Greatest Women in Translation: Nicky Smalley


Image created by Érick Tonin

Welcome back to our amazing Greatest Women in Translation interview series, dear readers!

We’re already half-way through the year, huh? Hope everyone’s doing fine so far.

Please welcome this month’s interviewee, Swedish and Norwegian translator Nicky Smalley, nominated by Jen Calleja.


Nicky Smalley (1)

Image created with Canva

1. Being Brazilian myself, I cannot help it but start by asking about your English translation of Jogo Bonito, by Henrik Brandão Jönsson, a Swedish book about Brazilian football. What an interesting combination! Could you tell us a bit about your experience?

Ha! It was great! I’m not much of a football buff, but I spent some time living in Brazil a few years ago, and one of my best experiences while living in Rio was seeing Botafogo play Flamengo at the Maracanã. I speak some (very imperfect) Portuguese, so it felt like combining two of my interests – Sweden and Brazil – while learning a lot about football and its role in Brazilian society. Unfortunately, I have to admit to a terrible crime: the murder (or perhaps manslaughter, since there was no intention!) of a former Brazilian president – I mistakenly translated ‘avgå’ (to leave one’s job) as ‘to pass away’ (in Swedish ‘avlida’). I had some accomplices though – neither the author, editor, copy-editor nor the proofreader caught my mistake, so it ended up in the printed book, and only got discovered by a Brazilian journalist who was reviewing the book…

2. You currently live in London, but have previously lived in Berlin, Stockholm and Rio. How long did you live in Rio? How was your experience as a Swedish and Norwegian translator into English? Have you ever translated from Brazilian Portuguese?

I only lived in Rio for a few months – this was at the very beginning of my translation career, when I was working freelance, translating finance texts (oh how I hope I never have to translate another annual report!) for a big multinational. It seemed like the perfect excuse to go and hang out in a tropical country, to dance, to explore, and to drink amazing fruit juice every day! I was also studying Portuguese, which was amazing – I love the language, and it’s a dream to one day speak it really well, maybe even to the extent I could translate it, as there’s so much great writing in Portuguese.

3. Are you translating any book at the moment?

Ahhhhhh… there’s the rub! I should be dedicating all my free time to translating an incredible Swedish book called Eländet (working title ‘Wretchedness’) by Andrzej Tichý, one of my absolute favourite writers. I’ve done half of it, but I’m also expecting my first child, and so my priorities and energy levels are a little all over the place. You could say the human baby I’m nurturing has made it tough to make time for the word baby I’m nurturing!

4. Besides being a translator, you are Publicity, Marketing and Sales Manager for And Other Stories. What exactly does it entail?

Lots and lots of emails and building relationships, be that with authors, translators, journalists, sales reps, booksellers, other publishers, and most importantly, readers! It’s my responsibility to ensure that And Other Stories’ books get talked about in the wider world – in the media, in bookshops, online, in book groups, in homes! I love the books we publish, which makes my job easier, and it’s a really fun challenge to excite people about books that are outside of the mainstream. But my job is so hugely varied – there are certain yearly cycles, but every single day is completely different. I might be writing copy in the morning, pitching authors for interview by lunch, checking sales mid-afternoon, and administering our subscription scheme before home-time. I also work remotely (And Other Stories is based in Sheffield), so there’s lots of self-reliance, which is a skill I developed as a translator.

5. I loved this article you wrote on the reasons why we should read more women in translation! Since you love Swedish and Norwegian literature, what books from those languages, translated (preferably by women, why not?) or not, do you recommend?

Ooh, such a tricky question! My knowledge of Norwegian literature is not as extensive as I’d like (I’m only just starting to get into translating Norwegian (my first Norwegian book – An Unreliable Man, by Jostein Gaarder – is out this autumn with Weidenfeld & Nicholson). One recommendation I can most wholeheartedly give is for people to seek out Gunnhild Øyehaug. A collection of her short stories called Knots was published by FSG last year, and it’s truly excellent. The excellent Kari Dickson translated it, and you can be sure she did an excellent job.

As far as Swedish writers go, I lovelovelove Lina Wolff (coincidentally, she’s a writer we publish at And Other Stories). Working on her novel Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs (translated by Frank Perry) has been one of the highlights of my time in publishing – she’s really funny, as well as being razor-sharp and uncompromising in her criticism of the male canon we’ve all been brought up reading. I’m really looking forward to her next novel, The Polyglot Lovers, coming out next year in the wonderful Saskia Vogel’s translation – I’m expecting big things for it! When I first read it, I was laughing so much on the train that the man next to me stopped me reading and asked ‘Is it really that funny?’ I think he was jealous he couldn’t read it himself. Other Swedish loves of mine include Agnes Lidbeck, who’s written two novels, neither of which has been translated into English, despite my best efforts (she’s very much about the invisible and not-so-invisible tensions underlying relationships, something English-language publishers are often wary of, as they don’t see it as being that marketable in an English-language context).

I’m also a big fan of Mirja Unge’s short story collection It Was Just, Yesterday, which was published by Comma Press a few years back (another Kari Dickson delight!). I used to run a book club for contemporary Swedish fiction, and that was one of my favourites of the books we read. One of my all-time favourite books in Swedish is Kerstin Ekman’s Blackwater (translated by the great Joan Tate), which is a super-smart thriller set in rural northern Sweden – it’s creepy as hell, but also really gets under the skin of a very different way of life. Speaking of northern Sweden, another author I’d absolutely love to see translated into English (but who might well be untranslatable), is Stina Stoor, whose debut collection Bli som folk (literally ‘Be respectable’ or ‘Be like everyone else’ or something – the titles in itself is untranslatable!) transfixed me, but is such an astonishingly rich portrait, both linguistically and socially, of the kind of isolated community in Sweden’s far north where Stoor lives, that no one would go near it. It would just be too hard to effectively render its extraordinary dialectal voices, and without them, so much of the magic would be lost. Still, I think it’s nice sometimes, that a language gets to keep its writers to itself, because they’re just too special to be shared (at least I tell myself that – though if someone was brave enough to publish it, I’d leap at the chance to be the enabler of that project).

6. For your PhD in Scandinavian Studies at UCL, you wrote a thesis titled “Contemporary Urban Vernaculars in Rap, Literature and Translation, in Sweden and the UK.” Could you tell us more about it, since it sounds rather interesting?

Do I have to? Only (half-)joking.

I was researching the way in which the everyday language of contemporary cities (in particular London and Stockholm) is influenced by the multilingualism that characterizes them, and the way in which young people in particular use that multilingualism creatively – both in innovating the everyday language they speak to one another, and in codifying that informal language in creative forms like rap. In turn, I looked at the way contemporary writers take inspiration from that informal language, and the rapping that’s born out of it, to create literary representations of life in today’s cities. I also looked at how translators go about taking that writing into other languages – and found a lot of people trying really hard to create their own innovations in order to capture the innovative writing they were working with. It was fun, and the topic is fascinating, but I’m not a natural academic, so let’s just say my scholarly days are behind me!

7. Now it’s your turn to nominate our next Great Woman in Translation.

I nominate Ginny Tapley Takemori, a translator from Japanese, based outside Tokyo.


