September 21, 2016

MEET THE SPEAKER: Jayme Costa Pinto

As we gear up for the ATA Conference in San Francisco this November,
the PLD blog will be featuring speaker profiles so that our readers can learn more about
the upcoming sessions and start organizing their schedule.

“Place and Space in Translation: Machado, Noll, and O. Henry Find Their Way in English and Portuguese”
Literary Translation – P1
Jayme Costa-Pinto | Adam Morris | Karen Sotelino
(Thursday, 11:15am-12:15pm; Advanced; Presented in: English and Portuguese)

Session Summary
Literary translators often face the challenge of dealing with spatial descriptions that rely on readers’ historical and geographical knowledge. This session will analyze the literary role of physical surroundings in translated works by O. Henry, Machado de Assis, and João Gilberto Noll. Going beyond the domestication-foreignization paradigm, attendees will explore various techniques, including: expanding the semantic field in the original to evoke similar effects in the target reader’s imagination; modifying the original character placement in order to translate unfamiliar places and spaces; and re-examining the effects of point-of-view as an historically specific literary feature.

Jayme Costa-Pinto is a translator and interpreter based in São Paulo, Brazil. His literary translations include works by the American authors O. Henry, Richard Greenberg, and John Updike. He has a degree in translation and interpreting from Associação Alumni, in São Paulo, a BSc in geophysics from the University of São Paulo, and has taken part in a special training program for interpreters at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He also has interpreted for writers including Salman Rushdie, James Ellroy, and Scott Turow. He is the president of APIC, the Brazilian association of conference interpreters.


How long have you been working in your area of specialization?
Around 20 years.

How many times have you presented at an ATA Conference?

What make you choose this theme?
I enjoy the challenges presented by literary translation; they come second only to the pleasure afforded by that perfect solution, “le mot juste” we are blessed with finding every now and then.

How will the audience profit from your session?
I believe translators benefit from discussing and reflecting about their own practices. Most all sessions at the conference offer just that: a chance to examine our work in detail and through high-level peer exchanges. And let’s face it: the conference is a wonderful excuse for us word buffs to talk syntax on a Thursday morning – without feeling guilty.

What did you want to be as a child?
An engineer.

What was your first career choice?
Science. I have a degree in Geophysics.

What is your favorite book or movie?
Tough. It would be difficult to single one out. Right now I am very much immersed in Damon Runyon’s Guys and Dolls, my next translation project, so I have to say this is the one volume I cannot leave aside these days.

What is your favorite hobby?
I brew my own beer.

What/who inspires you in the profession?
My old translation teachers at Associação Alumni, in São Paulo, like Angela Levy and Lea Tarcha, stellar examples of dedication and talent.

September 14, 2016

Our Posture Matters


This & That ― Vignettes of a Professional Journey
a column by Ines Bojlesen

Our daily life, whether as translators or interpreters, is extremely demanding on our bodies and minds. We overlook or ignore the strain we put on our systems and only realize it when red flags appear.

In my teen years, I was diagnosed with a back problem that affected my posture, which in turn aggravated the back problem. It was an early wake-up call that told me I needed to be aware about how to live with the condition in a way that it would not slow me down.

Daily physical exercises to strengthen my muscles became as routine as brushing my teeth or showering. I played tennis, but my main exercise was walking to and from school. When I started working, walking was not only a guarantee that I would arrive on time, but especially a way to strengthen my muscles.

I have a degree in Industrial Design. One of the courses I enjoyed most was Ergonomics, or Human Factors Engineering as it is more commonly known in the U.S., which is defined by the Encyclopædia Britannica as “the science dealing with the application of information on physical and psychological characteristics to the design of devices and systems for human use.”

If you work as a translator, whether at home or in an office, the design of your workstation is probably far from helping your physical well-being, starting from the desk and the chair, to the keyboard and mouse, and even where and how your feet are positioned. The distance between your eyes and the monitor as well as the size of the screen can cause extreme fatigue to your eyes.

So many translators and interpreters are always on the go, working with mobile devices. How many hours do you spend with your head bent, your arms hanging, your hands sustained on a small keyboard and that irritating touch pad?

I find that editing jobs are particularly exhausting and demand good posture and frequent breaks. I tend to just hold the mouse or touchpad to scroll down the document, with few interruptions to move my hand from the mouse to the keyboard. By the end of a long editing job, my neck, shoulders, index finger and back hurt.

There are quite a few applications, some free, that you can install and program to remind you to take breaks, do some relaxing exercises, get up from your chair, or sit down and rest your feet. It is worth checking out the different kinds of apps and try ones that best fit your circumstances.

Posture matters just as much to interpreters confined in tiny booths, using poor quality headsets, bending to reach the microphone and straining their eyes to look at a monitor that shows the conference happening in another room, building or city. Did you know that sign language interpreters are also at a high risk of repetitive stress injury (RSI)? This article discusses this risk for sign language interpreters and mentions NAJIT’s position on team interpreting.

I was once called for a three-day interpreting assignment at a local university. I had to interpret for only one person, so in a MacGyver-like improvisation, I bought an amplified transmitter/receiver, along with a headset for the person for whom I was interpreting. It saved me from resorting to whispered interpreting (chuchotage) during those three days. But the cord that connected us was not very long, making it impossible to change position as often as I should. At the end of each day, even my jaw hurt from interpreting non-stop for so many hours. (Yes, I made a big mistake by accepting the job without explaining the need for two interpreters.)

During my telephone interpreting days, strain occurred on every part of my body: on my ears by wearing the headset for long periods of time; on my back from bending over the desk taking notes or reaching for my resources; and moving as little as possible to avoid unacceptable noises.

In this short blog, I cannot provide solutions or expert advice. There are many sites that you can visit about this topic, with suggestions of exercises and equipment to avoid RSI and other physical conditions. But I do want to call your attention to the fact that using equipment and devices that fit your body and movements will help your productivity while reducing the risk of injuries.

Now that you finished reading this, take a break and don’t forget: Mens sana in corpore sano.

Suggested reading:

September 12, 2016

PLD Party in San Francisco

Our traditional party at the ATA Annual Conference will take place on November 3 at the ThirstyBear Brewing Co., just a 20-minute walk from the Conference hotel (Hyatt Regency San Francisco).

Join us at 7:00 pm in the Billar Room, where we will have a pool table and two dartboards. A tapas buffet will be served throughout the event and, later in the evening, we will enjoy a beer tasting session with an expert. There will be a cash bar so guests can purchase their favorite drinks, whether it’s organic beer, Californian wine, or a tasty sangria.

Make sure you guarantee your spot! The early bird price is US$52.00 until October 3, and US$57.00 afterward. Prices include food, taxes and gratuity. Book early, as this event is likely to sell out before November 3!

See you there!

Photo Credit:

ThirstyBear Brewing Co.
661 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94105

November 3, 2016 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

US$52.00 (early bird, until October 3) and US$57.00 (After October 3, space permitting).
Prices include food, taxes and gratuity. Please note drinks are NOT included, except for the beer tasting samples.
Advance payment required.
Please send payments via PayPal to no later than October 26.
After this date, check for availability before sending payment.
Include the full name of the people attending in the notes. Sorry, no refunds!

Contact Mirna Soares Andrade