Working around the World

When Work Takes You Half Way Around The World

  • Working around the World
    Church of the Nazarene in the Netherlands
  • Interpreting Sunday Worship Service
    Portuguese and Spanish Interpretation teams.
  • Portuguese Interpreter
    Interpreting for the Brazilian Delegation in the Netherlands

 

It is no secret that I LOVE my job as a Portuguese Interpreter, but I just added another reason why I love it, the travel abroad component is something I certainly don’t mind.

In February, I was invited to work on the 2016 General Board Session of the Church of the Nazarene, which took place in Ede (one hour southeast of Amsterdam) in the Netherlands. As I told some friends about this assignment, one of the most recurring questions was: Do they not have Portuguese Interpreters in the Netherlands, or somewhere closer? The quick answer is I don’t know. The long answer is, they prefer to work with people they know and have some level of expertise in the subject matter.

My history with the General Board Meetings goes back to 2010. I first worked with the Church of the Nazarene on their 2009 General Assembly held in Orlando, FL. Since then I have worked on every General Board Meeting, which is held every year in late February. So I like to say I am somewhat of an expert interpreter in their subject matter, in my language pair of Portuguese <> English.

Covering topics like Global Education, Clergy Development, Missions, Finance, Regional and Global Reports, Worship Services, Preaching and a wide range of other subjects in these meetings, has become quite common to me. Since these meetings require simultaneous interpretation, they need two interpreters for each meeting, since there are often two or more meetings happening simultaneously, that requires at least 4 interpreters for each language. When all of these circumstances are considered, it is not so out of the ordinary that I get called to places like Orlando, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Kentucky, and even to foreign countries to assist as an interpreter.

Another perk of having a long and consistent history with an organization like this, is the fact that after a while, everyone starts to feel like family, so no matter where you end up meeting, you know you will meet, and work, and laugh, and catch up on stories… just like you would with any old friend.

I feel really blessed and privileged to be a part of the work of the Church of the Nazarene. I cherish the people I get to meet and the time I get to spend with them. And lastly, I really don’t mind when my work takes me half way around the world, to do something I am really passionate about.

6th Brazil Unlisted - Bradesco

6th Brazil Unlisted Conference – Bradesco

6th Brazil Unlisted Conference – Bradesco

On April 2016, I was hired by Bradesco Securities in NY, to interpret at their 6th Brazil Unlisted Conference. This is a conference where Bradesco brings together some of their large corporate clients who are considering the possibility of having an IPO in the near future. For two days, the main officers of such corporations have the change of visiting the NYSE, participating in presentations from both fund managers as well as other companies who recently went public.

 

There is one additional component to this event, maybe the core of it in my opinion, which is the one-on-one meetings with fund managers who have interest in their specific industry. These meetings last for about 50 minutes where the company makes a presentation to the fund manager as if they were doing their roadshow prior to an IPO. Fund managers have the opportunity to ask whatever questions they consider important, and eventually the companies get some feedback on how they can improve their presentation.

 

This is a win-win situation; the funds come out with some great industry specific data, and the corporations gain experience on what steps they must follow in order to have a successful IPO.

 

As the interpreter assigned to Grupo Mateus (a multichannel retail/wholesale/distribution company with revenues of nearly 5 billion Reais in 2016), I had the privilege of meeting the founder Mr. Ilson Mateus and his son Junior. With my support as an interpreter, my client’s limited English proficiency was not an issue during these very technical discussions.

 

laticrete-logo

Interpreter for Construction Industry

In April 2015, I was hired to interpret a 3-day training session for Laticrete International. A group of reps traveled from Portugal to Bethany CT, to participate in a dynamic training session with expert staff members, learning about some of Laticrete’s application systems.

 

Through intensive classroom sessions and multiple hands on demos, the participants learned about the specifications of products, surface preparation, primers and finish coatings, in addition to a factory tour.

