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Reporter discovers real Transylvania as she visits 'land of Dracula'

A former South Wales journalist who now lives in Hungary has put her newspaper skills to good use, translating a travel guide on Transylvania into English.

Sally Loosmore, originally from Bridgend, spent two years as a reporter on the Glamorgan Gem and is now working as a translator and interpreter in Hungary.

And after many months working on Transylvania: A Land Beyond Fiction and Myth, it has finally hit the bookshelves.

Sally, (35), said: “It was exhausting. When I translated the book I hadn’t yet been there and so I had to ask about everything and sat with the authors for quite some time.

“Afterwards I went on a research trip to double-check everything. It was a little bizarre because I’d read so much about it I almost didn’t believe it existed.

“The Dracula thing is kind of done for the tourists and doesn’t really belong in Transylvania, it’s more to do with the novel.

“This is fine, but some people are afraid that it takes attention away from the really spectacular things in Transylvania, and the authors of the book take that view.”

Sally left the Gem in 1996, and after completing a teaching course at Swansea University moved to Hungary where she spent four years teaching English.

She said: “The original idea was to go away for a year, but I ended up spending four years there because I liked it so much I didn’t want to leave.

“I then went to Germany, because I wanted to learn the language, and again thought I’d be there for a year or two but ended up spending almost five years there.”

Two years ago she moved back to Hungary to study translation and interpreting, and graduated from university a few weeks ago. Proofreading skills honed at the Gem also came in useful for her latest project.

She said: “The book was a huge project. When it started it was like something you think will take a little while – but you end up spending more time on it that you thought but you also end up enjoying it more than you thought.”

Now she is planning her next adventure, with a move to nearby Vienna.

Sally said: “I made the ‘mistake’ of falling in love while I was in Germany and he has moved to Vienna so now I have finished studying there are no more excuses!”

She has also not ruled out a return to Britain.

She said: “I hope there might be the opportunity in the future. It would be great to live in Britain for a while, perhaps in Wales or Bristol.

“I do miss it. When I worked for the Gem there was always the chance you would run into people you know and you don’t get that when you move around a lot, but it has its compensations.