Ergonomics in the professional translator’s workplace

Captura de Tela 2016-07-21 às 15.59.24

Source: FCOS Box

On July 12 and 13, I attended the Ergonomics and technologized knowledge work: cognitive effort, creativity, and health issues workshop held at FALE (Faculty of Languages), UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais), in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil. The workshop was organized by Prof. Fabio Alves (UFMG) and Prof. Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow (ZHAW), and supported by the Brazilian-Swiss Joint Research Programme (BSJRP) and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences.

Besides having personal intentions (I wanted to interview Maureen, Fabio and Adriana Pagano for the podcast – and I did!), I also represented Abrates at the event.

The workshop was fantastic because it fostered interaction among researchers and professionals in interdisciplinary areas, such as translation studies, applied linguistics, health, ergonomics and other technical fields. Only about 20 people attended the event, but it ended up being great for networking and exchange of ideas in a more intimate and personal level. I was the only professional translator; everybody else was a researcher and/or university professor.

Prof. Fabio Alves opened the event with some numbers regarding UFGM:

  • The university has about 3,000 undergraduate students and 600 graduate students.
  • It is the only Brazilian federal university with 2 Excellence-graded programs, both in Languages and Linguistics.

Everyone deserves a break!

Prof. Maureen then presented on “Ergonomics matters for translators and other knowledge workers.” And she started in great style by applying common knowledge and research into practice: she stopped for a 5-minute break every 20 minutes. In the first break, we stood up and  introduced ourselves to the people next to us. This was great to break the ice and already get to know some of the attendees. In the other breaks, we also had to stand up and did some quick and simple stretching exercises, following an occupational therapist from ZAHW. I loved the idea! The Swiss researcher and professor talked about the research she conducted with other colleagues recording translation processes of professional translators at LSPs, institutions and freelance environments. They analyzed not only their physical environment (chair, table, computer, etc.) but also their social situation (people, systems, etc.). Since competence in language technology, such as CATs and MT, is now a prerequisite for professional translation, our memory has been extended by the use of multiple applications and resources, and the disadvantage is that we can offload too much, affecting our emotional state and concentration.

from Greek: ergon = work, nomos = laws

Prof. Maureen’s main goal is to study the human side of usability, focusing on the user, rather than on machines or tools, or even productivity. Therefore, ergonomics, on her study, encompasses:

  • Physical: concerned with human anatomical, anthropometric, physiological and biomechanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity. Simply put, physical ergonomics involve equipment (desk, chair, keyboard, mice) and their design; use and distortion of hand/wrist when typing and handling the mouse; sitting for too long in one position, resulting in pain and muscle stiffness; context factors, such as noise levels, lighting, temperature. Consequence: negative impact on accuracy and translation quality. For example, did you know QWERTY (English) keyboards were arranged to prevent mechanical typewriters from jamming, not for ergonomic reasons?
  • Cognitive: concerned with mental processes (perception, memory, reasoning, motor response) as they affect interactions among humans and other elements of a system. Simply put, cognitive ergonomics involve human-computer interaction (HCI), computer responsiveness, digital resources, over-crowded screens, disturbances and interruptions, and time pressure. The consequence here is also the negative impact on accuracy, translation quality and productivity. As we, professional translators, are well aware of, even slight delays in computer responsiveness can negatively affect task perfomance and potentially contribute to stress.
  • Organizational: concerned with the optimization of sociotechnical systems, including their organizational structures, policies and processes. Simply put, organization ergonomics involve sociotechnical issues, teamwork and communication, self-concept and professional identity, and job satisfaction. Consequence: negative impact on company loyalty and organizational development.

In a nutshell, the translational action is a complex system and sociological event that involves various actors and factors where every small detail of the interaction matters. What we currently see are translators adapting to machines, instead of the contrary.

The brain is not only in the skull, it involves the entire body.

Prof. Fabio followed, and his talk was about LETRA (Laboratory for Experimentation in Translation at UFMG): “LETRA’s perspective on cognitive ergonomics and human-computer interaction.” His presentation was in Portuguese in order to provide the interpreter students in the booth (yes, there was an interpreting booth in the room!) a chance to practice Portuguese into English interpretation. According to UFMG’s Director of International Affairs, the lab carries out research on human-computer interaction related to processes involved in: post-editing tasks of MT output, development of interactive MT interfaces, and development of translation applications comprising a combination of speech recognition, MT output and HCI. The process maps the translation expertise, taps the translation process and models task execution. The methodological approach involves pre-task questionnaires, keylogging, eye tracking, direct observation, task recalling and text analysis. The results of the studies conducted at LETRA allow the design of interactive platforms and applications geared to improving/enhancing translators’ performance and interaction among users, and the development of training programs.

Prof. Adriana Pagano, coordinator of the area of Translation at UFMG, presented next on “Ergonomics and usability testing in the design of applications for chronic condition management and health promotion.” The goal of her study is to design an app to promote adherence of teenagers to treatment of diabetes and user empowerment, facilitating self-directed behavior change. The group comprising the study is called Empoder@ and aims at developing a conceptual and methodological prototype for the design of tools to assess educational interventions oriented towards self care and empowerment. Questions such as smartphone and internet use, app features and avatar were asked to teenagers in order to find out what they prefer. Note that the focus here as well is on the human being: developing an app adapted to the user, not the contrary.

Ursula Meidert, from ZAHW, followed with her presentation “Physical ergonomics at computer workplaces: Findings from ergonomic workplace assessments and interviews.” The study was conducted by an inter-professional project team: the Institute of Occupational Therapy and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. As Maureen also pointed out, not only physical work environment factors, but also context factors, such as ambient noise, lighting and temperature, can influence the performance of people who work at computers (translators included), and they can even represent risk factors for health problems. Typing and using input devices (touchpad, mice) involve the entire body, and constant repetition of certain movements can cause an overload of muscles.

Did you know women generally complain more about health than men?

Besides interviewing participants, the researchers also visited workplaces (freelancers’ offices, enterprises and institutions) and assessed their ergonomics, recorded screens and translators themselves while working. Problems were more often observed among freelancers and younger professionals, therefore, the researchers’ recommendation is that: basic ergonomic knowledge be integrated into BA and MA programmes, ergonomic training be provided to practitioners and information about ergonomics be disseminated through professional associations. They also recommend an individual workplace consultation by an occupational therapist before any health problems emerge.

