Next, on our interview series with ATA59 PLD speakers, we talked to Tereza Braga.
About the Speaker
Tereza Braga grew up in Rio de Janeiro with an engineer father who traveled the world, a mother who loved history and languages, and nine siblings. At the age of 18, she had two certificates of proficiency in English and started what would be a decade-long career of bilingual clerical jobs in corporate Brazil. At 28, she accepted a low-paying consular job in Dallas, Texas, in order to see the world. Tereza went back to school and heard about translation careers while working for the Brazilian Consulate and getting her M.A. in International Business. After passing the ATA certification exams in both directions for EN<>PT and attending the first of her 22+ ATA annual conferences, she knew she had found the career of her dreams.
Tereza is now based in Washington and has twenty-five years of freelance experience. She specializes in international conference interpreting. She served four terms as administrator of the ATA Portuguese Language Division. She loves books, newspapers, jazz and blues, movies, international conferences, adventures in her native Brazil, and visiting with her twenty-three nephews and nieces.
Your lecture at ATA59 is the third installment from previous conference sessions. What can attendees expect from this year’s session?
Tereza: It will be the third chapter of my “Most Difficult” series. I build my list by making notes when I get stumped. This time around we will dissect, for instance, the apparently harmless word “office,” as well as hairier ones like “unassuming.” Bring your friends, it will be fun!
In your opinion, has the need and demand for the Portuguese language grown in the U.S. market?
Tereza: I will let our marketing experts expand on this, but since the advent of social media, that is probably true for every language in the digitally literate world.
What are the biggest challenges when translating Portuguese < and > English?
Tereza: I would say the thorniest challenges are the ones faced by the brave, meaning our colleagues who work in literature and the arts. I interpret and translate for the business world and for organizations and agencies. Getting the message across not only accurately and completely but also in a way that the audience can immediately grasp and use is my challenge. My answer is not language-specific, I know. I will yield to my colleagues who are more academically oriented to expand.
You’ve been in the T&I industry for over twenty years. What advice would you give to someone who is just getting started?
Tereza: Don’t listen to me, pick the brains of peers your age, because the industry has turned upside-down since I started! More seriously now: try to see the world a little, don’t get busy settling down, open your mind as wide as you can, and check your curiosity level – it needs to be crazy high to do this well. If you don’t love to read and don’t particularly care about keeping up with what is happening every single day in the world, think again carefully.