Tradução e interpretação: inclusão de palavra em palavra – Parte 2

Caso ainda não tenha lido a primeira parte, acesse-a aqui.

Ainda no primeiro dia de palestras do congresso, após o coffee break, participei da mesa-redonda do Programa de Mentoria da Abrates, Caminho das Pedras, do qual orgulhosamente já fui coordenadora e ajudei a criar. O Programa de Mentoria foi idealizado pelo William Cassemiro, quando ainda era diretor da Abrates, e lançado em março de 2016. Hoje, o Comitê de Administração é composto pelos seguintes coordenadores: Carolina Ventura, Gisley Ferreira, Lidio Rodrigues e Sidney Barros Junior (não presente na mesa-redonda por motivo de força maior). Também fizeram parte da mesa um par de mentora (Ana Julia Perrotti-Garcia) e mentorada (Priscila Osório Côrtes), que contaram como foi sua experiência no programa, e a Monica Reis, que também ajudou a criar o programa.

image2 (1)

Mesa-redonda sobre o Programa de Mentoria da Abrates

O Programa de Mentoria é totalmente voluntário e gratuito, mas exclusivo para associados da Abrates. O programa já ajudou 55 mentorados desde sua criação. No momento, há nove pares em andamento. Os requisitos para ser mentorado são: ter até dois anos de experiência como tradutor/intérprete ou, caso não tenha experiência, estar cursando o último ano de um curso de letras/tradução/interpretação. Os requisitos para ser mentor são: ter pelo menos cinco anos de experiência como tradutor/intérprete. A duração de cada programa é de seis meses, e as reuniões são realizadas da melhor forma decidida entre o par de mentor e mentorado (presencialmente, Skype, e-mail, WhatsApp, etc.). As fichas de inscrição são analisadas por todos os membros do Comitê de Administração, que decidem em comum acordo se o candidato é qualificado ou não para o programa e, caso seja aprovado, quem é o mentor mais adequado ao perfil dele. Após essa decisão, o mentor recebe a ficha do possível mentorado e decide se concorda com a escolha ou não. Cada par é acompanhado por um coordenador (membro do Comitê de Administração). As metas a serem abordadas no programa são basicamente traçadas por cada mentorado com a ajuda do mentor. No entanto, é importante ressaltar que o programa não visa ensinar como traduzir, mas orientar sobre os aspectos práticos do mercado, que normalmente não são abordados pelos cursos da área.

A mentora Ana Julia Perrotti-Garcia já participou de três ciclos e relatou sua experiência: “Ganhei três grandes amigos e colegas de profissão”.

Para mais informações, acesse a página do programa no site da Abrates (link acima). Também há mais detalhes sobre o programa nesta publicação do blog.

Após o almoço, foi a vez da minha primeira apresentação, “Nem só de tradução vive o tradutor: acabando com o endeusamento do trabalho em excesso”, sobre a qual falarei em uma publicação separada. Aguardem!

Em seguida, foi a vez de Mark Thompson, com a apresentação “Menos heavy, mais leve. Pense no leitor alvo!” Mark, cuja língua materna é o inglês, falou sobre versões de português para inglês feitas por tradutores não nativos. Segundo ele, os seguintes adjetivos, entre outros, são usados para descrever essas traduções: long-winded, verbose, wordy, prolix, repetitive. Como vez ou outra faço versões, gostei muito de algumas dicas e soluções que ele deu para alguns termos difíceis de serem traduzidos, como “elaborar” (draft, formulate, detail, write, outline, design, etc.), “destacar” (highlight, stress, mention, emphasize, underline, etc.) e “desembolso” (spending, spend, expenditure, etc.). Dica dele ao verter do português para o inglês: não reproduza o português religiosamente e evite repetições desnecessárias.

O sábado foi concluído com a apaixonante palestra da grande Alison Entrekin, tradutora literária do português para o inglês, “Oombarroom: a reconstrução de Grande Sertão em inglês”. Como o próprio nome da palestra diz, Alison está atualmente trabalhando em uma nova versão da grande obra de João Guimarães Rosa, Grande Sertão: Veredas, para o inglês, com o apoio do Itaú Cultural. Australiana, Alison mora no Brasil há mais de 20 anos e nos deleita com um português perfeito: “É a primeira vez que falo para um público de tradutores”. Que honra! Segundo ela, além de ser um livro extenso, com cerca de 600 páginas, a densidade dele é ainda maior. Menciona Haroldo de Campos, que afirmou que traduzir Grande Sertão é um processo de transcriação no qual perde-se de um lado, mas ganha-se de outro, e no qual o grande protagonista é a língua. Quanto à sua imensa responsabilidade nesse longo projeto, Alison diz que “só” tem “que traduzir para um inglês universal e inexistente”. Baba de moça, não é? Tradutora de grandes obras da língua portuguesa, como Cidade de Deus, de Paulo Lins, Budapeste, de Chico Buarque, e Meu Pé de Laranja Lima, de José Mauro de Vasconcelos, Entrekin conseguiu nos encantar com seu amor pela língua portuguesa e o carinho e atenção que dedica não só a Grande Sertão: Veredas como a todas as obras que traduz. Ela é capaz de despertar o amor pela literatura e pela tradução literária até nos menos interessados.

Dica: a Alison já fez parte da série de entrevistas Greatest Women in Translation deste blog. Leia aqui.

No domingo, último dia do congresso, minha primeira palestra do dia foi “Novas ferramentas de auxílio à tradução e sua performance”, por Marcelo Fassina. Marcelo começou afirmando que MT (tradução automática) não é mais tendência, já é a realidade. Os clientes de serviços de linguagem, provedores de tecnologia, linguistas (nós) e LSPs (Language Service Providers) precisam trabalhar em conjunto nessa nova realidade tecnológica, segundo Fassina. Precisamos começar a abraçar as novas tecnologias e nos especializar cada vez mais. Lugares para bons profissionais sempre existirão no mercado, e a alta especialização será o que diferenciará os tradutores das máquinas. Além de diversidade e inclusão, eis aqui outra palavra que ouvi muito em todo o congresso: “especialização”.

Em seguida, assisti à palestra do Reginaldo Francisco e do Roney Belhassof, “Tradução saindo da torneira?” Criadores do projeto Win-Win, os dois falaram sobre a evolução e as tendências do mercado de tradução. Achei extremamente interessante e relevante a menção que fizeram a uma declaração publicada no site do congresso de 2013 da TAUS (tradução livre minha): “A tradução está se tornando um serviço de utilidade pública, como eletricidade, internet e água, que são serviços de que precisamos no dia a dia, sem os quais nos sentiríamos perdidos. Esses serviços estão sempre disponíveis, inclusive em tempo real, se necessário.” Segundo Reginaldo e Roney, a tradução faz parte do processo de construção cultural e linguística da humanidade.

Ainda não conhece o projeto Win-Win? Acesse o site (link acima) e saiba mais sobre essa iniciativa de democratização da tradução.

Infelizmente, tive que sair da apresentação dessa dupla dinâmica antes do término, pois, em seguida, foi minha segunda apresentação do congresso, “Gerenciamento e curadoria de redes sociais para tradutores”, sobre a qual também falarei em outra publicação separada em breve. Aguardem!

