If you have good knowledge of English and write well in Portuguese, translation is an excellent career option. The PUC-Rio degree course offers a range of disciplines, from more introductory content to aspects geared towards specialized areas, with access to state-of-the-art laboratories with multimedia resources. The university also has a modern, digitalized library with a good collection of books, journals, and theses, which are supplemented by reading matter introduced by the professors during the course. For those interested in extending their education, PUC-Rio also offers a graduate diploma program in translation (English-Portuguese) and masters’ and doctoral programs. The courses are taught by professors with extensive experience in the practice, teaching, and research of translation.
Marcia A. P. Martins has a doctorate in Communication and Semiotics from PUC/SP. A translator and professor, she works in the undergraduate and graduate programs at the Department of Letters at PUC-Rio. Editor of Tradução e Multidisciplinaridade (Lucerna/PUC-Rio, 1999) and Visões e Identidades de Shakespeare no Brasil (Lucerna, 2004), her principal research interests are the Brazilian translations of the dramatic poetry of William Shakespeare and the historiography of translation.
Maria Paula Frota, has a doctorate in linguistics from UNICAMP and is a professor and researcher of translation at PUC-Rio. She has published extensively in journals such as TradTerm and Cadernos de Estudos Lingüísticos (IEL/UNICAMP) and is author of A Singularidade na Escrita Tradutora (Pontes/Fapesp, 2000). Her current research interests include convergences between translation, linguistics, and psychoanalysis, and non-representational approaches to meaning.
Paulo Henriques Britto has an honorary doctorate (Notório Saber), a master’s degree in Portuguese language (1982), and a bachelor’s degree with teaching certification in Portuguese and English language (1978) from PUC-Rio. He has published three books of poetry and translated over 70 works. He received the Paulo Rónai Award for his translation of The Waterworks by E. L. Doctorow (1995) and the Alphonsus de Guimaraens Award for his collection of poems, Trovar Claro (1997), both given by Fundação Biblioteca Nacional. He has been a professor of translation at PUC-Rio since 1978 and he is current researching the translation of poetry. (personal website)
Working as a translator is a good option in the globalized world in which we live. As interchange between different peoples, cultures, societies, and businesses intensifies, the translation market also expands to keep pace with the growing need for the exchange of information, be it cultural, scientific, technological, or corporate/commercial. Also, when we become aware that access to many of the “great works” of global culture – from literature, film, and theater – is mediated by translation, it becomes quite clear how central a role translators have in mediating this process.
Today, texts of various types and genres are translated, including literary works, technical texts, films, TV shows, videos, technical and IT manuals, websites, contracts, patents, medicine package inserts, legal documents, and much more. There is room in the world of translation for people with the most varied of interests and aptitudes, provided they share a passion for reading and writing and mastery of the nuts and bolts of their craft – their native language – with all its communicative potential.
All this is what makes translation such a stimulating activity, throwing up new challenges with each new text and offering great intellectual satisfaction. It is also a profession with a sure future: in a world where there is an increasing volume of information in circulation, the quantity of translation required is always on the rise.
Translators can operate in the market in many different ways: They can be self-employed, working from home or an office, providing services directly to a variety of clients; they can be employed by corporations or translation agencies; they can set up partnerships with colleagues to form cooperatives; or they can set up their own translation business. Translators who specialize in a particular technical area gradually gain mastery of it, often contributing to the creation and establishment of specialized vocabulary (Click here to access a list of glossaries). Meanwhile, literary translation is an extremely gratifying option – stimulating, creative, and perfect for those keen to make a career in literature; indeed, many well-known writers acknowledge how important translation was in their own development. Another career option is to become an official public translator and commercial interpreter, better known as a sworn translator, by passing a competitive examination and being appointed by the Board of Commerce of their home state. Sworn translators are called on to translate official legal documents like contracts, certificates, and legal proceedings.
Alongside the traditional tools translators have at their disposal (reference works in different formats and specialized publications), in the last three decades technological developments like translation memory software and machine translation have ushered in a veritable revolution in the way translators go about their work. The internet is a great facilitator, offering a vast array of resources, including online dictionaries, glossaries, and corpora that are constantly being updated, as well as an ever-growing number of websites on every imaginable subject.
Self-employed translators charge for the number of pages, words, or characters translated, based on the table of fees and services published by the Brazilian union of translators (SINTRA). In recent decades, especially since the official recognition of the profession by the Ministry of Labor on September 27, 1988, the level of compensation translators can command has steadily risen.
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