 

Through the use simultaneous interpretation throughout the entire event, the participants were able to be properly trained in their native language (Portuguese), have active involvement by asking questions pertinent to their specific needs, and gain valuable knowledge about new coatings like the Spartacote system.

 

The vocabulary was technical and the schedule was full, but my colleague and I worked hard to ensure that the international guests enjoyed the same privileges and had access to the same information the other more English proficient participants had.

 

Laticrete’s headquarters has an awesome environment, co-workers really seem to treat each other like family, they are innovative, extremely knowledgeable about their industry, and have a global presence that continues to grow. I am looking forward to helping them again in future events.

Consecutive Interpretation

Interpreting at Columbia University

Another important assignment completed!

Consecutive Interpretation

Consecutive Interpretation for Dr. Edval Novaes’ Presentation on Rio’s Use of Big Data for Public Safety

 

On July 14th, 2015 I had the distinction of interpreting at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs during a conference on Technology and Innovation in the Public Service.

 

Working at such a prestigious institution and having the opportunity to sit on a panel next to some very distinguished guests, should be enough to make any professional in my position feel nervous. However, since the guests were as affable and gracious as they were intelligent, everyone made me feel like an important piece of this star-studded mosaic.

Consecutive interpretation

Consecutive interpretation for panel discussion

At this event I helped Dr. Edval Novaes make a presentation on the use of Big Data for the service of the Public of Rio de Janeiro, and also helped him to participate in a technical discussion of the ways Big Data is leading us into a brighter future.

Learning while I work, that is just one of the reasons I am passionate about my job.

Brazilian Portuguese Conference Interpreter for Pfizer

Interpreter for Pfizer

Brazilian Portuguese Conference Interpreter NYC

Portuguese Interpreter for Pharmaceutical Conference (Pfizer OWN IT)

On March 26th, 2015, I was hired to interpret several presentations from key leaders including CEO Ian Read, as they addressed global attendees on Pfizer’s culture.

There is a new trend in conference interpreting where we can do our work from a remote office using phone lines and a live WebX for image feed. Although there is still room for improvement, the technology enables simultaneous interpreting to take place without the need to use sound proof booths, and onsite transmitters. Better yet, there is the potential for global reach to anyone with an internet connection or a simple phone line.

Being active and utilizing different technologies to get the job done, keeps my mind open about different ways my service can be delivered in order to be the most effective and efficient for my clients.

Portuguese Interpreter for Pfizer

Cid Gomes

Interpreting for the Brazilian Min. of Ed. Mr. Cid Gomes in New York

On Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 I had the honor to work for the Brazilian Minister of Education Mr. Cid Gomes, as the Brazilian Government continues to work hard to ensure that Brazilian citizens have access not only to education within their national boarders, but also abroad through partnerships and programs such as the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (Ciências sem Fronteiras) – a one-year, non-degree program for Brazilian students to study abroad in the United States.   Mr. Gomes met with the president of the Institute of International Education (IIE) Mr. Allan E. Goodman to speak about the present and future of Science Without Borders. This was a lively discussion that encompassed many statistics about the program, challenges and the future outlook.   In preparation for this interpretation assignment, I also had the pleasure to meet with two grantees of the BSM Program, who described this dream-come-true type of opportunity they were given. “This is really a program that has given me the chance to learn about many aspects of the American culture, beyond the obvious academic opportunity to further my understanding about civil engineering.” – said one of the students.   Not many people can really say they love the work they do, but for me, moments like these where I get the chance to meet with key government policy makers, and even more, personally get to see the positive results of their work, that is when I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that I love being a Portuguese Interpreter for politics. Maybe no one else may think of it in the same way that I do, but at the end of the day, I feel in some small way, directly or indirectly, I have made use of my skills to help the decision makers change the lives of thousands of individuals, and eventually their families as well.   It was an honor to meet Mr. Gomes, and I hope to have other opportunities to help him keep Brazilian education as a top priority of the government.