Neste ano, o encerramento do congresso foi antecipado, pois o Brasil estreou na Copa do Mundo contra a Suíça na parte da tarde. No entanto, além de exibir o jogo em um local dedicado especialmente aos torcedores, a Abrates também ofereceu palestras breves, estilo TedTalks, durante o jogo para aqueles que não são fãs de futebol.

Assim como a abertura, o encerramento também foi inovador e inclusivo, com uma palestra apresentada em Libras (Língua Brasileira de Sinais) e interpretada em português e inglês! A professora Marianne Stumpf, da UFSC (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina), deu um show de simpatia com a apresentação “Tradutores surdos: experiências em processos de tradução para Libras”. Fiquei impressionada com o tanto que a comunicação em Libras é bem mais rápida que a comunicação oral! Foi uma experiência incrível para sentirmos um pouco na pele como é ser surdo. Segundo a professora, a visibilidade do intérprete de Libras é maior que a do intérprete comum, tornando a estética e a vestimenta detalhes importantes, pois influenciam na interpretação. Ilustrando a diferença entre as línguas de sinais de diferentes países, Stumpf nos contou que, por exemplo, o sinal que fazemos com o dedo médio, que é uma ofensa aqui no Brasil, significa “férias” na língua internacional de sinais. O número total de alunos surdos no Brasil é de 5,7 milhões, desde a educação básica até cursos superiores.


Marianne Stumpf. Crédito: Renato Beninatto.

Desde o congresso realizado em Belo Horizonte, em 2013 (que, aliás, foi o ano de criação deste blog), não perco uma edição. O congresso já teve um número recorde de participantes (quase 900, em 2015, em São Paulo), localizações diferentes (como a de Belo Horizonte), palestras memoráveis (abertura com Leandro Karnal, no ano passado, em São Paulo), mas essa edição foi linda! O William Cassemiro, que ocupou o cargo de presidente de 2016 a este ano, encerrou seu mandato e seu lindo trabalho na associação com chave de ouro. Deu um show de inclusão e lição de vida a todos nós com as palestras de abertura e de encerramento. A Abrates sempre é sinal de inovação. Foi a primeira a fornecer interpretação simultânea e de Libras em seus congressos. Agora inovou mais uma vez com dois palestrantes negros de abertura, um homem e uma mulher, e uma palestrante em Libras no encerramento. Tenho muito orgulho de ser membro de uma associação que se preocupa também com a humanidade, a diversidade e a inclusão.

Agora, quem assume o cargo de presidente por dois anos é o Ricardo Souza. E ele já disse que o próximo congresso, que será realizado no ano que vem (data a ser definida) em São Paulo, promete, pois, além de ser a 10ª edição, será o aniversário de 45 anos da Abrates. Mal posso esperar!

Não perca estes outros relatos:
O início, o fim e o e-mail, por Maíra Monteiro
Resumo do 1º dia do Congresso da ABRATES, por Rayza Ferreira (também há a 2ª e 3ª partes)
Diversidade e inclusão, pautas de toda profissão, por Carolina Walliter

Tradução e interpretação: inclusão de palavra em palavra – Parte 1

Nesse último fim de semana, de 15 a 17 de junho, foi realizado o 9º Congresso Internacional de Tradução e Interpretação da Abrates (Associação Brasileira de Tradutores e Intérpretes), no Rio de Janeiro. A localização não poderia ser melhor: Rio Othon Palace, hotel em frente à praia de Copacabana, cuja beleza nem o tempo ruim foi capaz de diminuir.

Eu e minha grande amiga Carolina Ventura, supercompanheira de aventuras e de profissão, chegamos já na quinta-feira, pois queríamos aproveitar para descansar um pouco antes do congresso e aproveitar a cidade. O tempo, como eu já disse, não ajudou muito, mas conseguimos pelos menos ir à Confeitaria Colombo comer torrada Petrópolis e nos encantar com sua beleza.

Na sexta-feira, aproveitei a tarde para gravar alguns episódios para o podcast TradTalk que, aliás, voltará com a segunda temporada no mês de julho. Aguardem! Conversei com a Ana Julia Perrotti-Garcia; a Liz e a Pati, da Ideal Translation; e o Fabiano Cid, da Ccaps. Todos bate-papos deliciosos! Mal posso esperar para vocês ouvirem/assistirem.

Com o tema “Tradução e interpretação: inclusão de palavra em palavra”, os keynotes de abertura, Petê Rissatti e Rane Souza, mostraram que o tema da inclusão e da diversidade seria o foco do congresso. Como disse Roney Belhassof no Twitter, “É emocionante estar em um congresso com dois keynote speakers negros. Um homem e uma mulher.” Não deveria nos causar estranheza (boa, nesse caso), mas como disse o próprio Petê, embora estejamos em pleno 2018, infelizmente, ainda é necessário discutir alguns tópicos. Petê é negro, gay e candomblecista e fala com conhecimento de causa. Segundo ele, não temos o direito de dar nossa opinião sobre o lugar de fala alheio, mas podemos, sim, falar segundo o nosso ponto de vista, de forma empática. Concordo com ele quando diz que traduzir e interpretar são atos de empatia. Consequentemente, todo tradutor/intérprete precisa ser empático e entender o outro. E, para sermos empáticos, precisamos nos livrar dos preconceitos. Petê, tradutor literário, encerra sua emocionante fala exigindo respeito: “Não dá pra continuar do jeito que está. Nós temos pressa!”


Petê Rissatti

Tanto no encerramento da fala do Petê quanto no início da fala de Rane Souza, também tradutora, Marielle Franco é mencionada. Rane, por sua vez, nos mostrou números e fatos da história negra no Brasil. Embora seja falado em minoria, 56% da população brasileira é negra/parda. Infelizmente, não há dados específicos sobre o mercado da tradução, mas no Jogo do Privilégio, proposto por ela, pudemos ver que não há representatividade. Entre os cerca de dez voluntários, apenas dois eram negros. O propósito do jogo, criado pelo Instituto Identidade do Brasil, é mostrar como a desigualdade racial afeta todos os aspectos da vida dos negros. A princípio, muita gente, inclusive eu, acreditou que o jogo não funcionaria; afinal de contas, quem estava lá, querendo ou não, teve uma realidade de vida diversa. No entanto, o jogo foi chocante e emocionou a nós todos. Uma coisa é ouvirmos falar sobre desigualdade racial; outra coisa é vermos ou sermos expostos, de alguma forma, às consequências dela. Por fim Rane nos disse: “Sou perseguida por policiais TODOS os dias em lojas e estabelecimentos comerciais!”

Assim como na hora, agora fiquei novamente sem ação (e com lágrimas nos olhos) após relembrar essa frase impactante. Eu, em toda a minha brancura, jamais saberei na pele o que é isso. No entanto, fico feliz em sentir, com ela, com o Petê, com a tragédia da Marielle Franco, com meus amigos. Ao chorar ouvindo relatos desse tipo, dou-me conta de que sou humana, que sinto as dores dos meus iguais, que respeito o lugar de fala alheio e só posso tentar entender, embora saiba que jamais serei capaz de saber de fato como é. Isso é um sinal de que estou no caminho certo e que é meu dever como ser humano ajudar meus iguais.


