you work on something. Jobs may give less stress to freelancers if these people only know how to manage everything perfectly.
  4. Freelancing opens more opportunities. Being unattached to specific companies provides a freelancer a chance to explore more opportunity. Exclusivity is not a problem because in freelancing, every job offer is acceptable if desirable. There is no limit in accepting jobs.

However, freelancing is not the heaven. Sleepless nights, deadlines, clients’ demands—these are the top struggles encountered by every freelancer. While some people think that freelancing demands less time, freelancers dedicate more time in their home-based job. It is their sole responsibility to finish all the projects that they have collected. Then, upon submitting the projects, they need to look for another project to be done.

But then, every freelancer should remember that freelancing does not stop by these problems. A dedicated, disciplined, and committed person knows how to manage things effectively. These make things very desirable for everyone. Hence, these reasons will surely encourage any person to try the world full of challenge and that is freelancing.

Where can I learn good Spanish?

Many students of Spanish as a foreign language come to Spain to study and hone their skills. But what are the best locations in which to study Spanish?

best places to learn Spanish
Granada flickr photo shared by Ronny Siegel under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Many people choose Granada to learn Spanish, which for a native Spanish speaker is weird. The University of Granada is very good and famous because of its quality. Also, Granada has some good academies to study Spanish. However, we can’t say that Granada is a good place to learn Spanish, because the goal of going abroad to study is to interact with people. And, I am afraid people from Granada don’t have a good accent to learn.

People from all the cities in Andalucía have a strong regional accent and a Spanish language student can end up learning the incorrect spelling of many words.

The best region to learn Spanish is Catilla y León. The problem here is that it doesn’t have a beach, the weather is not so good and the recreational activities are not as numerous as in Valencia, Cataluña or Andalucía.

On the other hand, the accent is neutral and people usually speak a high quality of Spanish. You can choose between small cities as Zamora, Soria, Palencia, Ávila or Segovia or average size ones such as Valladolid, Burgos and León. If having a lot of young people studying is a contributing factor, then the best option may be Salamanca.

Best places to learn Spanish are in Castilla y León
Segovia. DSC_4676flickr photo shared by serialc under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

All these cities have a great history and a lot of culture to share with you. If you are looking for holidays, just go to somewhere close to the sea. If you are looking for a high quality of Spanish, Castilla y León is my recommendation.

Of course this is just my opinion. Feel free to share your favorite places to learn Spanish in the comments.

 

Is it worth to take a small job when working at home?

Applying for small jobs, is it worth?
Scrabble Position by Flazingo Photos

When you are starting a work at home career it is very likely that you have to try freelance platforms such as Upwork or Elance, which soon will become Upwork too. In these platforms it is common that you have a fixed amount of points per month, and you need to spend the points when you want to apply for a job.

If you apply too much, you can buy extra points with a premium account and the platform has a little extra revenue. These points make applying for small jobs more expensive because you are spending points that maybe you will need in the future to apply for other bigger job.

What a freelance should take into consideration when applying for a job

First, you should look at your client credibility. Will they pay? This is an important question and the answer is not always yes. In freelance platforms this is easy to know. Do they have a profile with good reviews? Then, they pay. Are they new and haven’t the payment method verified? You are in risk. But, all the clients were new one times, so, sometimes you need to just trust in them.

Second thing to think about is whether the effort/time to write your application is worth for the job. If you are applying for a 10 euros task, you can’t put more than 5 minutes in the applying because there are chances that they choose another freelancer. Actually, even if they hire you, you need to write the application, get information about the job and then do the tasks. All these things take time. And, this is not all, likely when you finish the job you will have to record your income and generate an invoice for your taxes (more time!). So in the end, how much time do you spend for this 10 euros? I guess too much if you want to survive. Remember that a day has 24 hours, and you spend about 8 sleeping. So it leaves 16 hours to work, eat and exchange some words with other human beings.

However, sometimes it can be worth to apply or this jobs

But, life is hard and work at home is not easy. So maybe you might try to take one of these small jobs. Let’s see why.

One of the most important things to be hired is your own credibility. If you do a small job, and you give a nice value for your price, it is likely that the client will ask you first the next time he will need something done. And, it can become a regular project!

So, sometimes you get a high value to do a first job that at a first glance seemed a waste of time.

I would suggest freelancers that work from home applying to small jobs when:

1. Client has credibility. It can be due to he has a good profile in a freelance platform or because you know them or at least their website seems that he is serious.

2. The job description is clear and comprehensive. So you know what you will have to do, and you can be sure that it won’t be the typical “I need someone to rule the world by 3 euros per hour and also needs to speak ancient Greek”.

3. You see that the client usually posts small jobs so there is a chance for they deciding to keep you as the one to do it each time they need something to be done.

