Name: Elizabeth (Liz) Herron-Sweet
Where you live: Brooklyn, New York
What you’re doing these days: (translator/interpreter/teacher/professor)
Working a little as a translator and interpreter but mostly taking off this year to be with my two-year-old son until he starts preschool in the fall.
Something you’re proud of:
Quitting my job at a law firm in 2015 to start my translation business – it was a risk to leave a steady, dependable job, but everything ended up working out so well!
A bit of your background:
I grew up in San Diego with no background or knowledge of Brazil beyond soccer. I decided to study Spanish and Portuguese at Middlebury College in Vermont and ended up loving the Portuguese language and Brazilian culture and history. During college, I spent a year abroad studying in Niterói (UFF) and Florianópolis (UFSC), where I truly fell in love with Brazil. After college, I was considering law school, so I took a job as a paralegal at an international law firm in New York City. I ended up working with major Brazilian clients there, and when they opened an office in São Paulo two years later, I requested to be transferred there. Within months I had met both my now-husband, Luciano, and my business partner, Pati. Pati and I opened a company and started accepting small translation jobs, and within a few years, I decided to quit the law firm so we could try to expand our business. The next year Pati was able to quit her job as well, and we both worked full-time with our translation company, Ideal Translation, for over five years. We mainly work with law firms on legal translation, but we have also branched out into subtitling, literature, comic books, academic material, and interpreting. A lot changed in the past few years as I had my son and moved to New York, and Pati is pursuing a degree and career in film. We have cut back a lot on our translation for now, but we’ll see where the future leads us!
How long have you been with the ATA? And PLD member?
I’ve been a member of the ATA and PLD since 2015 when I attended my first conference in Miami – I loved the community I felt immediately from the conference and especially from the PLD!
What did the ATA membership and/or the PLD bring to you?
A sense of community, friends, colleagues, and good clients and projects! I love the PLD community at the annual conference – we always have so much fun at events and parties. The best was the New Orleans conference where we went out dancing every night! I have made great friends through the PLD and often kept up with them at the ABRATES conference in Brazil and other courses or industry events. I’ve also found great clients through the ATA, including a couple of agency clients I’ve worked with for years.
Current project (or last interesting project/job):
I interpreted for the mayor of São Paulo when he visited NYC last year – I witnessed some fascinating meetings and met São Paulo Governor (current presidential candidate) João Doria!
A major challenge(s) in your career:
I’m currently in the middle of a major challenge that started when my son was born in mid-2019. Even when I have help taking care of him, I’ve found it extremely hard to have the mental capacity and concentration to work when I’m so sleep-deprived and focused on someone else’s needs all the time. (Especially considering we’ve been in a pandemic for most of his life!) Since I moved to New York in late 2021, I decided to take a break from work until he starts full-time preschool in the fall of 2022. I have kept a few clients and do some projects that I find interesting, and I look forward to finding new U.S.-based clients once I have the time and bandwidth.
Do you have a hobby?
My hobbies are mostly sports! I love playing soccer – I grew up playing soccer in California, played on a competitive women’s team in São Paulo for almost 10 years, and have just started playing with a team in New York. I also took up footvolley in São Paulo a few years ago but sadly haven’t been able to continue. I’ve also done yoga for many years.
What is your favorite book in Portuguese Language literature?
I love Brazilian history, so I really liked “1808” by Laurentino Gomes, about the Portuguese royal family escaping Napoleon by fleeing to Brazil. It explains so much about Brazil and Brazilians! Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to read the follow-ups “1822” and “1889,” but I’m looking forward to it.
Currently on your reading list:
Mostly parenting books about toddlers – currently “How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen.” I also try to read the whole New Yorker magazine every week, which I really enjoy reading to learn about completely different topics and get some buzz on what’s going on in NYC now that I live here.
Thank you, Liz. We really appreciate the opportunity to learn a little more about you.