7th Abrates Conference: Official coverage – Part 1


The 7th International Abrates Conference was held from June 3 to 5, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, our Wonderful City – that truly lives up to its nickname. It was an amazing event, way better than expected, in my opinion, even though there were less attendees than last year, probably due to our unfortunate financial crisis. However, those who attended the event were certainly not afraid of the threat and took the bull by the horns leaving their comfort zones, dusting off, polishing their knowledge, networking and prospecting.

The conference in numbers

  • 3 days
  • 8 pre-conference courses
  • 612 attendees from 6 different countries (Brazil, Portugal, Canada, US, UK and Argentina) and from all around Brazil
  • 85 speakers from 8 different countries (Brazil, India, UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and US) and from all around Brazil
  • More than 90 talks (more than 60 hours of amazing content)
  • 5 CAT representatives
  • 15 sponsors from Italy, US, Argentina, Czech Republic, South Korea, France and Brazil
  • 5 social events

Pre-conference courses

This year, the Brazilian Association of Translators and Interpreters (Abrates) also offered pre-conference courses in association with Café com Tradução on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, Val Ivonica gave a basic course on memoQ. On Friday, Roger Chadel gave a basic course on Wordfast Classic; Val Ivonica gave a workshop on Regex (advanced memoQ); Carolina Caires Coelho and Flávia Souto Maior, from Ponte de Letras, gave a workshop on translation of literary texts from English into Portuguese; Cláudia Mello Belhassof gave a course on Brazilian Portuguese grammar; Daniele Fonseca, on interpreting and how to make decisions in real time in the booth; Ana Iaria and Ricardo Souza, on shipping and similar documents and their translation solutions; and Rayani Immediato and Mabel Cezar, on translation for dubbing and relationship with clients. They could be purchased separately, but with a discount for conference attendants.

Also on Friday, in the afternoon, there was also the Abrates accreditation test.

Social events

Social events started on Thursday with a happy hour organized by yours truly and Abrates Board members Dayse Boechat, First Treasurer, and William Cassemiro, Second Treasurer and recently elected President, at Inverso Bar. It was a nice opportunity to say “hi” and get to finally meet some colleagues in person, talk and relax a bit. Approximately 70 people managed to meet us there, so it was really pleasant and fun.

On Friday, after the opening the ceremony, there was a toast with a buffet offered by GALA (Globalization and Localization Association). Another good opportunity to see those who arrived only on Friday.

On Saturday, there was a dinner organized by Abrates with good food, drinks, music, dancing and lots of fun. I certainly had a great time and laughed a lot.

Last but not least, on Sunday, last day of conference, Fabiano Cid organized a GALA networking get-together at Pub Escondido. Once again, we had such a great time and could relax from the hectic conference days.

Opening ceremony

The conference’s official opening was on Friday evening. Before the actual opening interview, William asked if there was any sign interpreter who could volunteer to interpret the opening. Paloma Bueno Fernandes kindly volunteered and did a wonderful job interpreting the national anthem. Everybody turned their eyes to her and her amazing interpretation, beautifully followed by someone who was standing right in front of her. It was an unforgettable moment.

Renato Beninatto then interviewed Cora Rónai. Cora is a journalist and daughter of Paulo Rónai, who was one of Abrates’ founder and also hold the position of President of the association. Paulo was born in Hungary, but moved to Brazil during the war. Besides being a translator, he was also a philologist and critic. Although Cora is not a translator herself, it was beautiful listening to her telling stories about her father, his many important friends, such as Aurélio Buarque de Holanda, with whom he exchanged lessons of Portuguese and French. Her father, as she said, was saved by translation. He was released from prison for being the only person who could translate from Hungarian into Portuguese. Some curious facts about Paulo were that he loved footnotes to explain translations and was one of the first people to have an electric typewriter. I had already heard Liane Lazoski (Abrates’ President) talk about him that same day in such a beautiful way and with such passion and admiration that inspired me to want to re-read his books.