5 Healthy Habits to Develop if you Work from Home

Many people would argue that working from home is ideal in every way because it is convenient and comfortable. Although there are notable benefits to getting your job done within your own four walls, working from home can also lead to the development of poor habits. In order to assure that you can get the most out of your stay-at-home-job, here are 5 healthy habits you should try to develop:

            1) Stay active

It can be easy to fall into the negative habit of not getting enough exercise when you do not have to leave the house to get to work. For your overall health, it is important to make sure you move around throughout the day. Try taking a short walk around the neighborhood every few hours or shooting a few baskets to break up the monotony of the day. Exercise is great for rejuvenating your mind and helps your body to feel more energized.

            2) Make a space for yourself

When you work from home, it can be difficult to separate work time from personal time. One way to combat this issue is to establish an environment within your home that is dedicated to work. If you create a separate space for yourself, it will likely be easier for you to adjust your mindset in order to be able to differentiate between work and play.

            3) Be presentable

As tempting as it may be to stay in your pajamas all day, getting showered, dressed, and ready to take on the world will make you feel more awake and more engaged during your workday. If you feel confident and fresh, you are more likely to perform at a higher level.

            4) Maintain social contacts

Working from home can be very isolating because it often prevents the type of face-to-face water cooler talk that many experience at work daily. Therefore, it is important to intentionally interact with others throughout the day in order to meet your social needs; however, be cautioned—too much social interaction that is not related to work may become distracting. Be sure to limit your conversations that are not related to work so that you will not fall behind.

            5) Set limits

For those of you who tend to be perfectionistic in nature, it can be difficult to ‘leave your work at work.’ Working from home can make it challenging to draw the line between working time and taking time to relax. One important habit to set is to give yourself a cutoff time for work and sticking to it. Everyone needs rejuvenation in order to be their best the next day.

Working from home can be an excellent experience; it saves time that many people waste each day with long commutes and offers a level of convenience that most people do not get to enjoy. On the other hand, working from home takes a lot of self-discipline and drive. Establishing these five healthy habits can help you to have a positive, productive at-home work experience.

When a Client Claims Without Reason

Nobody is perfect and I would be stupid pretending that I am the first one. However, I am sure about something, I do my best on my work and I am open to client suggestions.

But, sometimes problems just happen. Time ago I was hired to do an English to Spanish translation. The client wanted a text friendly for reader and not a direct translation. I agree with this vision because the goal of a translation is to engage the speakers of the target language, instead of keeping the most deep nuances of the text. Of course if someone asks me to keep the nuances above the engaging characteristic I will do so. But, this wasn’t the case.

When I sent my work to the client he told me that he found some mistakes. I apologized and asked him to point out such mistakes. I was surprised because it was a big project and I proofreaded the text more than one time, but of course, it would be possible that I have missed something.

When I get the “mistakes” he had marked things like:

I have translated Localization by Localización and he told that I should write Dónde estamos.

Well, I can’t say that Donde estamos is wrong, but it is much more informal than Localización. The truth is you can use both, but when you are giving your business data I thought it was better to be little more formal. I told that to the client and showed him several Spanish pages that have used Localización. For example, this one from University of Madrid or this one related with animal industry.

At least this “mistake” is understandable because though it is not a mistake, he could think that I wasn’t adapting my speech to his business needs. I still think that for business data, it is better to be little more formal, but life is done by different tastes.

The other big mistake was that I wrote “perfecto estado” instead of “estado perfecto”. This time I can’t accept that it is a mistake. When you are talking about products that arrive in a good shape, you need to write perfecto estado,  this is obvious for every native Spanish speaker. But, sadly my client wasn’t a native speaker.

I showed him that if you enter in Google, “estado perfecto” (with quotation marks”) you will get results about philosophy talking about how a State should be to be perfect. On the other hand, if you enter “perfecto estado” you got results about products in good shape. Not saying that my option had like 20 million of results and him less than 1 million.

But he wasn’t happy so we decide to end the contract. If he doesn’t trust in me, it wouldn’t make any sense to continue and we both agree with that.

How to manage this?

What I did was, return his money. Show him that all the mistakes weren’t real mistakes and finish the contract.

It is doubtful wether I should return the money, but as we were starting  the amount was small. This is a good reason to always do a little milestone before talking a big project when you get hired by a new client. If the first milestone doesn’t work as it should, you can finish the relationship and any of you lose much time and money.

Conclusion

I think the situation wasn’t fair with me. I am sure that if I were proofreaded by a native speaker, no matter from which country, I wouldn’t have any problems, but the point here is that I was proofreaded by a non native speaker, so everything that doesn’t sound as he would write it, was a mistake for him.

Now, I beg to be proofreaded by a native Spanish speaker. First because they suggestions are good and improve the text, second because they usually understand that a different way to say thins can be a correct way too. Spanish is very rich, and you can say things in a lot of ways.

Have you ever experienced a similar situation?

*I do not translate from Spanish to English, because as I am sure you have noticed my English is not perfect. I only do English to Spanish translations because in Spanish I can deliver high quality texts. Whe I have to do Spanish to English translations I always hire someone to proofread it.

