MEET THE SPEAKER: Catherine Sherwood Sotelino


The ATA Conference in San Francisco is right around the corner,
so the PLD blog is featuring speaker profiles
for our readers to learn more about

the upcoming sessions and start organizing their schedule.

Interviews conducted by
Elenice Barbosa de Araújo, member of the PLD Leadership Council


Photo Credit: Stanford University

Photo Credit: Stanford University

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

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.

Karen Sotelino has a BA in international relations from Stanford University and a BA and PhD in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has translated numerous essays for Atlante magazine in addition to six novels, her most recent being Brazilian author Raduan Nassar’s novel, Ancient Tillage. She has taught translation at Associação Alumni in São Paulo, and Portuguese and translation at Stanford University. She has had numerous articles on translation theory published in the U.S., Brazil, and Portugal. She is currently a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, working on a book of literary translation, practice, and theory.


What made you choose this theme?
In exchanging ideas with colleagues, we realized translating physical descriptions can be associated with specific cultural knowledge, and therefore, challenging.

How long have you been working in your area of specialization?
My area of specialization is literary translation; I’ve been focusing on that for 16 years.

How many times have you presented at an ATA Conference?
This is the first time.

How will the audience profit from your session?
We will all be talking about our approach, especially when the physical environment has not been fleshed out in the original.

What did you want to be as a child?
A good person.

What was your first career choice?

What is your favorite book/movie?
To the Lighthouse, Don Quixote, Washington Square, Cannery Row, War and Peace

What is your favorite hobby?

What/who inspires you in the profession?
Publishers that have a genuine interest in promoting foreign literatures.

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