My impressions on the Abrates conference


After a one-week pause due to the XXXIV Semana do Tradutor & I SIT (Translator’s Week & International Translation Symposium), we’re back with our weekly posts. But before the Translator’s Week, there was the V Abrates International Translation and Interpreting Conference, I also attended. Therefore, today, I’ll write a bit about the Abrates conference. Next week, I’ll write about the Translator’s Week (it’s too much information for only one post).

The Abrates conference was held on September 20th and 21st, Saturday and Sunday, in Rio de Janeiro. According to the organizing committee, there were 450 attendees, and about 80 on the waiting list. Last year, there were 390 attendees, when the event was held in Belo Horizonte.

Cap. Israel

The conference started with a keynote by Cap. Israel Alves de Souza Júnior, Captain of the Brazilian Army. He talked about translating, but especially interpreting, in peacekeeping missions, with examples of the current mission in Haiti. His presentation was moving and touched every single heart in the room. The audience was so impressed by his stories that gave him a much deserved standing ovation. The most important lesson I learned from his talk was: the first time the Earth was photographed from space, the only thing you could see was the Earth itself, with its oceans and lands, no human could be spotted, showing we are tiny creatures, all equal, and we should, as such, help and cooperate with each other.

Maria Helena Brenner-Kelly

The rest of the morning and the afternoon of our first day of conference were filled with talks we had to choose from. There were three to four talks at the same time. I especially enjoyed Maria Helena Brenner-Kelly’s on the IT terminology of the future. She gave precious tips to how we can keep up-to-date with the always changing terminology and talked about some current terms and their translations, such as gamification, big data, VoIP, fog, appification, application, cognizant computing, wearable devices, consumerization. We also had other contributions from the audience.

Chris Durban

The first day was wrapped-up by another keynote, this time by Chris Durban, who talked about “The right numbers – and the wrong ones”. According to her, translators should know some important numbers in order to leave the bulk market and get into the premium one. One of these numbers is: 5 to 10% of our annual sales should be spent on training and professional development. And to leave the bulk market, we have to write better than 95% of the population. Chris Durban is great! Extremely funny and talkative, she has also kindly autographed two copies of the book 101 Things Translators Should Know – one for me and another for a lucky winner of my Translation Day Sweepstake (revealed on Tuesday, International Translation Day: Valéria Carlini). I loved meeting her in person!

Jorge Rodrigues

On the second day, we had some quite nice talks by amazing people, such as Jorge Rodrigues, about the internationalization of the translator’s career; Fernanda Rocha, about the redundancy in saying we are “professional translators”; Sheila Gomes, about how to use the Internet to place ourselves in the market; Isa Mara Lando, about the main translation mistakes from English to Portuguese (I had some good laughs on this one); Ricardo Souza, about the relationship about translators and translation agencies; and João Vicente de Paulo Júnior, about what we need to be able to translate for premium markets. However, there were some equally great talks I was not able to attend, such as Paula Ianelli’s on game localization, Dilma Machado’s on translating series and Daniel Estill’s on TradWiki, to name a few.

Danilo Nogueira, Chris Durban, Maria Marques and Kelli Semolini

As a wrap-up to the conference, Chris Durban talked about her booklet Getting it Right. Danilo Nogueira and Kelli Semolini also talked about their translation of her booklet, Faça a escolha certa. The project’s proofreader, Maria Marques, was also part of the discussion. The booklet is a guide to prospects, with instructions to people who need translation services on how to make the right choice when hiring a translator.

Jéssica Alonso, Jorge Rodrigues, myself and Paula Ianelli

The event was also a fantastic chance to see and talk to some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, meet new people, meet people who know me from the blog or from the social media. It was great to see Thomaz Vilela, Sheila Gomes, Jorge Rodrigues, Paula Ianelli, Thiago Araújo and Jéssica Alonso (I hope I didn’t forget anyone). It was equally a pleasure to meet Dilma Machado, Ernesta Ganzo and Chris Durban in person.

Next year’s venue has already been disclosed. The VI Abrates International Translation and Interpreting Conference will be held in São Paulo. The date is yet to be determined, but, as always, I’ll keep you posted.

Should you have any questions, please let me know. And also feel free to add your own impressions of the event, in case you have attended it.

6 thoughts on “My impressions on the Abrates conference

  1. Pingback: My impressions on the Translator’s Week | Carol's Adventures in Translation

  2. Pingback: Weekly translation favorites (Oct 31-Nov 6) | Lingua Greca Translations

  3. I don’t think saying “professional translator” is redundant: unfortunately our profession, unlike that of a doctor or lawyer, can be done (though not necessarily well) by anybody who sets themselves up as a linguist and/or by people who have another job such as teaching. I used to call myself a freelance translator, but now say “professional translator” as I’ve come to realise that it’s not only a selling point but also a reminder to clients/prospects that translation is and can be a ‘proper’ profession, performed by professionals.


    • Hi, Catherine!
      First of all, thanks for visiting our blog and for the insightful comment! 🙂
      I understand both points. I think her idea is that of a perfect world where our profession is recognized and properly conducted only by qualified professionals (as in having background education on the field). However, the reality is completely different from that. I also call myself a “professional translator” for the same reason as you. I just refuse being compared with “ordinary so-called translators” after having studied a lot, dedicated my time to learning and taking it seriously as a real profession.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: My impressions on the VI Abrates Conference – Part 1 | Carol's Adventures in Translation

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