This & That ― Vignettes of a Professional Journey


Photo: PLD member's personal archives Taken at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland, Oregon, USA

Photo: PLD member’s personal archives
Taken at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland, Oregon, USA

Introducing a new column by Ines Bojlesen

Why “This & That”? Well, after more than forty years as a translator and interpreter, I realize that I am good at “This” and “That,” but that I also suck at “This” and “That”. And I bet you will relate to “This” as much as to “That.” We experience moments of excellence and also those we would rather forget but need to keep as a lesson learned.

I see this space as an opportunity to share my professional journey, one that I enjoy every day. Before venturing into translating, I felt an urge to write, to take down random thoughts, even as a young child in Brazil. Languages were part of my upbringing; my father spoke six languages and exposed his daughters to all six through books, songs and daily activities. I also lived in the U.S. as an exchange student during my senior year of high school, an experience that confirmed languages would be my profession.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design but have always worked with language-related activities. I worked for a couple of U.S. corporations and also at the U.S. Consulate in São Paulo. In the early 70s, I was appointed “Tradutora Pública e Intérprete Comercial” in São Paulo and worked in this capacity until my resignation last year.

When I moved to the U.S. for good in 1998, I gradually phased out my clients in Brazil and started to build my career here. One of the first things I did was to become a member of the ATA and network with the Oregon translating community. I have worked out of my home office since then and expanded my expertise in the never-ending race to keep up with terminology, technology and all the -logies that apply to the trade.

I feel like every day is a blank canvas. When I sit at the computer, I never know what surprises will come my way. One pleasant surprise was to find an e-mail from PLD Administrator Tereza Braga last week inviting me to be part of the PLD Blog. I was active in the PLD for many years as treasurer, co-editor and designer of PLData during Tereza’s earlier administration. It will be fun and challenging to join the blogging era in this venue.

Aging (or should I say “maturing”) has made me question more, probe deeper and… want to learn more. I will be writing about the search to find answers and to understand how our profession evolves and transforms. I hope reading my blog posts will be entertaining and interesting.

I finish “This” today with something I wrote that I am sure writers and translators also experience from time to time. The “That” will be the subject of my next blog entry.

Writer’s Block

I never thought that a block
A long distance to be walked,
A major piece of a building,
Could be a stubborn foe of creation.

I decided to ignore it.
To treat it just as a writer’s
Infatuation or excuse.
I put it far and away
And sat down resolute.

Today I’m going to compose
So much I found to transpose.
This will be the day
I will succeed to convey.

I erased the deep frown,
What a story being formed!
Every part skillfully wrought:
people, places, a clever plot.

Then, too much time,
Not enough substance.
Now, no time to waste,
Content crafted at easy pace.
So much to write about.
Inspiration, at last!

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