The last activity on the first day was a workshop, “Cognitive and Physical Ergonomics of Translation: What can we do to make a computer workplace more ergonomic?”, presented by the occupational therapist Michèle Gasser (also from ZHAW) and Ursula Meidert. Michèle started by saying that the worst problem of professional translators is the one-sided strain: sitting in the same position for a long time. The physical load on the body throughout the day remains the same, causing problems, especially when the workplace is not ergonomically adequate and/or the translator has the wrong posture. Ergonomic adaptations to the translator’s abilities must be made, but it is advisable that the translator also have a healthy life (regular exercise), take regular breaks and frequently change the working position. Here are some of the orientations:

  • The computer screen should be positioned so that the light from windows comes from the side, preventing reflections or glare. The light should always be indirect. Office light should not be directly above the head.
  • The feet should be flat on the floor, forming a 90-degree angle by the knees and the hips. This is important for posture and blood circulation. If, for any reason, when making these adjustments the feet do not reach the floor, a footrest should be used. However, the best condition is that the table and the chair are adjustable in order to allow the feet to touch the floor. There should be a gap of two fingers between the knees and the seat.
  • The arms should also form a 90-degree angle and rest on the table. Armrests are not really necessary.
  • The backrest should be flexible enough to lean back for occasional relaxation, but still providing enough resistance to support the back, that should press lightly against it. The curve of the backrest should support the lumbar lordosis.
  • The computer screen should be straight in front of the translator at an arm’s length. Now here’s something new: the top of the screen should be one hand width below eye level, not on eye level! However, this will also depend on the size of the screen and on the CAT the translator is using. The rule of thumb is that the nape is straight, not curved, and the translator is slightly looking below, not straight ahead.
  • The keyboard should be directly in front of the translator. Allow enough distance so that the heels of the hands can rest on the table, and are not floating.
  • The mouse should be next to the keyboard, as close to it as possible.
  • When working with two monitors, whenever possible, the main screen should be straight ahead and the second, stand next to the first, at an angle. However, when both screens are used equally frequently, both should be angled and positioned accordingly.
  • When working with paper documents, they should be placed between the keyboard and the screen, preferentially supported by a holder.
  • When working regularly for long periods on a laptop, it is important to use an external keyboard and mouse, and all of the above orientations apply. However, a larger external monitor is also recommended.
  • Ideal equipment: big non-glare screens, adjustable chair in height and backrest and adjustable table.

A peace and quiet work environment is also essential. Avoid interruptions and misunderstandings by communicating your working days and time.

Useful link:
FCOS Box: Safety, health and ergonomics in the office

Another recurrent topic during the event was usability and its connection with ergonomics, topic that was also addressed by Rossana Cunha, a research student from UFSC (Federal University of Santa Catarina). The goal of her study was to bridge the gap between corpus-based tools, ergonomics and usability by a user-oriented methodology. The results indicated that, despite the concern for providing a user-friendly interface, the system she analyzed did not make use of known usability and ergonomic methods. And here I add something one of the presenters mentioned: SDL Trados was questioned if they conducted usability tests. Surprise, surprise (or not): “Usability? What is it?” was their answer. The problem here, and with most of the CATs we use, is they are developed by developers only, with no involvement of translators whatsoever.

Next on the second day, Arlene Koglin and Norma Fonseca, both from UFMG, presented on “An analysis of work-related medical issues and ergonomic aspects in Brazilian translators’ workplace.” They mentioned the importance of introducing usability and ergonomics in early stages of university courses to make students aware, and not only buy the coolest CAT in the market. The results of their research can contribute to increasing awareness of the physical and cognitive aspects of professional translation as well as to improving translators’ working conditions. Now here is the great news: they plan on publishing the results of their study to the professional translation community, not only to academic professionals. So we may have something new coming up soon…😉

Last but not least, Maureen presented with Peter Jud on “Cognitive ergonomics of computerized translation work.” Besides being a translation teacher at ZAHW, Peter is also a professional translator, so it was interesting to see his intakes from both sides. According to them, it’s all linked: physical, organizational and cognitive ergonomics. Therefore, disturbances and interruptions at the workplace can also negatively influence the translator’s work. All levels, players and aspects should be taken into account: physical aspects, translator training, translation teacher training, software development, research, organizational aspects, clients/agencies.

To sum up all the learnings from the event, all participants and presenters were asked to talk a bit about their impressions, and the key points were:

  • Usability was the keyword of the event, as an object of study, approaching it from different angles and disciplines.
  • Keeping people in the middle is what matters.
  • Translators don’t have a voice: we (researchers) have to listen to them!
  • Being keen and open to new approaches is essential.
  • This workshop and the discussions we had may be the stepping stone of something larger to come.

Guest post: ProZ membership (in Portuguese)

Sejam bem-vindos a mais uma publicação convidada! A convidada deste mês é a Adriana de Araújo Sobota, querida amiga e companheira no Comitê de Administração do Programa de Mentoria da Abrates.

Seja bem-vinda, Adriana!

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ProZ – Vale a pena ser associado?

Uma das perguntas mais frequentes que tradutores, principalmente iniciantes, me fazem é se vale a pena ou não assinar o ProZ. Esse é um assunto muito controverso. Por um lado, tradutores que conseguiram conquistar uma clientela que paga tarifas mais altas acham aviltantes as tarifas oferecidas por alguns anunciantes. Por outro lado, tradutores iniciantes ou que trabalham para agências nacionais, por exemplo, se beneficiam do câmbio e acham essas mesmas tarifas vantajosas.

O fato é que não podemos pensar apenas no valor médio por palavra oferecido no ProZ. Temos que considerar todos os benefícios e entender como ele funciona. Saber aproveitar o que o ProZ oferece pode fazer a diferença para conseguir nele mesmo essa clientela, digamos, superior. Eu trabalho exclusivamente para agências, todas internacionais e 90% delas vieram do ProZ. Portanto, eu só vejo vantagens em ser assinante. Mas essa é a minha visão. Para outras pessoas pode não ser vantajoso e não sou eu que vou dizer o contrário, minha proposta aqui é explicar por que eu acho vantajoso ser assinante.

O que é o ProZ?

É um site onde empresas, tradutores, agências se cadastram e oferecem trabalhos ou prestação de serviços. Tem quem chame o site de leilão, pois algumas agências oferecem trabalhos na base do “quem dá menos”, mas não é só isso que acontece ali. O site tem uma seção de ofertas de trabalho, uma espécie de classificados. Parte dos trabalhos oferecidos já tem o preço que o cliente quer pagar; parte não tem preço e o cliente pergunta a tarifa do tradutor. Algumas das ofertas vêm com o famoso pedido de “best rate”, aí nos perguntamos: best para quem? Claro que para eles!

Quanto custa a assinatura?

Você pode criar seu perfil gratuitamente no ProZ, mas se assinar, terá acesso a mais recursos. A assinatura anual custa, para novos membros, U$ 144. Para quem já é assinante, a renovação da assinatura anual custa U$ 133. Também oferecem uma assinatura semestral, que acaba saindo mais caro, mas que de imediato é mais em conta. A semestral para novos membros custa U$ 99 e para quem vai renovar, U$ 90. Eles oferecem ainda uma terceira modalidade de assinatura, que inclui um pacote de treinamento composto por vídeos e treinamentos para fazer sozinho. O valor é U$ 199 para novos membros ou não. Se optar por essa modalidade de assinatura, ela terá validade de um ano e você poderá escolher um de três pacotes de treinamento: marketing e promoção pessoal; gestão de projetos ou pacote para iniciante. Esses pacotes também podem ser adquiridos separadamente e custam U$ 119 cada (para novos membros ou não).

