Interview with Isabel Vidigal, translator/interpreter - Behind The Curtains
Updated: Aug 9
- Business Administration: Mackenzie Presbyterian University - Mentor at APTRAD (Portuguese Association of Translators and Interpreters, acronym in Portuguese). - Translator of English/French/Spanish into Portuguese. - Specialization: Marketing, Fashion, Quality System, technical translation, and others.
Please, talk a bit about your background before you become a translator (your training and previous work experiences).
I got my degree in Business Administration and worked in this area for more than 15 years. Using my first “good” salary, I attended a good English language school because I wanted to read books in English and communicate with people from all over the world. My French studies were paid by a French high couture company where I worked for almost 5 years. I already knew Spanish, I started reading in Spanish from a young age and my parents' house was very frequented by Hispanic friends, I learned by listening.
I started to translate more formally at Moulinex, another French company that came to Brazil and bought Mallory. There, I was responsible for the ISO 9000 implementation in the company. After outsourced the translation of the procedures manual with unsatisfactory results, I decided to translate it by myself (from English, French or Spanish) and I learned a lot, including about the industrial area.
I left Moulinex before it was bought by Arno in Brazil. I tried to work in the Third Sector, earning less but “making the difference”. Unfortunately, I realized that the NGOs’ environment was not really different from what I knew.
What happened that you became a translator?
At that time, my brother was already working as an in-house translator in an agency and invited me to help with an urgent translation. In that night I made a good money. I decided to take a leave from my career as an administrative manager and started working as a translator at the same agency.
It was the "best start" to enter the industry, I recommend it to all beginners to do this.
I soon discovered ProZ when I was working there, searching terms on the Internet. I created a profile on their website and discovered how to grow in this career, interacting and participating in members' meetings. In less than a year (back in 2004) I already had a small client portfolio.
How did this background help you with translation? A lot. Not just the professional background, because I knew everything about Quality System, procedures, industrial standards, corporate documentation, but also my passion for reading made a big difference creating a wide knowledge base.
The fact that I knew the ISO system was also great, the requirement for clarity, objectivity, and transparency of all its documentation suited me and helped to consolidate my translation style.
What is your personal assessment of the area?
It is an area in constant evolution. This is fascinating, we are always learning and discovering new things.
Investing in a portfolio of foreign clients made me understand that no translator should accept borders for our job market.
There is no shortage of work for serious professionals who come up with a strategy to learn and grow in our career. In order to be successful, the biggest investment is of your time, researching and seizing opportunities.
What is the level of satisfaction that working in translation brings to you?
I enjoy a lot to learn and translation satisfies my thirst for it. Interacting with clients from many countries is also fascinating, the perceptions of the different cultures make us wiser as well.
The opportunities to travel attending congresses and events make me to travel to several countries and meet new people, making new friends and clients.
Not having a boss, make our own schedule and being closer to the family compensates for the many hours working in front of the computer and the extra health care that we should have because of this!