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.

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

“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.

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