Vantagens de ser assinante

A primeira vantagem de ser assinante é que você terá acesso imediato às ofertas de trabalho restritas. Não assinantes só podem ver a maioria dessas ofertas após um período mínimo de 12 horas. Muitos anunciantes abrem a oferta para não assinantes após 48/72 horas. Outra grande vantagem é ter acesso ao Blue Board, um diretório que mostra como os colegas tradutores avaliaram as agências (de 0 a 5). Esse diretório é muito útil quando não conhecemos a agência e queremos saber se é boa pagadora, por exemplo. Outras vantagens de ser assinante são: assinantes aparecem listados antes dos não assinantes para os clientes; as cotações dos assinantes são visualizadas primeiro pelos anunciantes; posicionamento nas pesquisas do Google (os clientes são direcionados para o seu perfil no ProZ); descontos em alguns treinamentos oferecidos no site; monitoramento de visitantes do seu perfil; participação em concursos de tradução; descontos em algumas ferramentas etc.

Como tirar máximo proveito do ProZ

Um grande erro do tradutor que diz não conseguir nada no ProZ é não investir no seu perfil. Vejo muitos que criam o perfil e o deixam lá, às moscas. Se um cliente tem um trabalho de inglês para português na área de marketing, vai encontrar centenas de perfis no ProZ e será difícil escolher. É claro que o perfil mais completo, mais organizado e mais detalhado vai se destacar. Ok, isso se o cliente estiver procurando qualidade, porque se estiver procurando preço, vai no mais barato e pronto. Mas aqui queremos chegar àquela clientela “superior”, certo? Assim sendo, é crucial caprichar no seu perfil, colocar o máximo de informações possível, apresentar o seu produto de forma atraente e convincente.

Outro recurso importante e não muito explorado é o WWA (Willingness to Work Again). Com ele, você pode pedir aos seus clientes para deixar depoimentos sobre o seu trabalho. Assim você mostra para os seus futuros clientes que é um profissional sério e respeitado. Igualmente importante é responder rápido às ofertas interessantes de trabalho. Muitas vezes o cliente tem pressa, e se você deixar para responder depois, pode acabar perdendo oportunidades. Lembre-se de que as ofertas são baseadas em critérios específicos (idioma, especialidade, CAT tool etc.), portanto, seja bem específico ao criar o seu perfil, para ter a certeza de que as ofertas ideais cheguem ao seu e-mail.

Depois que melhorei meu perfil, passei a receber inúmeras ofertas de trabalho diretas, que nem vão para a lista. É claro que não foi assim desde o início. Sou associada do ProZ há 9 anos e demorou alguns anos para chegar no nível atual, de raramente responder a uma oferta da lista, a não ser que seja algo muito interessante. Os clientes passaram a me enviar mensagens com ofertas diretas e consegui boas agências assim. Em outras palavras, não é porque você está no ProZ que precisa participar do “leilão”. É claro que, para quem está começando, tem a questão da experiência para colocar no perfil. Mas aí é que entra o seu marketing pessoal, sua capacidade de mostrar que, apesar de ter pouca experiência, é muito bom no que se propõe a fazer, e mostrar isso por meio do zelo demonstrado no seu perfil, da preocupação em se profissionalizar, esse é o ponto de partida para o sucesso.

Muito obrigada por ter aceitado meu convite para escrever para o blog, Adriana! Foi um grande prazer recebê-la no meu cantinho.:)

Sobre a autora
Foto FaceAdriana de Araújo Sobota é graduada em Letras e pós-graduada em Linguística Aplicada. É tradutora técnica de inglês e espanhol para português há 17 anos nas áreas de TI, medicina, administração e marketing, engenharias, telecom, turismo e websites. Uma das coordenadoras do Programa de Mentoria da Abrates. É sócia e coordenadora pedagógica do Netwire Learning Center. Editora-chefe da Revista On-line da Abrates. É membro da ABRATES e da American Translators Association.

Greatest Women in Translation: Angela Levy

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Welcome back to our Greatest Women in Translation interview series! It’s with the greatest pleasure that I introduce you to this month’s interviewee, Angela Levy, nominated by Regina Alfarano, our last interviewee.

I must admit I was shocked when I saw Angela’s name on Regina’s interview. I thought: “Wow! Look how far we have come! Having Angela on my blog would be amazing, but there’s no way on Earth that she will accept it. She’s a great name in interpreting and has already been interviewed by Jô Soares! What is my blog compared to Jô’s show?” To my greatest surprise and honor, she promptly accepted it. My contact was through her daughter, Vera Levy, always kind and prompt on her e-mails.

The interview is quite long, but totally worth it, I guarantee. Angela herself asked if there would be any problem in it being long, and I told her to feel free to answer however she preferred. I love great stories!

Now, without further ado, welcome to my blog, Angela!


melissa harkin

1. In your interview to Programa do Jô (a Brazilian talk show), you mentioned you learned English by yourself. How did you manage to do it at a time learning resources were limited?

It’s an interesting story. My father was one of the many lawyers who worked for the Consulate and was a very close friend of American Consul General Cecil M. P. Cross, during World War II. The consul came to my home one Sunday, to give my father a lift because they were going to Santos for a Luncheon at Ilha da Palmas. The consul was early, my father was still getting prepared to leave, still dressing, etc… – and asked my sister, Anna Maria, and myself to “entertain” Cecil till he came downstairs. We were elated at the prospect: we had seldom been with the consul, but we had always loved the English language and anyone and anything that came from the States, so rejoiced at the chance of a conversation with Mr. Cross. He was a very nice, even – tempered, accessible man, and we told him we would like very much to learn to speak English, but our father would not let us have lessons. And he asked why the “Big Bad Wolf” (his nickname for my father) was being so much against our plans, and we explained it was because we were studying at a school (I was 14 and my sister 15) where we spent all day (from 7 am to 5 pm – including Saturdays) and he would let us have English classes when we were through our entire course, because then we would have time to study. And Mr. Cross said: You look as intelligent and resourceful as your father, and I’d like to make an official bet with the two of you: sign a paper stating that in one year’s time you will be speaking English as well as I do! We were game, he asked for a “nice leaf of paper”, and drew a contract, very “official looking”, stating: The undersigned, Cecil M. P. Cross, etc., etc. and the two of us (complete names, of course…) would do exactly that (explaining the bet, of course…). The three of us signed the document – which he put in his folder – and we said : “Thank you, sir”! He answered: There’s more: promise me you will not say one word about this agreement to your dad, your mom, your other sister or anyone else, anywhere else. This is between the three of us only. You promise? We did, my father came down the stairs and they left, leaving the two of us completely speechless, frightened to death of the promise we had just made, wondering how to go about it, where to start… The month was February, we were on summer holidays from school, and the first thing we did on Monday was to go downtown and scout for a book which could help us. The only thing we found (it was war, and imported books were hard to find) was The Pocket Book of Basic English. We bought it and, to our dismay, found nothing in it that we hadn’t learned in school (very basic, indeed…). So we put our minds to work, and decided to try unusual methods: movies, and American songs (we could sing a few, lyrics and all, but without understanding a word…). So we went on Tuesday to Cine Metro, on Avenida São João (now, of course , demolished), to watch “Two Girls and a Sailor”, starring Gloria De Haven, June Allison and Van Johnson… In the 2 pm show we watched the film and read the subtitles and, I can tell you that was the last time in my life when I read subtitles! The next show at 4 pm, we only watched the movie, without reading the subtitles, knowing the story from the first show and paying attention to what was being said (and not understanding about 95% of the words, I confess…). We watched that movie  about 6 times during the week and also started memorizing the words to songs, and trying to write them down (in a very broken, misspelled English…). The next addition to our venture was pronunciation, because we found an old book, Pronunciation of American English Words for Brazilians, in my father’s library, at home.