The first day of presentations started brilliantly with Kirti Vashee’s presentation, who talked about Corporate Utility and the General MT Technology Landscape. Kirti is a US-based independent MT consultant/expert and presented some quite interesting insights and figures on MT, for example, he said Microsoft spends US$ 500 million a year on human translation, but that accounts for only 2% of what they translate. Other companies that use MT in their translations are: Facebook, eBay, Google, Intel and Adobe. Some translation volumes are too high and cannot be met by human translators, so that’s when MT comes into play. “Good MT” allows more to be translated faster and at a lower cost. However, if there is legal viability and real importance, human translation must be used in order to avoid risks. Kirti said that in languages like Portuguese, Spanish and French, MT is getting better with time and can be a threat in case of repetitive material (Hungarian, Turkish, Korean, Hindi, Zulu and Swahili are, on the other hand, among the worst). According to a Google study (2012), Portuguese is the best MT language due to its greater and larger content.


Our current scenario demands faster turnaround times, resulting in more information, therefore, in the need for faster translations. An interesting fact Vashee pointed out was that today we have more active scientists alive than in the previous 200 years all together. It is a lot of information being produced!

What needs to be clear is that MT engines are not equal. Some are great, others are terrible. And the problem is most DIY initiatives are created by people who do not know what they are doing. We, translators, should take part and get more involved so we can change this scenario to our benefit. Human feedback can raise the raw output to previous unseen quality levels. It is worth knowing how to climb. Understanding MT output is key to determining opportunity value. Quality of the MT system can be even more important than rate per word. The best translators develop their own “effort scores” after seeing a meaningful sample of actual MT output.

Kirti Vashee suggests Lilt, an adaptive dynamically learning MT environment that personalizes its suggestions to the translators’ translation style. Although it does not support all languages yet, it does support Brazilian Portuguese.

In a nutshell, PEMT will become more common, so we have to learn to determine when it makes sense for us.

Read Part 2.

Read the impressions and reviews (most of them in Portuguese, but there are a couple in English at the end) of other attendees:

VII Congresso Internacional da Abrates: cada vez melhor, cada vez mais forte, by Ponte de Letras
Como chamar a atenção de agências, by Luciana Frias
O valor do corredor, by Carolina Walliter
Como foi o Congresso da Abrates 2016, by Thais Aux
Impressões do VII Congresso Abrates, by Sidney Barros
#abrates16 – Parte 1, by Thiago Hilger
#abrates16 – Parte 2, by Thiago Hilger
VII Congresso Internacional de Tradução e Interpretação da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Ligia Sobral Fragano: A versão de filmes brasileiros – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Ponte de Letras: Vamos conversar sobre tradução editorial – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Marcelle Castro e Mylene Queiroz: Recursos online para treinamento de intérpretes – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Luiz Fernando Sant’Anna Alves: Diz a legenda… – VII Congresso da Abrates, by Juliana Tradutora
Como foi a palestra “Mastermind na Tradução”?, by Catia Santana on the Pronoia Tradutória blog
Impressões sobre o VII Congresso da Abrates, by Catia Santana on the El Heraldo de la Traducción blog
VII Congresso Abrates, by Kelli Semolini
Introdução às ferramentas CAT: por onde começar, PPT presentation by Jorge Rodrigues
VII Congresso Internacional da Abrates – Encerramento, video by Abrates shown during the closing ceremony
Vera Holtz e Liane Lazoski, video by Thays Mielli of the surprise made to Liane Lazoski at the closing ceremony
GALA joins forces with Brazilian Association at the 7th Abrates Conference, by yours truly on the GALA blog
The Abrates Conference in Rio: Translators focusing on MT, by Kirti Vashee
Abrates 7th International Conference, by Teresa Maria Freixinho

11 thoughts on “7th Abrates Conference: Official coverage – Part 1

  1. Caroline,
    Thank you for compiling all this material.
    Even living abroad, I’m very excited to read all the reviews and to get to know more about how our profession is going on in Brazil.


  2. Pingback: 7th Abrates Conference: Official coverage – Part 2 | Carol's Adventures in Translation

  3. Pingback: 7th Abrates Conference: Official coverage – Part 3 (final) | Carol's Adventures in Translation

  4. Pingback: Associada da ABRATES – Juliana Tradutora

  5. Pingback: Weekly translation favorites (June 17-23)

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