How to find the best freelance copywriter for your site

how to find the perfect worker
Shattuck_49641-final, ANIC32-053386, Notoncus hickmani, near Bungendore, NSW” flickr photo shared by SouthernAnts under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Are you looking for someone that generates the content of your website in the long-term?

When a company is about to hire someone, it likely develops a long hiring process. However, when choosing a freelance some people just pick one that seems OK. Why choose one that is OK, when you can choose one that is perfect?

Ok, perfection maybe doesn’t exist, but you can try to go close to it.

The truth is that you won’t know if someone is accurate for your needs until you hire him or her. Let’s see some tips to improve your chances to select the best one.

How to find the best freelancer

1. Take your time when writing the job description.

Most of freelancers that fail giving an accurate work claims that they didn’t know what the client wanted until they deliver the job done and they saw his claims.

Think about everything you will need done. Be realistic and decide if there are chances to find someone with all these skills. Maybe you should hire more than one person to do the job in small pieces for different areas of expertise or maybe you just need to assume that you need a superhero and your budget is not enough.  But is a really good thing if you are aware of that, even if you can’t afford it because it will give you a better idea about what you can get.

Important things you have to take into consideration:

  • Skillset needed
  • Volume of work
  • Job particularities
  • Deadlines

If you take some minutes to write a good job description you will get more suitable applications and a better idea of your real needs.

2. Ask to see a portfolio

It is a good idea ask for some examples for freelancers, but take into consideration that each client is different, so maybe they don’t have something really accurate for your needs. If that is the case, you should ask them for a test because in the end each job and client is different.

When looking a portfolio, you should look at how the copywriter has adapted his work to the job needs, not how similar this job is to what you need. Someone that knows how to adapt the work is better than someone that only knows do one thing.

3. Ask for a test

The easiest is to ask for a free small test. However, my recommendation is trying to agree for a paid test for a lower price. Of course, this is only applicable to long term jobs. But, if you want to hire someone for the coming months, can’t you pay for 5 or 10 examples of different freelancers?

A paid test is more real, and let your freelancer know that you are taking this job serious. In the end, most of freelancers work for money, and they do their best for something that will let them pay their bills.

4. Try to get some opinions about the freelancer

This is easier now that many freelance work platforms exist, but if you are not in one of them, you can ask for recommendation letters or references.

5. Do not hire the first one that applies

When you publish a job offer, you will get applications very quick. Some of them will look great. But, wait for some days, and be patience. Maybe one the first application seems very good and reliable, and when you hire this person, you get another application for someone that seems equally reliable but also have more experience doing the tasks that you need done.

 

Navigating Different Spanish Accents

spanish copywriter for websites
Proclamation Ceremony flickr photo shared by cliff1066™ under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

When you are looking for a text in Spanish, you have to take into consideration the specific location of your target audience. But, if you find someone from a different country, whose work is great, you can take the decision to hire them, because in written Spanish, the truth is that all accents are 100% understable to all natives, not matter the origin of both writer and reader.

However, when you are thinking about to take Spanish classes, it could be idfferent. Depending on where you grew up and the individuals you were surrounded by as a young child, your accent will develop to fit the dialect of those around you. While each individual has a slightly different accent, there are certain language features used to categorize larger linguistic trends. These are usually regional. For instance, a child who grows up in England will likely have a different English accent when compared to a child who grows up in the United States. In most cases, people who speak different dialects of the same language are able to understand each other, though there may be confusion where there are differences in word choice.

Differences in dialect can become more challenging for individuals learning a second language. Depending on your interest and the location in which you are learning Spanish, you may notice differences between the Spanish you hear around you and the Spanish you have seen in certain movies or heard on the radio. It is important to be aware of the differences among the varieties of Spanish to ensure you are communicating in a way that is easy for others around you to understand.

One of the major divides in Spanish dialects is Latin American Spanish and Spaniard Spanish. Both are mutually comprehensible to native speakers, but it may be difficult for a non-native speaker to understand a Spanish dialect he or she is unfamiliar with. This can be particularly challenging when there are differences in pronunciation. For example, some dialects of Spanish will drop the ‘s’ in words like ‘está,’ while others overtly pronounce it. Additionally, there are differences in word choices, such as the use of ‘vosotros’ verb forms in Spain and the use of ‘nosotros’ verb forms in Latin America, which could be confusing to the Spanish language learner.

Similarly to the varieties of English within the United States, there are also varieties of Spanish within continental and regional divides. In Argentina, the ‘j’ is often pronounced like the ‘ch’ sound in English. This phenomenon is not found in most other Latin American Spanish dialects. Therefore, it is important to choose the regional dialect you are interested in acquiring as you begin your journey of learning Spanish. Once you become more proficient in the language, it will be easier for you to understand the dialects of different varieties of Spanish, similarly to how you can understand different accents in English.