We are very pleased that Fernanda was featured in the most recent Translation Tidbits blog. Click on the image below to see the article:
Thank you, Melissa Harkin, for getting the new year off to a great start!
I have been connecting with other translators here in the San Francisco Bay Area recently through Northern California Translators Association. It was a treat to meet Melissa, who is from my native Brazil, at the American Translators Association Conference.
Full text in English: When Melissa asked me to write for her blog, I was honored because she is a professional who inspires me with her passion, dedication, humility and generosity. Her request gave me the opportunity to revisit the moment when I first decided to enter the profession, compare my experience of working indifferent countries, and identify what may be useful information to pass along to new and future colleagues in the profession.
I have always been a knowledge geek. I always had my nose buried in books, and chased down all the classes I felt were a "must do" and something that "I had to learn". I studied at Colégio Rio Branco [highschool], in São Paulo, where I fell in love with chemistry. I took that inspiration all the way through to graduating with a 5-year Chemical Engineering degree from Maua Institute of Technology.
I began my career in applied engineering then discovered that I had a taste for management. To empowering and motivate my team, I began preparing documentation and supporting materials. Most of the source documents were written in English so that is how I started translating as an incidental job task.
My management experience exposed me to Law, and I ended up studying law for almost 4 years at Mackenzie University. It was my personal life, however, that took me to Argentina. In Buenos Aires, I worked as a Portuguese teacher before returning to a management role, this time facing the challenge of language and of cultural differences.
My best friend Rosângela Suzin has been living in Argentina for more than a decade. She is a linguist who has worked much of her life as a translator and teacher. She is passionate about the profession and is to “blame” for my official venture into translation in 2011. Her enthusiasm for translation services was infectious! I am grateful for all her patience in training me and for how she entrusted me with my first clients in Argentina. My timing for getting into subtitling was lucky, as we had a real boom-time of work, with non-stop projects. Thanks to the mobility of my new profession and a quick ramp-up of work, I have been enabled to do what I like most: travel!
My personal life then took me to San Francisco where I met my husband and decided to stay. I tried keeping by clients in Argentina, working remotely but found that operational issues and handling cross-border financial transactions was difficult. It was time to start from scratch again with a local clientele. I had to adjust to the new market and to adapt culturally to relate with customers. Of course, my past experience and willingness to learn made this second act as an expat possible and promising.
And lo-and-behold, I am here today, sharing my story. I am a planner by nature and obsessively make to-do lists, checklists and grocery lists. In the same vein, I made a list for you of tips that came to mind:
- Plan each step to keep anxiety in check. Nothing significant happens overnight - be patient.
- Dedicate time to preparation. Study, take courses to fill any gaps in your knowledge of the subject in question.
- Consider volunteer opportunities. They are a great way to gain experience and to "find your tribe".
- Join a professional association. You will receive support from colleagues and the association itself through its courses, networking, mentoring, discounts...
- Start small. The first happy customer is your most important milestone, particularly if this first client is a fellow translator who put their trust in you. Reputation for trustworthiness in dealing with other translators is key in growing or killing your business.
- Ask for clear and specific instructions in your first jobs. Pay close attention. Avoid accepting jobs that are too far outside your area of expertise, because once the damage is done it is hard to undo.
- Be humble. Accept corrections as opportunities to learn and do not take criticism personally. Do not get into excessive justifications. Nobody wins a prize for thinking they are right. If you made a mistake, accept it and that hurts less. Take feedback as an invitation to further study to not repeat the same mistake. Move forward!
- Do not chase business by lowering your rates. Unsustainably low rates are detrimental to your future, as well as to the entire market.
- Try to find direct clients in your region. Charge enough so you can pay for a reviewer. There are two benefits to this: you will deliver a higher quality work product and you will have an opportunity to keep learning.
It is true when they say that there is no such thing as useless knowledge for a translator. Our path is long and we are all on the same road. I love that each day in this profession brings you something new to learn. You are always welcome to visit me at f2-global.com.