This program of ours went on and on. We joined a correspondence club, “The Caravan of East and West”, and started to receive so many letters, from English Countries, that my father, without knowing the whys and wherefores of that “ocean” of strange letters in our home mailbox, decided to rent a post-office box for the two of us…

We belong to a very musical-linguistic family, and people say this natural ease that we have to learn sounds and imitate them perfectly (Japanese, German, whatever…) is rooted there.

The next step was showing people that we could speak the language. Here, we had the help of 2 cousins, who did not understand our all-encompassing desire to learn English perfectly, but decided to come along in our bold shopping expeditions. We would enter nice-looking shops, pretended one of us couldn’t speak Portuguese and wanted to buy some items, and one of the other three would translate the choice into English and then back to Portuguese to the saleslady. It worked, and everyone was nice to us…

Well, the happy ending to my story, I’m proud to say, is that, exactly one year after that famous contract was signed, we went to the American Consulate: two very tall Marines were guarding the door and we said to them we wanted to talk to Mr. Cross, and they asked if we had and appointment with him. I said no, we didn’t, but we have just arrived from the States and our father (we had adopted the names Suzy Badminton, from Sun Valley, Idaho, for me; and my sister was Judy Wilkins, from Chicago, Illinois), and both our fathers were very good friends of Mr. Cross, and we had an important personal message for him. The marines were baffled at first, we insisted and told them that Mr. Cross would be mad at them if they didn’t let us in. One of them called Mr. Cross’s secretary, she came down and brought a list with names of all Americans (very few – it was war, remember?, 1943, and we were teenagers) who were expected here and of course didn’t find our names on it. She asked why we wanted to see the consul and we repeated that we had a personal important message for him and would she please ask him to come and see us? She asked who were our fathers and I said: Please, tell him that “The Big Bad Wolf” has sent us, and she got really mad and said: Do you expect me to give this ridiculous message to him? I said: “Yes, miss, and I’m sure he is expecting us. It’s a secret message.” She was dismayed, but took us upstairs, asked us to wait and went to get the consul. He came walking very fast and, when he saw us he asked: “Oh! It’s you, what can I do for you?” (all this in English , of course – and, believe me – he didn’t notice we were speaking English…). We asked if he remembered the contract we had signed a year before, and he said: “Good Lord, you are speaking perfect English!” I answered we had learned from the “Big Bad Wolf” to always keep our promises, no matter how hard it could be… We had a nice little chat with him and he suddenly got up, saying: “I have to tell the Wolf about this miracle!” I begged him not to, because our father would be furious, and we’d be grounded for months… He said he would just ask our father to come and see him, and would not mention us. He did that, my father’s office was quite near, he asked Mr. Cross if it was important, he said yes, our father came (of course he had free entrance to the Consulate), went up to the 2nd floor and, when he saw us, he asked, in Portuguese, of course, looking very mad: “What on earth are you two doing here?” Mr. Cross said to him to forget we were there because he wanted to talk to him. They started a chat, and Mr. Cross, little by little, included us in the conversation; they continued to talk (now the four of us) and as it had just happened with Mr. Cross, it took my father about 2 minutes to “register” that we were speaking English… When he did, he was speechless at first but then exclaimed: “You are speaking English! How come?” We told him about the contract, Mr. Cross went to get it out of his files, showed it to “The Wolf”, who read it through, and came out with the shortest comment ever: “Well, I’ll be damned!…”

2. You are the pioneer of simultaneous interpretation in Brazil. How was your first experience in simultaneous interpretation?

My sister was the “Cultural Affair Specialist” at the American Consulate for 18 years but, before that, the two of us worked and taught at União Cultural Brasil-Estados Unidos, the official binational center in São Paulo at that time, before Alumni was founded. One fine day (May 8, 1950, to be precise), the American Consul came to see us and said: “I have a job for the two of you”. I always answered, every time I was asked that question, “I’m game”, even before being told what the job was. And he said: “It’s for tomorrow morning and you’ll be doing the same thing you do for us here: when they speak English, you translate it into Portuguese, and vice-versa. But he omitted the only word that we really needed: si-mul-ta-neous-ly… He then asked us to be at Automóvel Clube, on the corner of Viaduto do Chá and Libero Badaró – then the seat of that club – the following day, at about 10 am, “to test the equipment.”

On our way there the next morning (May 9, 1950), we were wondering what he had meant by “test the equipment”, since in our work at UCBEU the only equipment we used were two mikes – one for the speaker and one for us, for the translation (I had never heard the word “interpreting” connected with translation). “We’ll soon find out” I said. Getting there we asked for “Jack, the technician”, as the consul had told us to do. He came and I said, trying to sound very efficient: “We are the translators sent by the American consul”. He answered: “Oh! The interpreters! Come, let’s test the equipment.” And I asked him the question which betrayed me: “What equipment?” He looked “panic-striken” and asked: “But you are interpreters, right?” I answered in a flash: “Not yet, but we learn very fast…” The poor man had no choice, for the banquet was set to begin at 1 pm, and it was already 11 am. So he said, resignedly: “All right, then who is first?” I was the bold one and so I said: “I am”. He seated me at a very small table, covered with wires and strange looking apparel, handed me a pair of earphones so heavy that when I tried putting then on, my chin fell on the table and I almost broke my front teeth. And he added: “Take good care of this pair, it’s the same one used by the Japanese admiral when he surrendered to Gal. MacArthur, on Tokyo Bay, in 1945…” I was totally lost, and asked: “What am I supposed to do? How do I go about it?” And he answered: “Simple! They will start: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a pleasure to’ – and you, POOM!” “I what?” I asked, horror-striken… “You start with the Portuguese, of course… always half a sentence behind the speaker.” Incidentally, that was the first and only lesson I learned about simultaneous interpreting from somebody else. All the others I learned by “banging my head against the wall” – meaning always experimenting, groping for answers to the ever-present problems with words and all that never before I had faced.

