can't help but smile when I think of what Rosa's birth must have been like in Barcelona sixty-one years ago. I'm quite certain that the ground must have shaken and spawned a tsunami, for Rosa always thundered through life.
She attended the Institut Montserrat and obtained her BA in history and literature from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. She enrolled in the Broadcasting School of Barcelona and got a degree in scriptwriting. Always looking at doing things better, sooner, and faster than anyone else, she got a diploma in English proficiency, and, pretty much on a lark, convinced her cousin Angel to hop with her on a plane bound for New York, New York!
Twenty-seven year-old María Rosa, as her family called her, immediately fell in love with the city because it was just like her, a marvelous riot. She also met a madrileño who could cook some mean tortillas de patatas. Rosa decided to make the city her home and him her man. Free spirit that she was, she packed her bags and moved to the Big Apple permanently in 1974 and got odd jobs teaching Spanish, one of the many things she enjoyed doing and which she kept on doing for the rest of her life. But that was not enough for her.
Rosa understood not only words, but numbers too. Since she had a good head for finance, she enrolled in New York University and got one more degree in International Business Management. By then, however, computers were hitting the scene and María Rosa Codina Pujol was not going to be left behind. She could have just done what most of us did, and that was to learn to use them as glorified typewriters. Not Rosa. She needed to find out how to talk to the darned things so they would do what she told them to do. So she got yet another degree from NYU, this time in computer programming with a specialty in languages. She did all of this while holding a full time job at the United Nations as Finance Assistant (1974-1981) and working as New York correspondent for Diari de Barcelona, Radio Barcelona and Com Radio. Oh, and I almost forgot, she was also doing freelance journalism for the Associated Press and serving as Editor for The World of Jazz magazine of the UN Jazz Society. Of course, her studies paid off, because by 1982 she was working at the UN as a computer programmer. Rosa did not have an off button.
In 1990 she left the UN, kept on freelancing in journalism and started a career in translation and interpreting. In addition to English and Spanish, Rosa was fluent in Catalan and French. She obtained her certification in translation for English into Spanish from ATA and was also a certified court interpreter for the Unified Court System in New York State. As a translator, she specialized in international affairs, finance, data processing, news media, criminal justice, and health care. Rosa also authored ÉXITO Student Manual, a user's manual for a multimedia Spanish course for U.S. government employees, and was a writer and member of the Editorial Committee for Leticia Molinero's Apuntes (SpanSig).
In 1998, we invited her to apply for a position as a grader in the ATA certification program from English into Spanish. With her formidable knowledge of grammar, style, and syntax, Rosa was a tremendous asset to the group until the day she died. At the time of her death, she was Senior Translator, Director of Training and Testing for Metropolitan Interpreters & Translators in New York and Los Angeles.
For my ultimum vale, querida Ro, I want you to know that I shall always treasure that view of the East River from the restaurant at the UN where you often spoiled me. With your passing, New York, for me, has changed forever. I will miss you every time I walk its streets. And yes, Ro, I'm still using the tattered Lázaro Carreter books you lent me for my work. Yes, yes, you don't have to tell me again. I'll mind the plastic covers and replace the scotch tape when it browns yet again; I will. Now you go get some rest, girl. Go.