Our Team

ZIYUN XU

PhD in Interpreting Studies,
Assistant Professor of Chinese Interpreting and Translation Studies

Dr. Ziyun Xu obtained a BA in English Language and Literature at the Shanghai International Studies University, an MA in Conference Interpreting at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and a PhD cum laude in Translation and Intercultural Studies at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Spain).

He is a certified court interpreter for New York’s United Court System, and has provided extensive interpreting services for both Berkeley Law School and premier American law firms such as K&L Gates and Finnegan.

Dr. Xu serves as an expert reviewer for Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, one of the premier journals in the field. Dr. Xu has trained in interpreting in the US, Europe and China, and has more than 1,000 days of conference and legal interpreting experience to his credit. He has worked for high-profile figures in the spheres of politics, business and academia, including three Nobel Prize laureates, US Secretaries of State, Bill Gates and Tim Cook.

He has also worked for leading international conferences and other prestigious bodies, including the White House, the US Congress, and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley and Cornell Business Schools. Recordings of his simultaneous interpreting performances have been reviewed and published by the US National Academy of Sciences.

Before joining the faculty of Wake Forest University he worked as Chief Interpreter and Director of the Translation and Research Department at the US-China Exchange Council, based in the world’s beating heart of digital innovation, Silicon Valley, a role in which he interpreted for Chinese and American political leaders, business people and academics, as well as supervising and training an assorted roster of interpreters and translators, and helping to develop executive training programs in collaboration with Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.

In his own words he greets each day “with boundless optimism and excitement about new challenges and opportunities on the horizon” … but is pleased that he no longer has to do so at 4:30 a.m. to beat the dreaded traffic in the San Francisco Bay area.

Benjamin Nathan-Serio

An American professional actor who lives in Spain.

It’s a little-known fact that a lot of ancient Western civilizations thought of acting as part of rhetoric—the art of discourse. It’s pure coincidence that the Spanish word for acting is interpretación, whose common roots with the English interpreting are plain for all to see. The resemblance doesn’t end there: both professions involve conveying someone’s meaning and essence in a way that’s immediate, faithful and convincing.

Throughout his career Ben’s been closely connected with the communicative arts.

His first job came as a boy of 13 when he appeared in a murder mystery play at Beardslee Castle in the Catskill mountains of New York. After getting his bachelor’s degree in Theater with a focus on audiovisual communication he worked with some of New York’s disadvantaged young people introducing social emotional awareness through drama therapy.

In 2006 Ben made a massive life and career change by moving from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the more relaxed Spain—he finds the atmosphere there (first in Barcelona, more recently in Madrid) far more inspiring. In this new and very different environment Ben’s acting career took off. He quickly adapted to the Spanish acting market, and became a fluent speaker of both Spanish and Catalan. As a result he was able to break into Europe’s voice-over community, as well as the worlds of commercials, movies and television.

Ben has exploited his skills as a communicator in work all over Europe and America. He’s been involved with such well-known organizations as the BBC, Lenovo, Disney, Volkswagen, Heineken and Coca-Cola as well as HP, Santander, and Iberian Airlines where he helped with coaching in PR skills and team-building. He founded two of Spain’s leading English-language Improvised Theater Troupes (BIG and MAD Improv in Barcelona and Madrid respectively) where he keeps his creative communication skills razor-sharp, rehearsing and performing with both groups regularly. Ben believes that improvisation (or ‘improv’ as it’s known by actors), apart from providing him with a rewarding career, is useful in people’s everyday lives: it promotes a positive outlook on life, boosts confidence, makes attaining goals easier, and actually strengthens one’s sense of identity.

The key skills of improvisation lie at the heart of all communication: for us to spontaneously and efficiently exchange ideas and information with others we have to empathize with them, get under their skins, understand what they represent and—literally and figuratively—know where they’re coming from.

Francoise Greenacre

A trained actress, and co-founder of ProjectB Theatre Company in Barcelona

Born and raised in South Africa- and forever more African at heart- Françoise moved with her family to Barcelona, Spain, at age 15. During her childhood they had travelled and lived in several countries including 6 months in the U.S.(New Jersey), 3 months in Norway (Tromso) and a year in France (Nice). Consequently, she now speaks 5 languages: English, Spanish and Catalan used daily, and French and Afrikaans when the occasion arises. Françoise has a BA Degree in Audiovisual Communication, and has employed this knowledge in the industry in Barcelona. Her work in production companies included running and promoting a motion graphics design lab, brainstorming ideas for audiovisual productions, and two fabulous trips to Cannes’ MipTV and MipCOM markets to sell TV programmes to broadcasters from around the world. On a private client basis, she has edited a variety of videos and compiled DVDs, from conferences to theatre plays and birthday compilations.

In recent years she has given guided visits to various cultural exhibitions in the high-end gallery of the Roca bathroom brand. On a freelance basis, she has supported several of the company’s directors in the design and creation of their Power Point presentations, as well as coached them in the delivery of such presentations in English.

Performing. It has always been present in Françoise’s life. She is a trained actress, and co-founder of ProjectB Theatre Company in Barcelona (www.projectbtheatre.com). She has co-hosted and produced 13 episodes of a TV programme for a local station. Also known as Frankie, or Miss Looks, she has an ongoing personal project in which she proves how one can be transformed into an endless array of characters (www.misslooks.com). As far as her commercial acting work goes, she has shot cool ads for Nestlé Chocolates and Coca-Cola. She has worked as a presenter on stage at a prize giving gala (Premis Laus 2014) and as an MC at a prestigious wedding. She has even choreographed a large flash mob!

Françoise’s communication skills reach beyond the human race, to that of the animal kingdom. She has a special love for animals, and has cared for many. She has ridden horses since age 9, and has participated in International Endurance Championships.

Getting out in nature as often as possible is thus top of her list. She enjoys dancing very much (has performed hiphop and cabaret styles) and loves laughing… laughing a lot! She is a healthy and fond yogui and intends to extend into acroyoga and include more meditational and wellbeing practices in her everyday life.

LOUIS HEARN

Photographer, videographer

Louis studied French Literature at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, as well as L’Université de Franche-Comté in Besançon, France. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from MTSU, with a major in French and minors in English Literature and Music Performance.

He went to live in Berlin, Germany, and began teaching English in several schools as well as in companies such as Daimler-Chrysler.

As a side project, he began working on films with students of the film school Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin. Through the experience of making films, he discovered a love for still photography.

After moving to Barcelona, Spain, he began working as an English teacher specializing in preparation courses for official Cambridge ESOL exams.
He also began teaching digital photography, Photoshop, and audiovisual production at various design schools in Barcelona as well as contributing regularly as a journalist and photographer to the weekly English newspaper Catalonia Today.

He became a writer on the English grammar textbook team for the publisher Digital-Text, which creates interactive textbooks for schools. Additionally, he translated video scripts and did the voice-over narrator for many of the educational videos included in the digital textbooks.

In 2011 and 2012 he organized the English-language short film festival Weekend Movie Makers in Barcelona.

From 2011 to 2015 he edited the monthly photography magazine Weekend Artists.

In 2015 he moved to Madrid, Spain, where he currently works as a photographer and videographer. As a hobby, he writes for and acts in sketch comedy for the theater.