Interview by Melissa Harkin, PLD Blog Editor
Last year, Elenice presented a session at ATA59 called Gourmet Translation in Portuguese: Adding Some Flavor and Depth.
I’m married to a chef-turned-translator so I know there’s a lot more to culinary translation than cookbooks and restaurant menus. A love for eating and cooking is not enough. Gastronomy is a vast technical area that demands high-quality technical translators.
Her session description was spot on: “The constant challenge of translating foreign ingredients, adapting recipes, and renaming dishes call for a resourceful problem solver. This session will provide a brief look at the many fields of translation in Portuguese related to food, health, and nutrition—from the TV cooking shows to wine labels and food allergen warning requirements.”
I knew then and there that we had to interview her to learn a little more about her work and herself.
I recommend you have a glass of your favorite wine to pair with this post.
[PLD] You are an editorial translator, and your session addressed the realm of culinary translation. Can you tell us a little bit about the extensive use of creative writing in culinary content?
[Elenice] This is exactly one of the aspects that makes this area so interesting. In many cases, it requires a perfect marriage between technical and literary translation. The translator is expected to craft a text filled with clear and precise information, but delivered in an enticing way, appealing to the senses. It’s pretty much a matter of “finding a way to the reader’s attention through their stomach.”
[PLD] You teach translation practice at the graduate level of the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP). What’s the profile of today’s translation students and professionals?
[Elenice] I just finished a semester last week, and the students could not have come from a more eclectic background. In general, only a third of the group is made up of students holding a bachelor’s degree in translation or languages. Most are engineers, lawyers, IT specialists, architects, and so on. And they usually demonstrate a lot of dedication and sheer determination to improve their use of English and couple that with the level of expertise they bring from their field of work. The age range is another factor that always catches my attention. There’s no age to fall in love with translation.
[PLD] What advice do you give to students getting ready to start in the T&I market?
[Elenice] I give them three pieces of advice: invest in the areas in which you are most confident and can stand out, given your background; do what you love; and be humble. Understand that learning and practicing will never be enough and that the quest for knowledge is an invaluable asset.
[PLD] Do you have any favorite dishes from Portuguese-speaking countries?
[Elenice] There are so many incredible dishes and wonderful recipes! But since I have a sweet tooth and Portuguese background, all pastries and desserts made with a ton of egg yolks always make my mouth water. And also, you can never go wrong with cod, potatoes, and a generous splash of virgin oil.
Elenice Barbosa de Araujo is an independent English<>Portuguese (BR) translator based in Brazil. She holds a certificate in translation and interpreting Studies from Associação Alumni, and a bachelor’s degree in education from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo. During her 19 years as a professional translator, editor, and proofreader, she has translated a number of fiction and non-fiction books and several magazine articles. She specializes in corporate content marketing, food and nutrition, and editorial and literary texts.