Today’s installment of the Brazil conference speaker interview series features Bianca Bold. Bianca has been working in the industry for over ten years, holds an MA in Translation Studies from York University, and has been working in the field of film subtitling since 2006. Bianca will be sharing her knowledge of the field of audiovisual translation during her presentation entitled “A globalização do audiovisual: uma projeção para muito além do cinema” at the upcoming event in Recife, Brazil.
MK: How did you get started in translation/interpretation?
BB: I started teaching English at a very young age, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do for life. One of the options I had at university was to major in English–Portuguese translation – so I said, “Why not?”, since I had already done a few translations and enjoyed it. This was back in 2000. Little by little I started getting more translation clients and teaching fewer classes. The full transition happened in about 2005, when I decided to dedicate my time exclusively to translations. I participated then in a very active forum of Brazilian translators and interpreters, and they taught me a great deal about the market, professionalism, networking, etiquette, you name it. I wouldn’t have made it this far if it weren’t for them. A bunch of participants are now a solid group of friends who interact regularly via Skype and Facebook. Constant networking with great professionals has opened a lot of doors for me.
MK: What would you consider the most important challenge facing freelance translators or interpreters today?
BB: I’m not sure this is the most important, but it’s a big one in my opinion: knowing how to establish oneself in the market as a well-paid professional. There’s no doubt that we have a multifaceted market, in which there are indeed many clients paying peanuts and relying on very low quality standards. On the other hand, there are thousands of end clients (and even agencies) willing to pay premium rates for top-notch translation services. I believe it’s a choice a professional has to make: which market are you going to tackle? Then go for it, market yourself accordingly, invest in your continuous development, network with the right crowd… the possibilities are endless. It’s certainly not as simple as it may sound; it’s challenging to maintain this course. But I think professional translators and interpreters should know that this premium market does exist and that they can raise their game and achieve better working conditions, instead of just complaining uselessly.
MK: What advice would you give freelancers seeking to expand their client base?
BB: I’ve just mentioned two strategies that have worked like a charm for me: networking with the right people and focusing on continuous development as a professional. I can recall two milestones in my career. First, I became a much better professional and expanded my client base immensely by participating in online discussion lists, which to this day is part of my regular routine. Second, I became an ATA member and began attending their annual conference, as well as other professional events. The benefits of this are many: learning a lot, making incredible contacts, establishing new partnerships, working for great agencies, and much more. Freelancers in general need to get out there and make themselves known in the market. Appearing frequently in these environments with a positive, professional attitude, and interacting with great professionals, will make other influential people remember your name, your face, your specialties, and eventually hire you or refer you to someone in need.
MK: What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in translation or interpretation?
BB: Don’t be pushy. Note that I’ve mentioned we should keep a “positive, professional attitude” when networking. The way you interact with colleagues and the way people see you, both online and offline, will influence HOW WELL you’re remembered and HOW you’re remembered. No one wants to be remembered as the “clueless guy who distributes his résumé or business card to everybody and their dog,” or “the lazy girl who keeps posting silly translation questions on the forum, instead of researching herself.” There are many great posts about professional etiquette, and I strongly believe every newbie should take time to read and study the subject.
MK: You will be giving a session at the upcoming conference in Recife, Brazil, called “A globalização do audiovisual: uma projeção para muito além do cinema.” What can attendees to this session expect to learn?
BB: Although I’m the only speaker in this session, I prepared the material together with my business partner, Carolina Alfaro de Carvalho, a reference in audiovisual translation in Brazil. Our main purpose is to break down stigmas and stereotypes in the realm of audiovisual translation. Many think of audiovisual translation as limited to the entertainment industry (subtitling or dubbing for cinema, DVDs, TV, etc.), and restricted to young, specialized translators who get paid very low rates and produce questionable quality, among other generalizations that do not always hold true. In fact, there is a strong demand for audiovisual translation in the corporate sector which is not usually seen by the general public. This sector is making extensive use of multimedia resources and requires specialized translators. We’ve put together several examples to illustrate our points and, hopefully, make attendees look at this translation submarket as something that can be very profitable and beneficial for translators who invest in learning about the intricacies of audiovisual translation.
This is the fourth installment of the multi-part interview series featuring speakers of the upcoming conference in Recife, Brazil.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series which will highlight the responses of conference presenter and ProZ.com moderator Fernanda Rocha.