Well, the event started, it was a banquet for over 200 people, the introduction of IBM to Brazil. And our small table was placed right in the center of the room, where we could hear everybody’s voices, and the waiters shouting: “João, água na mesa 3”, and things of the sort, all the time… I don’t remember most of what I heard and had to say, but  I do remember thinking: “I like this job, but this work cannot possibly be done this way, with all the noise around the interpreter…” And, zaz! I learned, by myself, my second lesson when I realized I had missed 2 sentences during my thinking spell: Don’t think of anything but the words that come to you through the earphone..

Of course, I must have made millions of mistakes, but I also got many things right, because Jack (the technician) left me a nice message, which I still have with me: “You had me worried at first, but you finished like a veteran.”

My sister said she never wanted to ever hear about or be near that “factory of loonies”, but I loved it, and went on to research how this was done in developed countries – for one thing was certain to me: real interpreters couldn’t ever work in a small table smack in the middle of the guests, the public, whoever was supposed to be listening (at this important event, there were only 9 speakers – 3 Americans, 6 Brazilians).

Now, about how I discovered the existence of booths is another story, which I will keep for some other time.

3. You are co-founder of Alumni and was coordinator of the school’s Translation and Interpretation course, having trained most of the market’s professionals. What are the most important lessons you used to give your interpreting students?

Well, besides the classes, the practice and the constant “pushing ahead”, these are the most important lessons  – or rather advice – I give them; and of course, suggestions on how to accomplish them:

a) Study your A and B languages every day;
b) Learn something new every day in the work areas of your choice (Law, IT, Medicine, Engineering, Technical or any others you’re trying to specialize in);
c) Always keep in mind that you’re not just a trained parrot or, in translation, a simple scribe, but a transformer of the language being spoken – or read into another totally different cultural universe, a different society with different habits, rules of etiquette and choice of words for different areas, social classes, cultures, etc.;
d) Develop your sense of intuition;
e) Develop your reflexes: keep them always present and preferably exalted;
f) Develop your power of concentration;
g) Develop your spirit of analysis and synthesis;
h) Do memory drills every day;
i) Develop a mammoth intellectual curiosity;
j) Live all your life with an absolute intellectual honesty;
k) Develop  an all-encompassing sense of tact and diplomacy;
l) Always maintain a professional attitude, however baffling the situation may be;
m) Never accept to interpret or translate a subject, theme or ideology that goes against your innermost life principles;
n) Tips on dress codes for beginners.

4. You are 87 years old, with more than 60 years of experience in the market. How do you keep your professional skills in shape?

I’m 87 now and in December will turn 88. I still teach all my classes at Alumni, which is a great help in keeping my mind alert. I still do my memory drills and try to do simultaneous when I watch the News on TV. And I have a Translation/Interpreting agency with one of my daughters and my granddaughter, who is already showing great talent in both T and I. I take care of the English part of translations for our clients, but simultaneous I’ve left to my students and younger colleagues and, specially, to my granddaughter, Luiza.

5. In your interview to Diálogo Nacional, you said your dad was really important and marked your infanthood. Why?

Because he was a man ahead of his time in every way, and his influence marked not only my childhood, but also my adolescence and my adult life, until his death in 1952, when I was expecting my first child. He was self-taugh in English, Spanish and French. Contrarily  to my schoolmates’ dads, he had long talks with his daughters (not only with sons, which was customary then), commented the daily news with us every day, taught us to write poems and articles on interesting subjects, to like opera and classical music, to sing opera bits, folksongs and, along with my mom, was always there for me and my sisters, when we needed advice, suggestions and help, or needed a good scolding…

6. You say a translation/interpreting university course is not enough to properly prepare a professional. Why not?

I’m all for young people going to University, but, in my experience, at least in Brazil, translation-interpreting courses teach too many subjects which won’t be of any help in their professional career and too little of those which they will need badly in the future. Of course, in great part, the guilt lies with the official education curriculum, which they are bound to and forced to obey. But the worst feature of all is that Universities are obliged to accept all candidates who pass the entrance exam, and I personally think  it’s quite impossible to prepare T/I professionals in classes with 40 or more students. Still, I always say that a university course accustoms the student to the habit of research and a methodic style of studying; hence it is very important in the professional preparation of T/I students, regardless of the main area of their study.

7. Now it’s your turn to nominate our next interviewee. What woman has inspired you in our profession and/or you consider to be a great woman in translation?

I nominate Nancy Christina Tucker Martorana, an American who was my student in the 1970s and is now my colleague, working in our T/I department, teaching Simultaneous and Consecutive Interpreting ever since she graduated. I consider her a great woman in Translation because, besides being an excellent teacher of T/I, she is a perfect interpreter and translator, her work areas are many, she excels in all of them, and has a very sweet, likeable, warm personality.


Once again, I’d like to thank both Vera, for kindly and friendly handling my communication with Angela, and Angela, for kindly accepting Regina’s nomination and my invitation to be interviewed for my blog. It was an honor to welcome you here and a pleasure to get to know you better.

TradTalk: novo podcast de tradução

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Como vocês já devem ter visto nas mídias sociais, depois de todo o suspense, há algumas semanas, anunciei meu novo projeto: um podcast de tradução.

O que é um podcast?

Como muita gente ainda não entende direito o que é um podcast, vamos à explicação necessária. Podcasts são canais de assinatura de áudio digital com conteúdo frequente. Assim como em um blog, no qual você se inscreve e recebe notificações sempre que há novas publicações, você assina um podcast (gratuitamente) e recebe notificações sempre que houver um áudio novo. Ele pode ser acessado em dispositivos móveis: iPhones e iPads já vêm com o aplicativo Podcasts, no qual você pode ter acesso a inúmeros canais; em Androids, é necessário baixar um aplicativo de podcast. Também é possível ter acesso aos áudios pelo site do podcast.

De onde surgiu a ideia?

O interessante dos podcasts, na minha opinião, é a possibilidade de ouvir conteúdo interessante no celular enquanto faço alguma atividade, como preparar o almoço/jantar, ir ao supermercado (atividade que odeio, mas que se tornou menos insuportável com os podcasts), dirigir e até mesmo praticar atividades físicas. É uma forma de otimizar um tempo em que estamos ativamente ocupados fazendo algo, mas que, ao mesmo tempo, estamos passíveis a receber conhecimento. Além de ampliar o conteúdo a que temos acesso, já que, para ler, por exemplo, precisamos parar o que estamos fazendo para executar a ação.

Essa paixão e esse encantamento por podcasts surgiram recentemente. Comecei assinando o Podcast da Bel, da Bel Pesce, empreendedora que admiro muito e que procuro acompanhar. Os episódios dela são diários e bem curtinhos. É uma lição de empreendedorismo e de vida melhor que a outra. Sou apaixonada.