Rane Souza

Fazendo uma ponte com a fala de abertura do William Cassemiro, presidente anterior da Abrates, Rane encerra ressaltando que precisamos estimular a profissionalização do nosso mercado em todos os sentidos, inclusive para os negros. O que podemos fazer? Observar nossas próprias práticas e aumentar a representatividade. O negro se sente mais à vontade sendo traduzido/interpretado por outro negro.

Após toda essa carga emocional e inclusiva da abertura, o primeiro dia de palestras começou, para mim, também com chave de ouro com a apresentação da Aline Tomasuolo, com o título “O método Starbucks aplicado ao mundo da tradução”. A Aline foi mentorada do Programa de Mentoria da Abrates, na época em que eu ainda era coordenadora, e me deixou impressionada com sua evolução profissional. Apresentação visualmente impecável, conteúdo extremamente relevante, detalhes que fizeram a diferença. Ela aplicou em sua apresentação e comprovou, com isso, que também aplica sua fala na prática: padronização de qualidade e personalização do atendimento. Aline disse que, segundo a Adobe, no futuro, as pessoas não comprarão mais produtos, mas experiências. Eu acredito que isso já seja verdade. Pense nos serviços que você usa, nos produtos que consome. A padronização e a personalização aumentam a valorização do mercado de tradução. Um cliente encantado resulta em fidelização e divulgação. Como tradutores, precisamos assumir nossa identidade. As palavras têm poder. Não “fazemos” tradução, somos tradutores! Além disso, devemos manter um canal de comunicação aberto e claro com os clientes, informando sobre disponibilidades/indisponibilidades, e descobrir a preferência de cada um deles. Com isso, nossa própria humanidade acaba sendo um diferencial nos serviços que prestamos no atual mundo tecnológico.

A segunda palestra à qual assisti foi “O método Harvard de negociação para tradutores e intérpretes”, por Claudio Pereira. Uma das principais dicas do Claudio foi que, em uma negociação, devemos focar no problema, não nas pessoas. Segundo ele, devemos ter critérios objetivos e diferentes opções. Precisamos entender o cliente, nos preparar e vender o serviço antes de informar o preço: mostrando os valores que serão agregados com ele. Devemos nos comunicar com segurança e passar segurança para o cliente, descobrir pontos em comum/conflitantes: o que o cliente sabe sobre nós e vice-versa é relevante em uma negociação. Devemos ser criativos e pensar em diferentes formas de satisfação mútua.

Como vocês podem ver, não cheguei nem na hora do almoço do primeiro dia ainda e já teve muita coisa legal! Como ainda tenho muita coisa interessante para passar para vocês, deixarei para uma segunda publicação, em breve, não se preocupem. Fiquem ligados!

Greatest Women in Translation: Jen Calleja


Created by Érick Tonin.

Welcome back to our Greatest Women in Translation interview series!

This month’s interviewee is Jen Calleja, British writer and literary translator, nominated by Rosalind Harvey.

Welcome, Jen!

Jen Calleja

Created with Canva. Picture credit: Robin Christian.

1. You’re about to conclude your residency at the British Library (you are their first Translator in Residence). How was the experience?

I feel really happy with what I managed to do at the BL one day a week for a year during the residency – it actually took a year to believe and appreciate that I had got this residency.

I held open forums with staff about the languages they used at work, wrote poetry based on the poet-translator Michael Hamburger’s archive, created and led a weekend creative masterclass for writers and translators, and organized and chaired three panel discussions, and some other things.

Coming from a DIY music and grassroots activism background has informed my compulsion to demystify translation and empower people to try translating who may not have thought it was – as a thing or as a practice – ‘for them’. I tried to always envision an audience comprised of the generally interested but monolingual person, multilingual people who have never explored translation and/or haven’t seen multilingualism celebrated and nourished in the UK setting, and those interested in literature but who didn’t necessarily have any knowledge of translation.

I am indeed in a phase of concluding – and a new resident is starting this month – but my residency has actually been extended to match the new resident’s day-and-a-half-a-week allowance, enabled by the Institute for Modern Languages Research joining the BL and the Arts and Humanities Research Council as a third partner for the residency going forward. I’ll use the time to mentor the new resident, write some more Hamburger poems and complete a video project. Oh, and create a movement performance. And maybe something else.

2. What’s your story with the German language?

Well, I often get asked if there’s any family collection, but I just always liked the way German was put together and sounded, and the way it expressed things. My dad’s Maltese but my brother and I weren’t brought up with Maltese or Italian, only English, but it’s probably why I ended up going into languages.

I studied it at GCSE and A-Level – along with French – and actually ended up being the only student doing any language at my school post-GCSE, which was a bit of a lonely and disheartening experience. They actually wanted to cancel languages that year but there weren’t any other local colleges that could take me. My teachers were overworked and they tried their best, but a mixture of our lack of motivation ended up with me passing with a B in German and C in French at A-level.

A former student at my school who had gone on to study modern languages and had then moved to Munich came to visit teachers and we were introduced and she casually said that if I ever wanted to spend some time in Germany I could come and live with her. Literally two months after finishing my A-levels I moved to Munich. I lived with her for two weeks, a morose and clueless 18 year old, then was a terrible au pair, then got a nice office job as an editor and typist working predominantly in English. When I got there I realized that a B-grade A-level in German was useless, my German was awful. I ended up living there for eighteen months, got my own place, got a social life – I started going to gigs three or four times a week – started seeing a guy there, and my German obviously got better.

I then moved to London to take up a place studying Media and Modern Literature with Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, but in my second year I missed the German language so decided to read German literature in my spare time (I’d read only English literature in Munich). The first book was Bernhard Schlink’s Der Vorleser (The Reader) and it took me about a year to get through it. By the time I finished my degree I knew I wanted to specialize in German so did a Masters in German Language, Culture and History at UCL taking courses in German art and literature, and also took a life-changing course in Translation Theory and Practice, which I ended up specializing in for my dissertation.
I graduated in 2012 and got my first book translation job – a YA book – while finishing my MA because a friend remembered me saying I wanted to translate German literature and told a friend of a friend who needed someone to translate a book.

I would say I’ve learned how to translate literature on the job, literally by doing it. I’m now on books 11 and 12.

3. You are such a diverse professional: writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry; literary translator; columnist for literature in translation; editor; co-director and trainer; and last by not least musician! I’m curious, just like Rosalind, who nominated you, how do you juggle everything “with such aplomb,” according to her words?

Ha, it’s nice of her to say, and it’s a question I get asked quite often. I suppose I started by doing everything I wanted to do (writing, reading German lit, starting a band) when I was about nineteen to see what I liked the most – but then I didn’t want to compromise so ended up doing everything, and each thing is important to me. I like always having one foot in and one foot out of things – different ‘scenes’ and expertise such as poetry, music, translation – because it helps me keep perspective and view things from the outside. I just have a compulsion to do it all, and I know other people who have similar lives. Each thing also informs the other thing. Not an average day, but a day I’ve actually had was when I had to be at the BBC at 8 in the morning to speak on live TV about the anti-harassment campaign I help coordinate, then go to the British Library to send some residency emails and finish a sample translation, and then I got picked up to go on tour for a couple of days. I would say it’s getting harder to deal with the lack of balance and the stress though – something’s going to have to give this year I think.