Portuguese Interpreter in NYC for US-Brazil Academic Partnership Workshop at IIE | Portuguese Interpreting

Portuguese Interpreting for ICOSAC Meeting, 2014

Last week my assignment was in Kansas City, MO. with the International Course of Study Advisory Committee (ICOSAC) of the Church of the Nazarene is a body that brings together Regional Education Coordinators from each of the world regions and other key members of the International Board of Education, to discuss issues pertaining to the Course of Study of the 54 Nazarene institutions around the world. These meetings took place at King Conference Center at the Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.  http://www.nts.edu/king-conference-center/

Portuguese Interpreter in NYC for US-Brazil Academic Partnership Workshop at IIE | Portuguese Interpreting

 

Under the leadership of Dan Copp, this committee discusses the challenges and successes achieved throughout the world, as well as works diligently to promote, standardize, and facilitate the ability to create leaders that have not only completed a rigorous course of study, but also are dully prepared to deal with various aspects of a ministry.

 

The interpretation team composed of Diego Rodrigues (Pt), Angel Sigui (Sp), Samuel Aparicio (Sp) and myself (Pt), was actually a group of talented professionals who have been working together for the past 5 years or more. It is great to work with knowledgeable colleagues as we can help each other during the assignment and “hang out” with friends on breaks and evenings.

 

The discussion of a very specific aspect, the Nazarene Higher Education does not come without some technical terminology and a good amount of acronyms specific to their work, but a certain amount of previous experience doing portuguese interpreting with this group, in addition to a little patience and quick learning skills, provided for a quality output and permitted all the participants (English speakers or otherwise) to understand the discussions as well as give their input.

Portuguese and Spanish Interpreters | Portuguese Interpreting

Interpreting teams of Portuguese and Spanish for the ICOSAC meetings of 2014 at the Kings Conference Center in Kansas City, MO.

 

We closed the event with a great dinner together where they even sang happy birthday to me, feels good to be surrounded by people who appreciate your work.

 

Once again I feel honored to be able to work with people who are working to advance the Kingdom of God.

Portuguese Interpreting for Institute of International Education in US-Brazil Academic Partnership Workshop

Simultaneous Portuguese Interpreter for U.S.-Brazil Academic Partnerships Workshop

Portuguese Interpreter in NYC for US-Brazil Academic Partnership Workshop at IIE

Portuguese Interpreter for IIE’s US-Brazil Academic Partnership Workshop in New York, September 29-30th, 2014

 

Portuguese Interpreting for Institute of International Education in US-Brazil Academic Partnership Workshop

US-Brazil Academic Partnership Workshop

September 29th and 30th, 2014.

In a recent assignment I had the honor to work as a Simultaneous Portuguese Interpreter with the Institute of International Education– a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance international education and access to education worldwide. This time I was surrounded by brilliant academic minds, working together to further the interests of the global academic community during the U.S.-Brazil Academic Partnerships Workshop.

Nearly 50 representatives from approximately 30 US and Brazilian Higher Education Institutions joined their minds in a lively discussion of the challenges, opportunities and successes of the internationalization of education, going way beyond a student exchange program, by discussing programs that create the possibility to exchange students, faculty, ideas and researches.

In this conference I was able to provide them with simultaneous interpretation services including equipment, booth and a booth partner. My clients and their guests were really pleased with our performance, which bridged the language barrier and helped their event to be as dynamic and effective as they intended it to be.

The use of wireless equipment made it possible for all participants to freely make their contributions and know they were being understood by everyone in the room, all without having to add to the conference time, as would have been the case if they had chosen to use a consecutive interpreting method.

Another task accomplished, another happy client. More importantly, I left with a deeper understanding of international education, a richer bilingual vocabulary in the field and a very unique experience of hearing first hand how the future of education in Brazil and the US is shaping up.

I love being a Simultaneous Portuguese Interpreter as it constantly challenges me to learn new vocabulary, concepts, ideas and strategies.