Daí, então, pensei que eu poderia criar meu próprio podcast, já que não temos muitos de tradução no Brasil. Para aprimorar minha ideia, assinei o TradCast, primeiro podcast de tradução do Brasil, inativo no momento, mas com um ótimo conteúdo disponível. O TradCast foi criação conjunta deste time de feras: Marcelo Neves, Érika Lessa e Cláudia Mello Belhassof. Também comecei a ouvir o podcast da Carol Alfaro, o Papo de Tradutor. Esses são os únicos podcasts de tradução que conheço no Brasil. Outros de tradução que assino são: Marketing tips for translatos, da Tess Whitty; e Blabbing Translators, do Dmitry Kornyukhov e da Elena Tereshchenkova. Outros da área de línguas e localização: The Business of Language, da Tammy Bjelland; e Globally Speaking, do Renato Beninatto e Michael Stevens. Sobre empreendedorismo, ouço: Empreendedor a todo Vapor, do Thiago Compan; e o GVCast, do Flávio Augusto da Silva, do Geração de Valor.

Conversando com amigos, no entanto, descobri que nem todos são como eu. Algumas pessoas preferem ouvir ou assistir a conteúdo no computador, não no celular. Por isso, pensei em também filmar as entrevistas do meu podcast para disponibilizá-las também no meu canal do YouTube. Dessa forma, atendemos a todos os gostos: áudio no celular, áudio e vídeo no computador. Não tem desculpa.😉

Quanto ao nome, TradTalk, devo um agradecimento bem especial ao Karel Sobota, marido da querida Adriana Sobota. Em um brainstorming, ele deu essa ideia, e eu amei!

Crédito do logotipo e das imagens, como sempre, do meu super parceiro de vida e profissional, Érick Tonin, que também sempre me ajuda com a parte técnica.

Agradecimento especial também ao Thiago Compan e à Laila Compan por tirarem minhas dúvidas e me ajudarem com a parte técnica.

Como vocês podem ver, não sou ninguém sozinha. Desde a troca de ideias com amigos e familiares para a criação à aceitação do meu convite para participar do podcast por parte dos entrevistados e à ajuda do William Cassemiro e da Abrates em fornecer o espaço para que eu pudesse filmar durante o VII Congresso Internacional de Tradução e Interpretação da Abrates, devo a realização de mais esse projeto a todo mundo que, de uma forma ou de outra, me ajudou antes, durante e depois.:)

O que esperar do TradTalk

Os episódios terão, em grande parte, uma média de 30 minutos de duração. Como não gosto de ouvir podcasts longos, segui a mesma lógica. No entanto, teremos algumas exceções à regra, pois o papo foi sempre tão bom que acabamos extrapolando essa média algumas vezes. Oops! rsrs

A frequência será mensal, sempre perto do dia 5 de cada mês. Aqui também teremos exceções: no primeiro mês, para comemorar, teremos dois episódios. Também teremos dois episódios em setembro, para comemorar o mês do tradutor: um no dia normal e outro no dia 30, Dia do Tradutor.

Já temos 13 entrevistas gravadas! Os convidados já gravados são: Adriana Sobota, William Cassemiro, Comitê de Administração do Programa de Mentoria da Abrates com a participação especial da mentora Gisley Ferreira e da mentorada Sabrina Fuzaro, Sofia Pulici, Ligia Fragano, Liane Lazoski, Paloma Bueno Fernandes, Michele Santiago, João Roque Dias, Laila Compan, Marcelo Neves, Gabriela Cetlinas e Kirti Vashee. Outros grandes nomes nacionais e internacionais da tradução já aceitaram meu convite e gravaremos em breve.

Olha, não é porque é meu filhote, não, mas as entrevistas estão super legais! Espero que gostem dos papos tanto quanto eu amei entrevistar os convidados.

É na próxima semana! Aguardem!

How to use Facebook as a professional tool

Spoiler: This is not a judgmental post! It is strictly aimed at our professional image based on true reality and does not reflect any personal opinion.

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I always see translators using Facebook as if there were no tomorrow. I mean, they simply do not think before publishing anything publicly, to absolutely anyone who is their friend.

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I like to think of Facebook like real life, but on-line. Do you wear mini-skirts and speak bad language in church? Well, although I am not the most religious person out there, I do hope you do not do that. Do you behave with your parents or treat them the same way you treat your closest friends? Do you speak to them the same way? I am positively sure you do not do that. You may drink A LOT at a wild party and even end up in hospital, but your mom or your boss will not even dream that has happened, right? So why… why, oh, why do people do not follow those same society rules on-line? Yeah, yeah, I know, the page is yours so you do whatever you want with it. Yeah, right. But then do not complain about your professional reputation being damaged because of your personal behavior on-line. You can certainly do whatever you want, but you should not share everything with absolutely all your Facebook friends. You could lose a potential client because of that. Think about it.

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Just like in real life, social media also has its best practices, if you do not want people judging you by the cover (literally). Therefore, choose your profile picture carefully. Of course it would be fantastic to have it taken by a professional, but it is not essential. Choose one where your face can be easily recognizable, no sunglasses, not taken by faraway. Your profile is yours, right? So why use a picture of your cat/dog/bird/husband/wife/sister/boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever-you-like? Also, be careful with the position the picture is taken. If it is taken from above and you are wearing a low-cut blouse, it may look vulgar. (Before judging the previous sentence, please read the spoiler in the top again.)

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The same holds true for pictures in general. The difference is, for pictures added in albums, as well as other general posts on your timeline, you can control who has access to them. So, bottom line is, yes, you can publish anything you feel like publishing, provided that you separate them by lists.

The chunk of my presentation was to explain how to create lists, send friends to those lists and restrict your posts using them. I already covered this step by step in a blog post, How to manage your Facebook friends like a pro, so I will not repeat it here. Read it and, should you have any doubts, do let me know.

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When sharing some article or post you found on the internet, always check the source. Make sure it is reliable and not something made up or some gossip. Also, I always read the article before sharing it, because the title can be misleading, and the content itself may contain something you do not agree with, for example. I do not like sharing texts with poorly written content either, for example, with grammar mistakes, typos and the like. The content itself may be fantastic, but the way it is written can affect your image, because whether you like it or not, you are sort of endorsing what you are sharing. So be extra careful.

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Topics that involve religion, football and politics are always controversial, even in real life, right? People usually try to avoid them in conversations. Do the same on social media. Avoid or carefully restrict controversial topics. If you have a strong opinion on politics, for example, that is totally against your potential client’s strong opinion, it may affect their decision to contact you for a job or not. Unfortunately, that is the naked truth. And since we have plenty of friends on Facebook and we even end up unfollowing some of them, we may lose track of who is following us or not, and we can simply forget we are friends with that person. It happens a lot with me.