4. Do you think that being a writer helps as a translator? If so, how?

I started as a writer – I’ve been writing stories and poems since I was about 17 – and I approach translating as a storyteller passing on someone’s story the best way I can. To me the processes are extremely similar. As a writer you’re used to trying out different words and sentences to see what works best, and you do the same thing when translating. Every sentence starts with ‘how would I say this if I had to say it immediately’ and then you go from there to make it fit in the context, make it fit the voice and the tone, while making sure the intention and vital information behind that line or word isn’t lost. There’s really just one additional starting layer – the original text! I’m also aware of what’s happening in writing and poetry and can see connections and threads leading from German literature into English literature and vice versa. Being a big reader in the language you’re translating into is so vital – after all, you’re creating something that has to fit within the English literature context.

5. You voluntarily coordinate the Good Night Out campaign, an organization that tackles harassment in the night-time economy. That seems quite interesting and fitting for this series (being it focused on women). Could you tell us a bit more about it?

Good Night Out was founded by someone I knew from the DIY music scene called Bryony Beynon and then two years ago she brought on a few people to help run it. We’re now a community interest company and are all Directors. We train staff in pubs, student unions, clubs (bar staff, managers, door staff, cloakroom staff and glass collectors, everyone!) how to handle disclosures of harassment – predominantly sexual harassment, but importantly how this also intersects with racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism etc. We know that anyone can be harassed on a night out, but statistically it will be women and those who identify as LGBTQ+ who are harassed the most. Staff aren’t usually trained in how to react or handle this kind of situation, so we want them to feel comfortable to handle it professionally and calmly and that someone who has been harassed isn’t left feeling even worse after reporting it. Belief is the biggest issue, and not taking it seriously enough – a lot of the time people try to brush it off because they don’t know what to say or do, and because we don’t take it seriously as a society.

Harassment is everyone’s problem.

I give training and train new trainers, plus act as a spokeswoman and coordinate a couple of our partnerships. I’d like to work on getting literary venues and event spaces involved.

6. According to your website, you are “keen to mentor emerging writers and translators from less privileged backgrounds, those who haven’t attended university, or are the first in their family to attend university.” That is very kind and thoughtful of you! How does your translator mentoring work?

As soon as I felt like I had knowledge to pass on I wanted to mentor, and wanted to try and do it as part of the BL residency but didn’t have time. Then I was offered to be a mentor for the British Council’s Translation Fellowship, and also received a translation mentee via Goldsmiths Alumni services after I signed up to be a mentor. We know from the great research and data gathering people in the literary scene and publishing sector have been doing that. The literary world we inhabit is disproportionately white and middle-class, and I’d like to help more people basically like me – I was the first person in my family to go to university, I’m from a working-class background with Maltese and Anglo-Irish parents – and from various and non-traditional walks of life help getting into literary translation and writing. I tend to give around five hours of my time so the mentee can pick my brains, see some of my reader reports, learn some do’s and don’ts, and so we can discuss one of their sample translations and edit it together if they like. I’d like to do more in the future.

7. Now it’s your turn to nominate our next Great Woman in Translation.

I’d like to nominate Nicky Smalley, translator from (mainly) Swedish and publicist for publisher And Other Stories. She is not only a translator but someone who works tirelessly to promote literature in translation and has been super involved in AoS’s Year of Publishing Women – which has for them been a big year of publishing women in translation. She also mentored for the British Council and I’m always happy to see her at events and out and about.

Greatest Women in Translation: Rosalind Harvey


Created by Érick Tonin.

Welcome back to our Greatest Women in Translation interview series!

Our last interviewee, Anna Holmwood, nominated Rosalind Harvey.

Welcome, Rosalind!


Created with Canva.

1. You translate from Spanish into English and have translated literature from different Hispanic countries. How are they different among each other, including in terms of translation?

The various Spanishes around the world are pretty different from each other, and between Latin American countries the difference can be even greater than between Latin American and Iberian Spanish. Not only in terms of pronunciation, which varies wildly, but also vocabulary and grammar. I fell head over heels with Spanish as an undergraduate student on my year abroad in Peru, and the Spanish spoken there is usually described as one of the clearest and easiest for beginners (luckily for me!); while I was there I spoke very little English, even began dreaming in Spanish, and I’ve also spent time in Ecuador, Argentina and Colombia so, for me, the rhythms and cadences of Latin American Spanish are still the ones I respond most strongly to. In terms of translation, I always feel more drawn to Latin American writers because I feel closer to the culture and way of speaking, although I have translated two Spanish authors so far. In the end though, as long as I respond personally to a text and am able to have access to the author when translating (this is why I haven’t to date worked on any dead authors!), it doesn’t really matter to me where the text is from.

2. You created, along with theater group Coney, a real-world translation game called Wordkeys. Can you tell us about it?

In 2011 I was the first translator in residence at the Free Word Centre in London, and my remit was to demystify literary translation by developing a programme of public events around the practice. I programmed a few talks and more conventional activities, but I knew from the start that I wanted to do something that would take people out into the street and talking to strangers, because this is where real-world translation happens, and it is something that all of us engage in every day, very often without realizing it. I approached Coney because they had done work for an organization my then-boyfriend was involved with, Guerilla Science, which puts on fun, wacky events about science for the general public. Coney’s members all have theatre backgrounds and they’ve developed what you might call ‘real-world’ games for adults, people who have forgotten to or no longer have the chance to play in their lives, and playfulness is such an important aspect of literary translation, as well as performance, so it was a perfect fit. The game works like this: there are two teams who uncover clues hidden around an outside space, clues written in a foreign language which they have to translate, and then at the end there’s a shared activity the teams have to perform together. It’s easier to explain by watching a video!

3. In this interview you gave to Free Word, you said that “[a]s translators, we can stand up for ourselves more,” and gave a few examples of what we can do, such as “try and demand the recommended rates.” What recommended rates do you refer to? In Brazil, our union, Sintra, has a table of recommended rates for different translation services, but I’m not aware of any other.

‘Recommended’ is actually not quite the right word. In the UK we are lucky to have the Translators Association, a subgroup of the Society of Authors, and every year its committee meets to discuss what (due to legal reasons) we have to call the ‘observed rate’. Currently this is £95 per thousand words for prose, and £1.10 per line of poetry with a minimum of £35 per poem. A different approach is often taken with illustrated children’s books or graphic novels, but the general gist is that this is roughly the amount that certain UK publishers have been observed to pay to translators. This doesn’t mean that it’s the recommended rate, nor that it is an amount that all publishers will pay (unfortunately!), but is meant to be a minimum, and indeed English PEN will only fund books in translation where the publisher has agreed that they will pay the translator this minimum. We also need to take into account that this rate, aside from being a per-word figure, will often include any time taken to look over edits, any time taken to promote the book. Ultimately, I think it’s important that we recognize that our work is work, that it takes time and effort, and that, unless you are a student (in which case, working for free can be a useful way to gain experience), you should be properly remunerated for it.

4. You teach Modern Spanish Language; Language, Text and Identity; and Translation: Methods and Practice at University of Warwick. What are some important advice you give to your students who are about to enter the translation market?

