Interview with Ana Julia Perrotti-Garcia, translator/interpreter - Behind The Curtains
Updated: Apr 4, 2019
Ana Julia Perrotti-Garcia
Audio Descriptor - Translator - Interpreter
English <> Português > Español > Italiano
Please, talk a bit about your background before you become a translator (your training and previous work experiences).
My career changed gradually. I always taught English in Language schools. I studied Dentistry and specialized in oral and maxillofacial surgery, working for some time in the area on shifts in the trauma department performing surgeries and even acting as an assistant in hospital surgical centers.
I also had a dental office for a few years. When I realized that I was happier turning patients into English students (even though I was paid a lot less than I was for treating them), I understood that it was time to teach English, exclusively.
At that time, English courses for specific purposes were rare, and courses directed towards the health field, even more so. Then, me and a colleague created the English Course for the Dental Area (the first in the country and perhaps in the world). Some time after, she followed another path and I continued teaching in this course. Then, a publisher (Santos) wanted to publish the course and a dictionary I had created.
What happened that you became a translator?
Due to the success of the dictionary and the course, the publisher began to request technical proofreading, later inviting me to translate for them.
I translated more than 20 books at the time. That was when I realized that I would have to pursue academic training in the field if I wanted to continue evolving professionally.
So, I began my bachelors in language arts, with a major in translation. I fell in love and couldn't help myself: I began a specialization course.
How did this background help you with translation?
The fact that I had worked in Dentistry helps me a lot, because my texts have rhythm, they are more genuine because I have already performed many of the procedures that I translate.
But, as I always say, there are other ways of producing texts that are well-translated and natural. Attending college and working in the field is one of them. You can also research, read a lot, attend events, talk to experts, watch videos showing professionals in action (just don’t say you learned Medicine watching House or Grey's Anatomy, okay? It’s great to know the difference between Gray’s Anatomy and the latter - if you don't know what that is, I suggest you look it up!)
What is your personal assessment of the area?
There will always be those who say that the profession will end, that machine translation will surpass us. Let's analyze an example from another area, to be clearer: screen reader programs are increasingly accurate and are already better than many speakers. But that does not mean the end of all professionals in the voiceover field, do you agree?
Translation is a cognitive and mechanical trade. The mechanical part should be automated. The cognitive one will never be 100% performed by machines. Linguists will still be needed to feed, refine, and test these machines. And, there are sensitive texts (comic, poetic, ironic, religious, cultural) that will always need the common sense and worldly wisdom of human translators.
On the other hand, I think there is already a lot of people that have long been surpassed by automatic translation, LOL. Simply don’t recycle your training, don’t think, don’t learn from your mistakes, and soon computers will do a better job than yours.
What is the level of satisfaction that working in translation brings to you?
What the client wants is a well translated text, delivered on time and at a price that they deem appropriate. They don’t want to know your age, your gender, your sexual orientation, your religion, or even if you really exist or are a hologram (laughs). Thus, it’s a quasi “ideal world” situation. So, how can you not be satisfied with a profession like that?