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I also briefly mentioned about the difference between a profile and a page. I have a personal profile and a professional page. Both are different and serve different purposes. I usually like saying people will not be friends with your brand, but like and follow it. Besides having analytics information about your followers, you have plenty of other functionalities you do not have in a profile. For example, you can add action buttons, your working hours, a customized link, among others. In the presentation, I mentioned how I was able to add “Tradutor” (translator) right below my page name. Many people asked me how I was able to do that, so I decided to give it a special mention. However, unfortunately, they have changed it in the past weeks. Now, your username is displayed right below your name. Anyway, you can choose how you want it to be displayed, and your customized URL will be created accordingly. Well, play around with your own page on the About tab and find out everything you can add. Remember, should you have any doubts, do let me know.😉

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You can find the PowerPoint presentation of my talk on SlideShare.

7th Abrates Conference: Official coverage – Part 3 (final)

Should you have not done so yet, read Part 1 and Part 2 before proceeding.

Sunday

The first presentation I watched on the second day of talks was Patricia Moura Souza’s on the Translation Office 3000, a management software for translators. Patricia acknowledged that, although the TO3000 is not user-friendly, it turns out to be a great management tool for translators after you learn how to use it. It took the speaker three months to fully understand the program and totally depend on it for managing her translation work. So we can consider she is now a strong advocate of the tool – its ambassador, if we may say. According to her, some of its benefits is that the user can create and control budgets, invoices and payments by creating groups for services provided (such as translation, interpreting, editing, etc.). Patricia even reveals its greatest secret, that is not clearly understood from the interface: the vertical menu, on the left, refers to all the clients (general data) and the horizontal menu (in the top) refers to the selected client (data by client). And its three greatest functions are: relationship with the client (contact details, pricing list, payment methods, etc.), workflow control (list of projects, specific information, delivery calendar) and financial control (invoices, payments, balance sheets, reports). Now something I particularly loved was that it has a specific tab for marketing! And you can also add other tabs. Other basic operations: you can use your CAT tool wordcount, you can customize fields, and there are all sorts and colors of filters! You can find Patricia’s PowerPoint presentation here. For more information about her experience with the software, read Como o Translation Office 3000 mudou a minha vida – parte 1 e Como o Translation Office mudou a minha vida – parte 2. You can download a 30-day free trial here. Should you love it and decide to buy the software, use this link.

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Patricia Moura Souza

Next, I watched the beginning of Leonardo Milani’s talk on professional attitude, but unfortunately I had to leave early because my own presentation was next. However, I was able to grasp one important point: your productivity in terms of words per hour/day is not the same as quality. It does not indicate if you deliver a quality translation or not. And, for him, it is irritating to ask for productivity.

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Leonardo Milani

As I said, up next was my presentation. I talked about how to use Facebook professionally as to positively, and not negatively, influence your professional image. However, I will write a more detailed post specifically about it in the upcoming days. Stay tuned.

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Yours truly

After my presentation, I ran to João Roque Dias’, on technical drawings. I must confess I just wanted to take a peek at it, so I did not even sit down. I stood in the back of the room taking pictures and tweeting a bit about his presentation, after all, the subject was not something that interested me, since I am not a technical translator of that area. However, to my great surprise, I had to take a seat, because João is certainly a captivating speaker and managed to catch my attention. The Portuguese speaker used attendees to compare both methods of ortographic projections, European and American, with “people” projections. According to João Roque, the translator should always be attentive, because symbols, displays and controls are not always translated. And picture captions should never be translated if the picture itself is not available for reference. If they are, they must be consulted. For example, a “disk” can mean different things in technical drawings, and the picture will tell which one it refers to specifically. João gave some tips about the translation of different types of documents with images. For example, in patents, bid documents and specifications, the text to be translated is almost 100% related to one or a few images, so we should start by studying the images and check if there are inconsistencies with/from the text. In manuals, instructions and leaflets, on the other hand, the text to be translated is clarified by numerous images, so we should study them as we go along, checking for inconsistencies with/from the text. At the end of his presentation, the charismatic speaker had some exercises about his talk and those who got the answer right earned cool customized freebies. It was certainly a pleasure to meet João Roque Dias in person at the conference.

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João Roque Dias with Reginaldo Francisco

Closing ceremony

To sum up the best Abrates Conference so far, we had the surprise visit of Vera Holtz, a Brazilian actress, dear friend of Liane Lazoski, current President of Abrates. Her presence was also a surprise to Liane herself, and was organized by recently-elected President, William Cassemiro, and Vice-President, Renato Beninatto. They sang a song together; it was a quite touchy moment, summing up yet another fantastic conference in great style. You can watch her surprise entry and them singing here.

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Vera Holtz and Liane Lazoski

New Abrates Board

Since only one slate signed up for the elections, the “Criando Pontes” (Building Bridges) slate was officially elected on Sunday, after the closing ceremony. So here is the next Abrates Board, to take office in July 5:

William Ferreira Cassemiro – President
Renato Beninatto – Vice-President
Dayse Boechat – 1st Treasurer
Ricardo Souza – 2nd Treasurer
Paula Ianelli – General Secretary
Iara – Second Secretary

Supervisory Board:
Filipe Alverca
Adriana Caraccio-Morgan
Manuela Sampaio

Deputies:
Liane Lazoski
Peterso Rissatti
Ana Valéria Ivonica Silva

Platform:
Besides continuing all innovative actions of the last Boards and expanding the acknowledgement of the association, some of its proposed actions are to: expand the Mentoring Program, hold smaller events in other states of the country, offer courses at affordable prices to members, partner with universities, create departments (such as for Literary Translation and Interpreting), optimize the call service, improve the use of social media, etc. Suggestions from members will be always welcome.

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Elected Board

Next conference

Although there is no defined date for the next conference yet, the venue is already set: São Paulo. According to the elected President, they will try to make it happen during the same period, early June. See you next year at #abrates17?

Read more…
João Vicente de Paulo Júnior: Mas quem foi que disse que tradutor tem que ganhar pouco? – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Ricardo Souza: Tradumática – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Sessão Sintra apresenta: mesa-redonda sobre tradução literária e direitos autorais – Ernesta Ganzo, Daniele Petruccioli, Renata Pettengill, Lenita Esteves e Petê Rissati – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Expressão regular: uma poderosa arma para o tradutor, by Bianca Freitas on the Pronoia Tradutória blog
Takeaways of the Abrates Conference, by Translated in Argentina
Winning clients as a freelancer: An LSP perspective, Eugenia Echave’s PowerPoint presentation
MT Options for the Individual Translator, by Kirti Vashee

And there are plenty of other links in Parts 1 and 2 as well. Enjoy!

7th Abrates Conference: Official coverage – Part 2

This is the second part of my post about the Abrates Conference. Read the first part here.

After having such a good start, the second talk I watched on Saturday was Isabel Gorg’s, also on automated translation. The speaker conducted a survey and found out that 22% of the interviewees used some sort of MT strategy. Her presentation was mostly based on pointing out common mistakes in MT, such as spacing, capitalization, grammar, sentence structure, local standards and terminology. Being aware of their frequency makes it simple to spot and correct them. And, needless to say, source quality can also highly influence the quality of MT translations. The takeovers from her talk were: MT will not disappear, but rather get better; MT can increase productivity; we should concentrate on what MT does right, not wrong; and we should align our expectations.