Read voraciously, figure out what you like to read and who in the UK is publishing that kind of work, put yourself in situations where you will be around other translators to share knowledge, follow closely what is happening in the literary arena in the country whose language you will be working from (ie keeping abreast of literary prizes and finding out who your favourite authors’ favourite authors are), try to gain at least a basic understanding of how the publishing industry works… and don’t give up the day job!

5. You are chair and co-founder of the Emerging Translators Network, an email-based peer-to-peer support group for early-career literary translators working into English (primarily). Could you tell us more about it?

The ETN was founded by myself, Anna Holmwood (your previous interviewee) and Jamie Lee Searle, who translates from German, in 2011, when we half-jokingly described ourselves as ‘the forgotten child stars of literary translation’ – we had all had one book out, which had received a nice amount of attention, and we weren’t sure what to do next to ride the momentum. The world of an early-career literary translator still felt a little disjointed back then: people with one less book than us under their belt were unable to join the Translators Association (you can only join once you have a contract) and so to connect themselves to other working translators; we would all occasionally bump into each other by chance at a a book fair or a launch, but it wasn’t very organized or formal. We wanted to create a friendly space for people at that stage of their career to come together and share experience, advice and good practice, and so we set up a Google Group and started adding members. It quickly grew into this brilliant online community of practitioners talking about a whole range of issues: really practical, nuts-and-bolts things as well as esoteric discussions of semi-colon use. We held a sell-out conference in 2014, and now have over 1,000 members, and I think it’s safe to say that it has changed the landscape of literary translation in that it’s made it easier for what has traditionally been a very disparate group of shy professionals into a group with far more visibility, a louder voice, and an idea of what our shared goals are. I’m very proud of what we achieved, and I’d like to say thank you to all of our members for making the community as wonderful as it is!

6. How do you juggle translation work with teaching?

The short answer is, I don’t! (weeps gently). No, but seriously: it’s not easy, but without the day job I wouldn’t be able to survive, and I think it’s really important to talk about that, about the money side of things. Before I got into teaching I worked for around 10 years as a freelance translator alongside various other things (bookselling, being a university receptionist, private Spanish tutoring, and working in a Chinese furniture shop), and for most of that time I struggled financially. I was building up my career, but I was cash poor and time poor! Now I’m cash-comfortable but time-destitute, and my goal for the near future is to develop a balance so that I can translate one book a year in the holidays, when teaching stops and I have time to focus, and I think that will keep me satisfied – along with shoehorning as much literature into my translation classes as I can get away with. What’s also nice now is that I can use my own translations in lessons, something the students often find valuable as a book is such a tangible thing compare to an obscure academic paper, and it means they’re able to see the link between what they’re studying and a way they might use their skills in the future. It’s always fun to get them to critique my own translations to start a discussion about how no translation (or original!) is ever perfect and it’s such a subjective process, which is particularly valuable in an age when education can be far too focused on right or wrong answers and ease of measurability and results.

7. Now it’s your turn to nominate our next Great Woman in Translation.

I’d like to nominate Jen Calleja, who is a translator from the German, editor, poet, current translator in residence at the British Library, a member of the band Sauna Youth, and an ambassador for the Good night out …. – partly because I admire the way she brings feminism/activism into her work, but mainly, if I’m honest, it’s because I want to know how the hell she finds time to do all the creative things she does with such aplomb!

Practical tips for translating and publishing Greek documents


Image provided by the author. Source:

Translating a medical document from other languages is hard enough without having to deal with a complex one like Greek. Although the grammar is logical, Greek is still one of the most complex languages to translate; especially if it’s your first time.

Of all the European languages, Greek poses a number of unique challenges during translation and desktop publishing. Even though many medical devices and drug companies face these challenges with Greek documents, there are straight-forward solutions to overcoming them.


Image provided by the author. Source:

All-caps styles

The Challenge:

Operating manuals frequently make use of an all-caps style for titles within the body of the text. The table of contents (TOC) might be set up to combine an initial cap followed by lowercase letters. In other words, the title “OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS” would be listed in the TOC as “Operating Instructions.”

This technique works well in many languages. In Greek, however, there are certain letters (accented vowels, e.g., Ü Ý Þ ß ü   and the final sigma “ò”) that do not automatically map to the appropriate capital letter. For instance, the final sigma maps to a bullet point when the “all caps” style is applied.

The result is that to make the all-caps titles appear correctly, editors must manipulate the TOC manually, i.e., replace the bullet with a capital sigma. In the case of larger manuals, where the TOC can run for a dozen pages or more, a full day of work would be required to perform the revision.

Suggested Solution:

The all-caps style should not be used in IFUs or manuals that will be localized into Greek. Instead, develop Greek-specific templates and styles that provide for appropriate capitalization of titles.

Text expansion

The Challenge:

When translated from English, Greek text typically expands by 30 percent and, depending on the translator, often more than that. As text length increases, so does the need for more desktop publishing time:

  • Greek hyphenation dictionaries do not exist, requiring the manual hyphenation of formatted text.
  • If the source templates were designed without text expansion in mind, quite a bit of work may be needed to prepare the master pages for Greek text.
  • Given the larger number of pages, a Greek document will require more time for fixing reflowing text and for proofreading formatted pages.

Suggested Solution:

Carefully review your source-language templates to ensure that the longer Greek document reflows with a minimum of manual rework.

 Fine-tuning index entries

The Challenge:

The “code pages” used by Greek operating systems are different from those used by Roman languages. This means that many applications or parts of applications cannot “read” Greek text and display it as gobbledygook.

An example of this limitation is the Marker editing tool in Adobe FrameMaker, which cannot display Greek text, even though the Greek manual itself displays just fine. As a result, not even the simplest of index errors can be repaired by a desktop publishing specialist working on an English operating system.

Suggested Solution:

To ensure the accuracy of the index, the production process needs to account for the time needed by Greek linguists to review and fine-tune index entries and the compiled index on Greek operating systems.

Alpha-sorted elements

The Challenge:

Another challenge that is related to code-page conflicts concerns alpha-sorted elements, e.g., footnotes with alpha designations, alpha-sorted lists, and the index. An English operating system provides A-Z alpha sorts, not Alpha-Omega sorts as required in Greek.

The result is that any automatically generated alpha sorts in the body need to be manually overridden in Greek documents, an additional and potentially time-consuming task. In the index, reference pages must be revised to ensure that the index sorts as necessary.

Suggested Solution:

Where possible, replace alpha-sorted lists and footnotes with numbered lists and footnotes; this will reduce the cost of manual rework and thus improve the overall quality of the documentation.

Translating Greek Medical Documents Requires Patience!

Greek is an inflected language, which means that the words change to convey meaning. Whereas the English language depends solely on word order to convey meaning, Greek relies on changes to the words themselves in order to make sense.

The publishing of Greek documentation presents a handful of unique challenges. However, with careful planning and the development of Greek-specific process steps, it is possible to hold down Greek publication costs and produce high-quality deliverables.

About the author
otd_logoOn The Dot Translations is a New York-based firm that offers translation services in every language. You can contact us 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. Our translators have specialized fields, they get the job done fast without compromising our high quality standards.

