Self-interview with Danielle Sánchez, translator - Behind The Curtains
- Bachelor in Statistics, ENCE/IBGE/Brazil; Specialist in Data Mining PUC/RJ/Brazil.
- Translator, English to Portuguese and Portuguese to English, 8 years of experience.
- Specialization areas: Engineering, Marketing, Tourism, Mathematics, Statistics, Computing Science, and others.
Please, talk a bit about your background before you become a translator (your training and previous work experiences).
I have a degree in Statistics and have worked for several years in several areas (MKT, CRM, DBM, Pricing, BI, Credit Risk, etc.) in various segments (health, retail, internet, insurance, banks). Not only I did solve problems using modeling/statistical analysis in the companies that I worked for, I also developed reports containing the conclusions of these analysis for a public that was "muggle" in Statistics, so the results could be applicable in the companies.
I'm a weird statistician because I like to sit down and explain things to people. The visual part of the presentation was always my concern, since the coding and colors convey a lot of information (provided they are chosen with criteria, intelligence, and purpose). It was an advantage for me in the companies that I worked for, as they found it interesting to have someone who could translate the results into "common language".
Before completing my Bachelor in Statistics, I practically finished the curriculum of Molecular Sciences course at University of São Paulo as well, with a large course load in Biology, Physics, and Mathematics.
As a child I studied piano for 10 years in a conservatory. I also studied ballet for 10 years. In addition, I began writing at a very early age (prose and poetry), having participated in national contests.
As a hobby, I really enjoyed handcrafts (embroidery, knitting, crocheting, sewing), but after a period of fastidiousness I found myself having fun developing websites: taking care of mine's guarantees me a lot of fun (Dani's Translations was entirely crafted by me!).
What happened that you became a translator?
My youngest daughter was born in the middle of the post-2008 crisis. I was at home with my baby and my father, also a translator, gave me some texts to test my English level (I had lived in the USA since 2007). After a few months testing me, around the beginning of 2011 he introduced me to the first translation agency I worked with. They liked my work and I continued working with translation.
How did this background help you with translation?
My background is eclectic, including studies, arts, and the fact that I have always read compulsively which helps me a lot with my translations. I may not necessarily know what the text I'm translating is about, but some triggers in the text make me recall some memories, and these memories make it easier to find the meanings I need to look up equivalencies for in the other language.
Sometimes a translation project seems to me like a big puzzle, where I'm looking for pieces and tips. Even the strategies (for example, attack the frame first) are similar. And the fact that I have to bring the results to a narrative that lay people can understand when I am working in Statistics, supports my translation style in a way that is very important to me.
What is your personal assessment of the area?
It is a mixed and complicated area. I do technical translation, I am not from the literary translation, so I am referring here to them.
On one side, you have a quasi-automatic translation (think about documents like Identity Cards, marriage certificate, etc.), where everything is repetitive and similar, and which I imagine will be translated by AI in a matter of a few months/years.
On the other side, you have a series of documents that need a touch of humanity in their translation, of a common sense that no machine will have (I am referring to theoretical questions, not limitations on programming or machinery).
We, translators, are in the middle, in the cross-fire. AI is not yet fully functional, but it will be very soon. I wonder: Will it be applied reliably? And to what kind of documents?
I still have a lot to evaluate about this technological change in the area. And there are a lot of Luddites*. I am still reading articles on the subject and I hope to publish something in a few weeks.
What is the level of satisfaction that working in translation brings to you?
It's huge indeed. Working from home, making my own schedule, talking to people all over the world, having my cats on my side jumping on the keyboard, putting my daughter on the school bus in the morning and returning to my computer with a freshly brewed coffee.
Does it seem good for you? I enjoy it a lot.
*Check the definition of Ludittes in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite