Financial Translation – Meet the Translator
How did you get started with languages and financial translation?
I started studying languages when I was very young and always had a knack for learning them. Later, during my teenage years, I had contact with two uncles and an aunt who were translators. One of my uncles was a certified translator and the couple (uncle and aunt) were freelance translators. This couple lived in Rio de Janeiro (I was born and live in Brasília), and once I went to spend a few weeks at their house. I found their routine very interesting, as they worked from home, translating on their computers.
When I was about to go back home, I asked my aunt how to become a freelance translator like her, and she told me about Proz.com and gave me a few more tips. A few years later, after finishing college with a degree in economics, I landed a job as an in-house translator, where I learned a lot. After leaving that job, I applied the tips my aunt had given me and became a freelance translator.
What content do you specialise in?
My main specialization is in a field that I am truly passionate about, which is Finance. Over the years, I have translated and proofread over 2,500,000 words in this field, and it has been a very fulfilling experience. One of the highlights of my career so far has been working with some of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, helping to translate their websites. It’s been exciting to be a part of this emerging industry and to witness firsthand how it’s changing the way we think about investments. In addition to Financial translation, my other specialized fields are Business, Marketing, Video Games, Religion, and Technical Manuals.
What kind of challenges have you come across when performing financial translations and how have you overcome them?
As financial translation has many specific terms, it can sometimes be quite difficult to find the right translation for some of them, even for someone with an economics degree! There have been situations where I needed to research for more than half an hour in order to find the exact meaning of a certain term. When this happens, I often end up asking for assistance from some translator friends, and at least one of them usually knows the best translation for the difficult term.
Other solutions are consulting glossaries and asking colleagues on Kudoz. I don’t know about other languages, but for Brazilian Portuguese we have many good translators who are always active on Proz, willing to help with any problem. The Brazilian translator community is very united and we all help each other a lot, especially in these challenging moments.
How has your previous work experience helped you in your financial translation work?
All the jobs I have had have been related to languages, so they have significantly contributed to my current career. My first job was as an English teacher. Working in this position helped me not only to sharpen my knowledge of the language and increase my ability to express myself in it, but also helped me in my communication skills, something which essential for a translator (both to communicate with clients and with the readers of the texts we translate). My second job was as a search engine evaluator at another translation agency. In this job, I evaluated the quality of Google search results. This job helped me sharpen my research skills, another thing that is essential for a translator.
What’s the best way to learn a language in your opinion?
Immersion. That’s how I learned English and Spanish. You should try to do as many things as possible using the language you want to learn: listening to music, watching movies, talking to people… This way, you will not only learn the language but also the cultural context of the countries where it is spoken. When I lived in Cyprus from 2018 to 2022, I had the opportunity to talk to many English people. This was fascinating to me because the English I learned in my childhood and adolescence was American English. Learning new expressions, new cultural references, new accents… all of this was very stimulating. Having this kind of deep interest in a language (and the culture that surrounds it) is also something that greatly helps in learning it.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a translator?
The main advice I would give is to read a lot, inform yourself a lot, and always talk to people with the intention of learning something. The translator is not only a deep connoisseur of two or more languages, but also a person who knows a little (or a lot) about various subjects. When knowledge of language is combined with general knowledge about different subjects and a deep knowledge about at least one area (such as finance, marketing, literature, etc.), that’s when a true translator is born.
The second advice would be to seek information on how to enter the market. I was fortunate to have uncles who could guide me, but nowadays, with the internet, information is available to anyone who goes through the trouble of seeking it out.
Finally, why do you Love Language?
To me, language is like a portal to a whole new world. It’s a tool that allows me to connect with people from different cultures, with different ways of seeing the world, and to learn about their histories and experiences. I find that learning new languages has opened up countless opportunities and connections for me, both personally and professionally.
Of all the languages I’ve studied, the English language holds a special place in my heart. It’s a fascinating language to delve into and master. I’m constantly amazed by the ways in which it has evolved over time, with new expressions and slang always coming up.
But what truly captivates me about languages is the interconnections between them. It’s fascinating to see how languages have borrowed words and concepts from each other over time, often due to historical events and migrations. As a speaker of Portuguese and Spanish, I was surprised to learn that many words in these languages have roots in Arabic, due to the period in which the Iberian Peninsula was ruled by the Moors from North Africa.
In summary, language for me is not just a means of communication, but a way to explore and understand the world around us. It’s a journey of discovery that never ends, and one that I feel privileged to be on.