IT translation reference material


Photo by on Unsplash

Information Technology (IT) translators, like myself, are used to strictly following different reference material. Even when the client has its own glossary and style guide, not always are they totally comprehensive so we have to turn to third-party resources. Luckily, there are some recognized and trusted sources we can follow to base our linguistic decisions on, and not simply throw in anything we like. Personal preference should be our last option.

The most widely used and trusted reference source is Microsoft. Other large IT brands even mention it in their own style guides, instructing the linguist to use it as reference if something is not included in their material. Microsoft has recently (late last year) updated their Writing Style Guide (you can download the PDF for free in the link). It contains topics related to capitalization, punctuation, numbers, URLs and web addresses, everything one expects from an IT style guide. This guide applies to the English language, but you can also find one for your language here (including Brazilian Portuguese, last updated on June 2017). The language-specific style guides are only downloadable (also free of charge); they are not available online.

Microsoft also has an online Language Portal where you can search for terms in different languages, including Brazilian Portuguese. It shows results in its Terminology Collection and in localized Microsoft products in three columns: English, Translation and Definition/Product. This is a fantastic resource! It’s bookmarked in my browser so I can easily access it whenever I need, which is every day.

Apple, another trusted source, also provides its style guide online (in English).

If you know of any other publicly available IT style guide and/or glossary, please feel free to share it in the comments.

Greatest Women in Translation: Anna Holmwood


Created by Érick Tonin

Welcome back to our Greatest Women in Translation interview series!

Our interviewee today is Anna Holmwood, Chinese and Swedish literary translator.

Anna Holmwood

Created with Canva

1. According to The Guardian, Jin Yong is the world’s biggest kung fu fantasy writer, enjoying huge popularity in the Chinese-speaking world and being among the 10 bestselling authors. However, his name is barely known to the rest of the world “due to the complexity of the world he has created and the puzzle that has posed for translators.” As the translator of one of his books, what is this complexity and the puzzle about?

There are many reasons why Jin Yong’s work has not been published by a trade publisher in English before (and barely in any other language either, for that matter). Jin Yong first stories were published in his Hong Kong newspaper in serial form in the 1950s, but due to the political upheavals of the time, he only became a household name in China and Taiwan in the 1980s and 1990s. Contact between the Chinese-speaking world and the west only really started to pick up in intensity in the 1990s, and in terms of deeper understanding, I think we are really only at the beginning of what will turn out to be a big shift in world culture as we start to understand Asia better and they take their place at the centre of the world stage. Jin Yong’s stories are grounded in a particularly Chinese genre that dates back several hundred years, but he was also someone who modernised martial arts fiction and made it relevant again. His significance to contemporary writers of kung fu novels cannot be understated. As no martial arts fiction has been translated by a trade publisher in English, editors are understandably a bit unsure – will it sell? Will readers connect? But it makes sense to start with the master, if anyone can make martial arts fiction popular in the west, surely it has to be Jin Yong?

2. In this same article mentioned in question 1, you say that you don’t explain everything in the book because you believe “readers like a bit of a challenge.” That’s a tough decision to make – whether to provide more contextual and cultural information to the reader or not through footnotes or any other sort of side note to the original. How did you come to this decision?

Reading is no fun if it’s too easy! But indeed, you have to maintain a balance between provoking a reader’s interest and losing them completely due to incomprehensibility. In the case of Jin Yong, the broad sweep of the story, the emotional worlds of the characters, the moral framework behind their actions: all these things translate very easily in my opinion. The parts that are more difficult are mostly in the detail, the elements of Chinese medicine or historical references that are perfectly obvious to a Chinese reader. And yet, it is my opinion that an English reader doesn’t need to understand everything on the same level as his/her Chinese counterpart. I would rather that a translation inspires a reader to explore something further than sacrifices the energy and flow in order to make every detail plain.

3. The first volume of Jin Yong’s most popular trilogy, A Hero Born, was translated by yourself (taking you five years). The other two volumes are being translated by different translators. How was this experience of sharing a series of books with other translators?

Actually, I am working with one other translator only, Gigi Chang. I will work on the odd numbers, she’s doing the even numbers. It’s been great to have her on board – she started working on book two just after I finished and handed in book 1 to our editors. We’ve been able to bounce around ideas and she was someone for me to bounce ideas around with during the editing process, so I can’t imagine not having her with me on this journey now. We are in daily contact, despite living on opposite sides of the world. It’s been very important for us to find a way to work together that gives each translator the freedom to work in their own way, but to come together to create a joint voice for Jin Yong in English. This is no small task! But I feel very lucky to have found someone with whom I work so well together.

4. You have been recently appointed Foreign Rights Manager at DKW Agency. What exactly does this role entail?

I am in charge of selling translation rights for our authors, which means, selling into all territories apart from English-speaking ones. This means meeting and talking with editors from all around the world and finding out what books are popular in their markets, what kinds of stories they think resonate with their readers and what excites them personally. It’s a brilliant counterpoint to doing all the detailed work of translating, it’s the best way to get a “bigger picture” of what happens when a book travels across languages.

5. Besides translating from Chinese, you also translate from Swedish. And I must say this article on your translation The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled From India to Europe for Love, by Per J. Andersson, captivated me. It must have been a real joy to translate it. Could you tell us a bit more about it?

I loved translating this. PK’s story is incredibly inspiring, and I know from having had contact with him during the translation process, he is as humble and committed to living a life founded on love and acceptance as he comes across in Per’s book. It made for a nice change to Chinese martial arts. It’s that balance between different projects and languages that makes my job fun.

6. What are the differences between translating from Chinese and from Swedish in terms of difficulties or even joys?

I learned Swedish as a child because my mother is Swedish. As such, the ways I came to speak Mandarin and Swedish could not be different – one was from immersion only, I have barely any formal education in Swedish. The other I studied as an adult, alongside courses in the history, economy, politics and of course literature of China. When I first started out, the difference was perhaps more pronounced. I found dialogue in Swedish came very naturally, I understood things by tone and instinct in a way that I didn’t in Mandarin. I have since married and had a child “in Chinese” however, so the intellectual/emotional distinction no longer feels so strong. Now that I live and work in Sweden, I can feel the two languages converge.

There is, of course, a huge difference in terms of literary culture. Swedish fiction has greater and deeper connections to English writing, the underlying grammar and values are far more similar, so translating between these two is like crossing a stream, where Chinese to English translation requires a long-distance ferry-ride across a wide ocean. I think we underestimate how culturally specific our notions of “good writing” really are, and as such, translating between European languages rarely challenges readers at the level of what is fiction, how do we structure a story. There are many cases of Chinese genres that do not have simple equivalents. Crime writing, poetry, essays: these look very different in Chinese. This presents translators and editors with a far bigger challenge than I think the industry is prepared to recognise. And similarly, many types of writing that are popular in the west don’t work in China, for example.

7. Now it’s your turn to nominate our next Great Woman in Translation.

I’d like to nominate Rosalind Harvey for the next interview!

Women, unite, go out and kick ass

This weekend I watched Mary Magdalene in the movies. I wasn’t expecting much of it, but it really touched me. It may be due to the current scenario. You may have heard of the Brazilian council woman Marielle Franco’s assassination here in Brazil last week (if not, here’s an article about it, and a quick search on Google will provide you with more information about this brutal murder). Besides, if you are a woman, you know the struggles we all go through, some more than others. If not, you may at least have an idea or have heard of what it’s like.

