IMA Translations


Creative translations

Spanish & German to English

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Isabel Marie Adey MSc MCIL


IMA Translations is Isabel Marie Adey (me).

A lover of words and ideas in transit. A creative, quality-obsessed translator of commercial, academic and literary texts from Spanish and German into English.

Translation comes in many guises, each one an art form in its own right. The key to a good translation is in recognising the tone (or 'voice') of the original, knowing the audience and the purpose of the translation, and then bringing the original text to life in its new tongue. I've spent a huge part of my life learning and reading German and Spanish, taking the time to familiarise myself with the countries, cultures and traditions in which variations of these languages are spoken. So not only do I read the words on the page, but I also have the tools required to understand the context in which they are written.



I developed a keen interest in Spanish and German language and culture from an early age. Perhaps my passion for languages was ignited by the books I first came across in translation. Studying literature in one language wasn't enough for me, so I decided to move to Scotland to read German and Spanish at the University of Edinburgh. 

After gaining an MA in Modern European Languages, a CertTESOL and an MSc in Translation, I set about building my own freelance translation business in 2011. My mission: to use my skills to help authors, academics and businesses reach and resonate with an English-speaking audience.

Since the early days of my business, I've produced translations for lots of high-end clients across all kinds of sectors, developing specialised knowledge in the fields of marketing, sustainability, design, fashion and food. If you want to find out more about some of my past commercial projects and clients, just drop me an email and I'll be happy to tell you more!


  • MSc Translation & Translation Technology, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh (2010-2011)

  • CertTESOL (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Trinity College (2010)

  • MA (Hons) Modern European Languages (German & Spanish), University of Edinburgh (2005-2009): first class with distinction in spoken Spanish

  • German Studies, Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg (2008)

  • Hispanic Studies, Universidad de Salamanca (2009)

  • A Levels in Spanish, German, English Literature & Psychology (AAAA)



There are many different sides to my work. Commercial translation, creative writing, literary translation, using translation tools and teaching other people.

Read on to find out more...



As an avid reader and lover of modern fiction, I love discovering new books in foreign languages and seeing them come to life in English. I have translated various samples of literary fiction, both individually and as part of group workshops. Take a look at the snippets below if you fancy a sneak peek at some of my work:

Mario Levrero 'The Place' 

Susanne School 'Emma's Silence'

Eugenio Rico 'Kangaroo's Kiss'

I specialised in Latin American Women's Writing at university, focusing on writers such as Rosario Castellanos, Luisa Valenzuela, Cristina Peri Rossi, Gabriela Mistral, Silvina and Victoria Ocampo. I wrote my Master's dissertation on Juan José Millás and his genre-defying Articuentos. I also specialised in Jewish-German literature, studying authors such as Franz Kafka, Rafael Seligmann and Peter Weiss in the context of Jewish-German history. I honed in on Herta Müller's writing for another of my academic projects for my MSc at Heriot-Watt University. I also love the work of Julio Cortázar,  Jorge Luis Borges, Ernesto Sabato, Gabriel García-Márquez, Mario Levrero, Yuri Herrera, Juan Pablo Villalobos, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, Hans Fallada, Bernhard Schlink and so many others. 


The thing I love about nonfiction and academic writing is how much it teaches me. I get the chance to do lots of fascinating research and pass this knowledge onto other English speakers through my translations. Travel writing, nature, music, the social sciences and current affairs are areas of particular interest to me. Below are just a few examples of the kinds of nonfiction and academic work I have translated for my clients in the past:

Travel Episodes - A Well for Uganda

Philosophy article by Prof. M. Hampe (pp .179 - 202)

Balzac and human gait analysis


I translate a lot of texts for major commercial clients. Press releases, website content, in-house magazines, B2B communications and general marketing. When dealing with clients in the world of business, it's important to ensure terminology and style remain consistent. One way to do this is by using translation technology (also known as 'computer-assisted translation', or CAT tools).

This technology can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be very helpful, but it needs to be handled with caution. I use SDL Trados Studio 2017 and memoQ Pro to help me write drafts of certain types of texts or handle larger projects. These tools contain translation memories that help me incorporate past translations, ensure consistency and adhere to any predefined terminology. They can also help me to spot any inaccuracies or omissions that might otherwise run the risk of slipping by unnoticed in Word. I tend to stay away from CAT tools for more creative work as they can occasionally disrupt the flow and natural feel of the English translation. 



I joined the Chartered Institute of Linguists as a fully accredited member (MCIL) in 2014 after successfully completing the rigorous application and assessment process. I am committed to observing and upholding the organisation's professional Code of Conduct (here).

I am a member of the Emerging Translator's Network (here), which helps me stay on top of the latest developments and opportunities in the world of literature and translation. It also means that I am connected to a huge network of fellow translators and writers working in all sorts of language combinations, which never fails to come in handy when clients are looking for recommendations.



I am determined to keep growing as a translator. And of course, by that I mean as a writer. To keep stretching myself creatively and professionally, I make a priority of developing and honing my creative writing and translation skills in the company of other experienced translators. Here are some examples of professional training and workshops I have attended over the past few years:

  • Goethe-Institut Emerging Translators' Programme (2014): as one of the six winners of this German to English competition, I was commissioned to write a sample translation for the magazine and invited to attend a workshop with Shaun Whiteside at the Goethe-Institut in London.
  • BCLT International Literary Translation & Creative Writing Summer School at UEA (2017): Spanish to English workshop with literary translator Anne McLean and author Vera Giaconi.
  • Arvon Foundation Literary Translation Retreat 2016: an intensive week of translation workshops and feedback sessions at the Ted Hughes Centre at Lumb Bank in Yorkshire under the expert guidance of Maureen Freely and Daniel Hahn.
  • Translators' Stammtisch: a monthly event at the Goethe-Institut in Glasgow, where translators based in Scotland come together to give each other feedback and discuss current projects and strategies.
  • BCLT International Literary Translation & Creative Writing Summer School at UEA (2016): German to English workshop with literary translator Katy Derbyshire and author Rasha Khayat


If you have a project or a proposal you would like to discuss, just drop me an email, tweet me or use the contact form provided below. I will be more than happy to discuss rates, deadlines and the finer details of your query. Longer sample translations are also available on request.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


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