As we gear up for the ATA’s Annual Conference in Washington DC this October, let’s learn more about the speakers we’ll get to see during sessions associated with the Portuguese Language Division!
Below you will find a summary of their presentation(s), as well as a brief interview.
The Challenges of Translating a Holocaust Survivor’s Memoir (P-4)
Rafa Lombardino, CT
(Friday, 3:30pm-4:30pm; All Levels; Presented in: English)
The speaker will explore the challenges of translating Nanette Blitz Konig’s memoir Eu Sobrevivi Ao Holocausto into English. The process of researching quotes originally written in English and making sure the vocabulary is faithful not only to the author’s account, but also to the many audiovisual materials available, will be discussed throughout the session.
Rafa was born in Santos, São Paulo, and has been living in California since 2002. She started her career in 1997 and today runs Word Awareness, a small network of professional translators. Certified by the ATA (EN>PT, PT>EN) and by the University of California San Diego Extension (ES>EN), Rafa acts as the Content Curator of the literary translation blog eWordNews and is the founder of Contemporary Brazilian Short Stories, a website that promotes Brazilian authors in English. In 2014, she wrote “Tools and Technology in Translation,” a book inspired by the class she has been teaching at UCSD Extension since 2010.
How did you come up with the idea for your ATA58 session?
I was working on the English version of Nanette Blitz Konig’s memoir Eu sobrevivi ao Holocausto and it was such an intense experience that I decided to take notes throughout the project. I wanted to share what I learned with other translators who may see themselves in this same position: translating nonfiction about such major events in history as World War II and the Holocaust.
What has been your biggest professional reward?
Being able to work on such different projects, such as straight-up translations, audio transcriptions, video subtitling, and fiction and nonfiction books over these past twenty years. The fact that I’ve been assigned the translation of such an important book as Konig’s memoir is definitely a rewarding experience, because I was able to combine my language skills with my love for literature and journalism.
What is the best trip you’ve ever been on?
It was definitely backpacking through Italy in October 2007. We wanted to see where my husband’s family came from―his grandfather was the first U.S.-born Lombardino in the early 1900s―and we knew this was our last opportunity to do something like that before starting a family. Besides all the touristy stuff that Italy is well known for, the best part of the trip is that we were able to find relatives in a little Sicilian town called Gibellina. The actual town where Great-Grandpa Lombardino came from was destroyed by the 1968 Belice earthquake, so we stayed in the New Gibellina, which was rebuilt in the 1980s, and visited the ruins up the hill, where they preserved the layout of the old town by covering city blocks with concrete.
What is on your bookshelf?
I actually use a virtual bookshelf, since I’ve signed up for Kindle Unlimited to feed my reading (and listening) appetite. I’ve realized that I wasn’t able to read many books besides those that I was translating, so I started listening to more books while working out. Having said that, I’ve just finished R. J. Palacio’s “Wonder” because my daughter is reading it with her class at school and will do a project about the story after a field trip to the movie theater, since the movie will come out later this year. Besides that, I enjoy reading/listening to a variety of nonfiction books and memoirs, so I recently finished “Beautiful Bodies,” “Brain on Fire,” “On Tyranny,” and am on my way to get “Hemingway Didn’t Say That” started.
In forty years, what will you be nostalgic for?
At 77… Things should be moving at a slower pace by then―hopefully―so I’ll probably miss the crazy, fast-paced life that I have right now, running after two very energetic kids, running a booming business, and turning to long-distance running to manage stress and anxiety.
What is on your to-do list?
You don’t wanna know 😀 I must confess that I’ve been postponing many side projects, moving them around every week on my calendar, but the one thing I’m eager to actually get to is taking a nice, long vacation.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Hmm… In this era of oversharing on social media, I feel my friends and colleagues already know all there is to know about me, but maybe not everybody is aware of the fact that psychological thrillers and horror films are my favorite and that I love singing karaoke!