I thought the movie is really touching, but this line by a woman particularly stroke me:

We’re women. Our lives are not our own.

It suddenly occurred to me that we go through the same problems since forever. Our current reality is not that different from the reality at that time. When I start thinking the only difference is that we are more open to speaking up, Marielle’s tragic story reminds me we are not.

So are our hands tied? Isn’t there anything we can do? Should we simply conform? NO! We will not be silenced.

We do have more success stories, inspiring movies (have you watched Black Panther?), amazing role models out there to help us get inspired, not give up and keep on fighting. Together, we are stronger.

Besides doing my part setting the example and speaking up when I can, I host an interview series, Greatest Women in Translation. This is my teeny tiny contribution to making ourselves seen and valued, as translators. Now, I came up with another idea for women in general. What we need is inspiration and being valued for what we are and do, not for our looks. Every single one of us is important, but sometimes we lack recognition, support, love. Something simple we can do to strengthen our bond and empower other women is recognize them.

Therefore, I suggest you, whoever you are regardless of gender, leave a comment below telling us who the woman you admire the most are, whoever they are, and why. Which women inspire you, always teach you something or make the difference in your life or even in the world? Go even beyond that and let them know somehow.

I’ll start by naming mine:

  • My mom. I know it’s tacky, but it’s the truth. She’s a strong and determined woman who worked a lot to raise three girls and provide them with what she wasn’t able to have: education. She worked with my dad, but she was the one behind everything. She traveled a lot, spent sleepless nights, never fretted and imposed herself. Most of what I am today I owe to her.
  • My dear friend Carolina Ventura. She’s married and a mom of two lovely girls. Being single and having no kids, I always admire those who run a business having a family. And I think she is the perfect example of it. She’s an admirable professional who exemplary juggles business with family and a quality personal life. A great translator, mom, wife, daughter and friend.
  • Emma Watson. She had everything to take a different path: a beautiful face in Hollywood amidst smashing fame with the Harry Potter movies. Instead, she chose the path to do good and make a difference in the world, including empowering women.

I’m inspired by many other amazing women, from my family (I have an aunt who defied my grandparents and pursued her studies anyway – the only woman to do so in her house; later moved to another country due to lack of recognition in her own, and now lives with her husband, daughter and son far from her entire family), friends, and famous people (e.g. Michele Obama), but I just wanted to give an example in each of those groups.

The world will only change as we change. I will not be silent. I will be heard.
Mary Magdalene, in the movie

Now it’s your turn. Empower someone who you admire by recognizing her in the comments below.

In need to feel inspired? Here are some inspiring quotes by inspiring women.

Guest post: Português e suas variantes

Sejam bem-vindos de volta a mais uma publicação convidada, queridos leitores!

Hoje, tenho o prazer de receber uma colega que divide a variante do português do outro lado do oceano, a portuguesa Tina Duarte.

Seja bem-vinda, Tina!


Imagem fornecida pela autora

De braço dado

Não me recordo exactamente que idade tinha quando peguei pela primeira vez num livro de Jorge Amado, que me condenou a uma paixão eterna por um universo de personagens tão ricas e com tantos matizes, e pela forma, ora doce, ora crua, como as palavras tão bem desenhavam a história, mas creio que teria uns treze anos. Nessa altura, já conhecia Jorge Amado de nome, lembrava-me vagamente da Gabriela e do Seu Nacib[1] na televisão e já me tinha deixado encantar pelo “português com açúcar[2]” das histórias infantis de um disco de vinil, que uma amiga da família tinha trazido do Brasil, e que eu ouvia sempre com muita atenção, sentada ao lado do gira-discos.

Cresci e aqueles livros e aquelas personagens abriram a porta a um mundo desconhecido, que me fez querer conhecer escritores, cantores, músicos e artistas brasileiros. Para além da perspectiva diferente que uma cultura distinta da nossa nos garante, havia sempre a possibilidade de apreciar a língua, a forma como do outro lado do Atlântico se desconstruíam e verbalizavam emoções, se descreviam situações e realidades. Este gosto muito particular, hoje aliado ao exercício da minha actividade como tradutora, prevalece e continuo atenta à evolução e às diferenças que estas duas variantes da língua apresentam.

A língua portuguesa levada ao Brasil, a países africanos e regiões asiáticas por conta da expansão do território de Portugal, durante os Descobrimentos, tem 273 milhões de falantes, é língua oficial de nove países e uma região administrativa especial, sendo o Brasil o que regista um maior número de habitantes, tornando assim incontornável o seu contributo para a divulgação e importância da língua ao longo dos anos.

Esta nossa língua regista diferenças significativas entre o Português que se fala em Portugal e o Português que se fala no Brasil, quer a nível de ortografia, fonética, semântica, sintaxe e morfologia. Na base dessas diferenças, coexistem as diferentes influências que a língua foi absorvendo de um lado e do outro. Assim, denotamos a existência de inúmeros vocábulos derivados da língua tupi e o predomínio exercido pelo inglês (por proximidade geográfica aos Estados Unidos) no Português do Brasil, ao passo que, do lado de cá do Atlântico, será mais forte a influência de outras línguas românicas. A compreensão entre falantes portugueses e brasileiros não é certamente impossível, mas a comunicação formal, pela sua formulação mais estática e convencionada, será sempre mais facilitada do que uma conversação entre um português e um brasileiro que habitualmente não tenham contacto com a outra variante da língua.

Considero que a ideia veiculada por algumas pessoas da possibilidade de existência de um Português Universal, e que seria até uma das justificações para o Acordo Ortográfico de 1990 por se tratar de uma forma de unificação da língua, está totalmente desadequada da realidade. Estamos perante duas variantes da língua muito diferentes e que não apresentam qualquer tendência a, de alguma forma, convergirem.

Penso com frequência em imagens que ilustrariam o que são actualmente o Português de Portugal e o Português do Brasil: a de um jardineiro que plantou duas sementes de árvores iguais, em terrenos diferentes e deixou que crescessem, espraiassem os seus ramos e criassem os seus frutos, todos diferentes e, no fundo, todos iguais. Ou a de uma mãe que deu o braço à sua filha, jovem adulta, e ajudou-a a sair da sua cidade e a instalar-se numa outra cidade do outro lado do rio. Têm personalidades diferentes, vivem as suas vidas, seguem e absorvem tendências distintas, amadurecem e, no entanto, o laço que as une é indestrutível e inegável.

[1] Gabriela foi a primeira novela a ser transmitida em Portugal, em 1977, três anos após a Revolução do 25 de Abril, que pôs fim a mais de 40 anos de ditadura em Portugal.

[2] Termo que o escritor português Eça de Queirós terá utilizado para designar o Português falado e escrito no Brasil.

Sobre a autora
cópia_foto_out2016AZd_0751 (4)Licenciada em Tradução, Tina Duarte trabalha como tradutora freelancer desde 2006. Sócia e membro da Direcção da APTRAD – Associação Portuguesa de Tradutores e Intérpretes. Trabalhou anteriormente na área da exportação, deu aulas de inglês a adultos e foi fundadora e dinamizadora de uma organização relacionada com a defesa do património natural e construído.