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Isabel Georg

The third talk I attended on Saturday was by Felipe Cichini Simões, on personal and professional budgeting for freelancers. According to Felipe, we must never spend every cent we earn, but have some savings for vacation, professional investment, variable income, etc. The speaker suggested the YNAB (You Need A Budget) method and briefly showed us how the app works. According to Felipe, in order to start a budget plan, we must forget the past and start planning from now on. Felipe also said that giving each cent a function helps us understand what we can do with our money. Acknowledging our actual expenditures (besides our fixed ones) is also important for planning our future budget. However, he also points out that budgets are not always perfect, and sometimes they may not work as planned, especially for us, freelancers, who do not have a fixed income. It can happen, and we may not lose heart. The speaker also suggested the Wave Accounting app for financial control. I will surely try any of those apps, because I myself am very bad at budgeting and planning for the future. I know, shame on me!

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Felipe Cechini Simões

Next on the presentations I attended on Saturday was Adriana de Araújo Sobota’s, on how to start working with translation agencies. The large room was totally full and people loved her presentation. Adriana mentioned methods for receiving payment from overseas (PayPal, Moneybrookers, direct bank transfer, wire transfer through Payoneer and TransferWise) and how to check a potential client’s reputation (Payment Practices, Blueboard, Hall of Fame and Shame, Untrustworthy Translation Agencies). It is also important to check if they have a physical address, on-line domain, professional e-mail address, etc. When looking for translation agencies on Google, we should be careful with the search results, because they can return one-person companies/entrepreneurs, not only agencies. Adriana also mentioned the importance of professional behavior, having a good CV, knowing how to behave on-line, communication, etc. The translation market is fast, so we should make sure we do not lose a chance for nothing. All the information needed on how to find potential clients is out there: research and search for it. The speaker concluded her presentation stressing out some don’ts: do not depend on only one agency; do not pressure the potential client for the result of the test; do not ask if you can send a CV, simply send it; do not send bulk e-mails; do not complain about an agency in public (social media).

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Adriana de Araújo Sobota

After lunch, I attended GALA’s presentation, “Economic Crisis at Home? The World is Yours – How to Overcome Obstacles When Selling Abroad.” You can read more details about this one here, on a post I wrote for their blog.

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GALA (Globalization and Localization Association): Fabiano Cid, Lilian Alves Mouton, Eugenia Echave and Gabriela Morales

After that, I ran to a presentation I was actually part of, about the Abrates Mentoring Program. Steering Committee members William Cassemiro, Adriana Sobota, Mônica Reis and yours truly explained how the program works and what the rules are to those who wish to take part both as mentor and mentee. Our current mentors and mentees, both represented, respectively, by Filipe Alverca and Sabrina Fuzaro and present among the attendees, had a voice and spoke about the enriching experience they are having with the program. You can find more information about the program on its web page and on this blog post I wrote a while ago (both in Portuguese). Juliana Tradutora has also written a blog post about our presentation, also in Portuguese, here. Should you not understand Portuguese, here are some important points:

  • The program is totally free, from all parts: both Committee members and mentors are volunteers, and mentees do not have to pay to take part.
  • To be a mentor, the person needs to be an Abrates member and have at least five years of experience in the area.
  • To be a mentee, the person also needs to be an Abrates member and have a maximum of two years of experience in the area. Or be in the last year of a Translation/Interpreting course.
  • The program lasts two years with a minimum of two hours of mentoring per month (in person or via Skype or other method agreed upon both parts).
  • The program’s coordinators closely follow their assigned pairs through follow-up reports both the mentor and the mentee have to fill out separately after every meeting.
  • The coordinators must be aware of every decision made by their assigned pairs in order to avoid any potential issue, including change of date of the meeting.

We had a fantastic feedback from our current mentors/mentees, from potential mentors/mentees and from people who run mentoring programs in other associations all over the world, such as Canada, Argentina and Israel. They were mesmerized by our organization, quality and professionalism. The presentation was followed by our own coffee break filled with positive comments, feedback, nice conversations with people who were interested at the program and future contacts. Should you be interested in learning more about it, do not hesitate to leave a comment below or send an e-mail to mentoria@abrates.com.br.

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Steering Committee members, William Cassemiro, Adriana de Araújo Sobota, Caroline Alberoni e Mônica Reis, mentee Sabrina Fuzaro and mentor Filipe Alverca

To sum up a perfect first day, Renato Beninatto hosted a round-table about, once again, machine translation with Kirti Vashee, Ricardo Souza, Ronaldo Martins and Marcelo Fassina. Marcelo Fassina, from Lionbridge, started talking and said that usually material with low access by the general public or the end user goes through MTPE (machine translation post-editing). However, the agency must always inform the translator when they use MT. The translator’s feedback is extremely important to feed the MT and improve it, as Kirti also mentioned in this morning’s presentation. Ronaldo Martins took the floor and spoke beautifully and eloquently. I was in owe with his perfect choice of words. According to him, evolution is inevitable. Technology may close some doors, but it will certainly open other windows. Ronaldo explained the difference between accelerated, delegated and augmented technologies. The first ones are not revolutionary; they only assist, but do not replace; for example, bikes. The second ones are substitutive, but are not necessarily better than what they replace. The last ones, on the other hand, enable us to do things we were not able to do before. In spite of what people think, MT involves science. Ricardo Souza followed, representing translators. Last but not least, Kirti Vashee also gave his opinion on the subject. According to him, human translation is the driving force of technology.

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Ronaldo Martins, Kirti Vashee, Renato Beninatto, Ricardo Souza and Marcelo Fassina

This was it for Saturday. Sunday talks in Part 3 (final).

Read the impressions and reviews of other attendees:

Adriana de Araújo Sobota: Como começar a trabalhar com agências de tradução – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Traduzir livros para crianças é coisa de gente grande – VII Congresso da Abrates
, by Juliana Tradutora
Silvana Nicoloso: Identidade de gênero e o trabalho de interpretação simultânea em Libras – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Mesa-redonda sobre machine translation – Kirti Vashee – Ricardo Souza – Ronaldo Martins – Marcelo Fassino – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Comitê de Mentoria: Adriana Sobota, Caroline Alberoni, Mônica Reis e William Cassemiro – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Marina Piovesan Gonçalves: Inglês geral x inglês jurídico: diferenças e/ou semelhanças – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
7º Congresso da Abrates – Resumão, by Laila Compan
5 insights que tive no 7º Congresso da Abrates, by Laila Compan
Ensaio sobre o fracasso, by Thiago Hilger on Pronoia Tradutória blog
Como começar a trabalhar com agências de tradução, Adriana de Araújo Sobota’s PowerPoint presentation
The Larger Context Translation Market, by Kirti Vashee

Other links can be found in Parts 1 and 3.