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Today’s speaker was Ida Alvarez. Ida has a Master’s Degree in Legal Translations from the University of El Salvador, Argentina. She has been married for 36 years. She has no kids, but she has amazing nephews and nieces, and two beautiful cats.

Ida has been involved in the business of translation for more than 40 years, when she started translating after graduating from High School. For the past 20 years, she’s been running her own translation agency providing services to small, medium and large corporations.

She is also passionate about interpretation and has traveled extensively as a Conference Interpreter, meeting heads of state, politicians, business people and professionals from all walks of life.

This time of year, everyone is preparing holiday cards to be mailed and exchanged around the world. And as the nature of business becomes more global, more often than not we are expected to offer holiday cheer in many different languages.

Local holiday greetings vary from country to country. Christmas is a popular Christian religious holiday, as well as a secular holiday, which is celebrated by people all over the world. Holiday traditions are as varied as the people who celebrate them, and they are constantly evolving. Here are some of the ways that Christmas is observed in other countries.

• United Kingdom: Many of the images we have in the United States of a “traditional” Christmas come from the United Kingdom. The holiday is celebrated with Christmas cards, caroling and a holiday feast, with Christmas pudding for dessert.
• Australia is in the southern hemisphere, this means that Christmas happens in the middle of summer. Australians have many of the same Christmas traditions as we do in the United States, such as Christmas trees, carols and Christmas dinner; however, they are likely to spend Christmas at an outdoor party in shorts and T-shirts or even at the beach, rather than wearing sweaters in front of a roaring fire.
• China: Christians in China celebrate Christmas by decorating their homes with colorful paper lanterns, as well as a Tree of Light. Chinese children also hang stockings by the fireplace, in hopes that Dun Che Rau Len, or “Christmas Old Man,” will come and bring them gifts. Because only about one percent of China’s population is Christian, Christmas isn’t nearly as widely celebrated in China as it is in the United States.
• Mexico: In Mexico, Christmas is a religious holiday celebrated by most of the country. Every home has a Nativity scene, and one of the big events of the holiday is the posadas, reenactments of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
• Sweden: In Sweden, Christmas begins on December 13, with the St. Lucia ceremony. On St. Lucia Day, the youngest daughter in the family dons a white robe with a wreath of evergreens and candles upon her head. Accompanied by her siblings, she serves her parents Lucia buns and coffee in bed. On Christmas morning, many church services are lit entirely with candlelight, and children receive small gifts.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

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