Performance Plastics

Portuguese Interpreting for Plastics Manufacturer

Portuguese Interpreting for Plastics Manufacturer

So another assignment took me to New Hampshire, a 2-day assignment assisting a group of Brazilian engineers, during a training session at the multinational Saint-Gobain Plastics, in Merrimack, NH. Talk about nerves… I was asked if I felt confortable with the subject matter of “plastics” but was given no specific info as to what would be discussed. Would they use technical terminology? Would they discuss aspects of the machinery? The process? The materials? Business Strategy? Management? Situations like this one, are always tricky, imagine all the money that goes into R&D and New Market Development… who wouldn’t be reluctant to open up all of that information to a random interpreter they never met before?

All interpreters and translators should know that most of their work must be done with a high level of confidentiality; some are better at it than others. Herein lies the value of dealing straight with your interpreter instead of going through an agency: when dealing straight with the service provider, you can count on the fact that you are evaluating that person who will be working with you, when using an agency, you are trusting an agency, who supposedly trusts their freelancers. The thing is, an agency is not only looking to hire a trustworthy interpreter, but they also are looking to hire one who charges them a little less and thus allows for a greater profit margin, I’ll let you figure out which one turns out to be more important for them.

After some negotiation they agreed. Meetings started slow with some safety overview, which was pretty simple and allowed me to get a sense of what they did and how they did it. That was followed by a short visit to the plant floor where I saw the machines and learned some of their names. Next we went into a series of meetings where I drew on my knowledge of some general mechanical terms while at the same time I learned some new ones. I confess that it was confusing when I heard that they were buying a calendar from abroad (at this point my interpreter’s brain sounds an alarm and in a millisecond I think about how unlikely it is that they would discuss the purchase of a calendar – who buys a calendar these days? -, and worse, why would they decide to buy it from a different country?), so I stopped and asked them to describe the calendar for me, as they described this huge multi-ton machine, my ears adapted and then I could hear that the proposed purchase was of a calenDER machine; ah, that made a lot more sense, I could then go back to my Portuguese Interpreting.

Calender Machine

Calender Machine

 

In the next few hours I learned the names of some of their products, materials, abbreviations, etc. I learned the difference between fusing and semi fusing, carrier belt and film, substrates, oven, dispersion, splices and thermal mapping. At the beginning of day 2 I was asked to stay for an extra day as they found that my services were key in ensuring their goals for this training session were met.

 

Once again I finished an assignment feeling like someone just paid me to gain some knowledge of a very specific industry. Thanks Saint-Gobain, I hope this was the first of many.

 

Portuguese interpreter

New Trend on Sight Translation of Text Messages

I was recently asked to translate a few words, which apparently included some offensive language. No problem, I jumped right on it and translated, giving some insight about the cultural use of those words, but in general just translating the word from Portuguese to English.

 

A few days later, the same client asked me if I was willing to depose as an expert witness on the case involving the foul language previously translated. With some skepticism of what could be asked of me, I requested to be provided with a full version of the conversation that included those words. The client did as requested, and as I looked through the conversation, I saw that more than half of the supposed offensive language was simply part of a regular chat between two adults who were indeed using offensive language, but not in an offensive manner.

 

Furthermore I came across lots of misspellings, sarcasm and shorthand, which were all very circumstantial at best. Considering the context and perceivable tone of the conversation, I was able to advise the client that more would be needed in order to prove misconduct in the workplace. My advice was well received and they researched and found additional supporting evidence, which ultimately helped them win the case.

 

In situations such as these, experience comes in as a valuable asset. Had I not known what the intended use of that translation was, I would never be able to raise a red flag. Having worked on both sides (plaintiff and defense), I gained enough experience to pick up on “small” details that make a “big” difference. Any bilingual can translate, but it takes a professional linguist to pick up on nuances and deliver the appropriate message.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this brief note, and I hope I have helped you to make a wiser decision.