In April 2022, Protection International invited me to translate the 5 winning Portuguese poems (out of 438 submitted from 58 countries) to English for their Human Rights Defenders Poetry Challenge. And a challenge it was: Translating poetry was not only somewhat new to me, but also required an entirely different process — think printing the poems and what I already had and taking it to my favorite fort to work (old-school, with a pencil!) listening to the waves crashing against the rocks. The work also took a lot of letting go, as with poetry, you have to accept not everyone will read the work in the way/musicality/rhythm I intended to. It was a fantastic new experience, and I hope I did justice to the winners.
The original and translated poems were compiled into an interactive and pdf booklet (Portuguese-English translations on pages 40-48) launched at the Human Rights Defenders Virtual Poetry Reading on June 15th, 2022.
Protection International is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human rights defenders. It runs field projects in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Nepal, Thailand, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, and conflict-stricken zones like the East and Horn of Africa in collaboration with local partner organizations.
Shakespeare in the Ruins starts streaming “Shakespeare’s Will” this weekend with closed captions in Portuguese, which I’m ecstatic to have translated - including Shakespeare’s Sonnet CXLV — which was a fascinating (and terrifying) adventure.
SHAKESPEARE’S WILL, by Vern Thiessen is a digital production based on the 2020 ShakespeareFest production by Rory Runnells
STREAMING NOVEMBER 19 to DECEMBER 5, 2021
Meet Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife. Anne is mourning her husband, avoiding reading his will and, instead, she unpacks their whole relationship before our eyes – from the day they met to the day he died, revealing secrets and passions. This beautiful, cheeky and sensual play is a poetic meditation on love and loss by one of Canada’s most soulful playwrights.
Just had a professional dream come true...
Thank you, United Nations, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Alimentação Consciente Brasil, and Prefeitura do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro's City Hall) for officially publishing the Portuguese version of The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact Monitoring Framework (MUFPP), which I translated as a volunteer.
And thank you Aline Bernardes, Gabrielle Guimarães, Larissa Lopes e Nicole Caus for the amazing job with the review.
You can read and download the PDF here: http://www.fao.org/publications/card/en/c/CA6144PT
In order to develop sustainable and resilient food systems, provide nutritious and accessible food to all, while protecting biodiversity and fighting against food waste, 199 cities signed the MUFPP, which laid-out 44 indicators (6 workstreams and 37 recommended actions) as a monitoring framework for Urban Food Policies. The goal is to reach the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The purpose of the Monitoring Framework is to serve as an instrument for cities and urban food stakeholders to identify food-related policy and programme priorities. The Framework also serves to illustrate to what extent “desired changes” are happening, or how impactful such changes are.
Three years ago, I flew back from an almost 6-month trip to New York, straight from Manhattan’s 40ºF/5ºC late fall to Rio de Janeiro’s Maré (one of the largest slum complexes in the city) 110ºF/43ºC early summer.
After 2 weeks interpreting for the "Maré Week of Food Sovereignty" and visits to several urban gardens in Rio’s most neglected areas (including Manguinhos, Vila do Pinheiro, Morro do São Carlos, Morro da Formiga, and UFRJ’s Campus) and 2 years working in the English-Portuguese translation for the project's book on the struggle for food sovereignty in favelas, it’s finally here:
FAVELA, RESISTÊNCIA E A LUTA PELA SOBERANIA ALIMENTAR, a collective work from Antonis Vradis, Christos Filippidis, Timo Bartholl, Minhocas Urbanas, with a foreword by Raj Patel.
Food sovereignty refers to the political conditions necessary for everyone to eat with dignity. As the pandemic puts Brazil back on the world hunger map, the theme and intention behind this work matter more than ever. This was one of the most significant works of my career, and I am forever grateful and proud to have been a part of it.
So it's been a year since the madness started and somehow it feels like nothing has changed but A LOT has changed.
My 'now' has been staying low-key and wrapping up projects.
Completed the book I was translating in the last semester of 2020.
Added some very final touches to a book I worked on early-mid last year, which in turn wraps up a project I started working on in December 2018. Excited for it to come out. Also, I guess I can say I reached the 50 translated books mark (even though a part of it was written in Portuguese so I didn't translate the entire book)!
Still learning French and still feeling like a caveman who can speak single words but not quite put together an entire sentence lol.
Completed a Reiki Level 1 training and initiation course (remotely, ofc) and am now Reiki certified.
Trying to enjoy the little things, like a very rare outing to Rio's Botanical Garden (accidentally picked a lovely 113ºF day, sweet lord), and being in awe of this Sumaúma tree (a personal favorite of Tom Jobim, who would visit the place every day and sit by this exact tree).
Also had the best time when this lil' guy apparently got lost from his mom and showed up on my window, where he spent an entire afternoon watching me and waiting for his family to show up and retrieve him (they did).
Yeah, it's all about the little things indeed.
I received an amusing email from my past self the other day, written a little over a year ago while in Nice. It's funny (and not always in the best of ways) how the 'Now' can be different from what you imagined it would be. If you haven't used FutureMe emails yet, give it a try. Every time I receive one, I write myself a brand new one and select a random date to get it.
So what's my 'now' this time?
Just trying not to lose it, I guess.
Ok, let's not be gloomy.
Started my 49th book translation <3
Was interviewed by Proz's Andrew Morris for this awesome Translation Postcard about being a translator in Rio
Still taking French lessons - I thought life was complicated, then I was introduced to le passé composé. As if 2020 needed that, LOL (or MDR - morte de rire).
Speaking of 2020, here are some of its lessons for me and my latest thoughts on it:
Everything is impermanent - the good and the bad.
We don't control anything.
Life is messy.
People are messier.
Denial is ugly and a lot more common than we think.
Even having lost over a handful of very dear people and hoping for others hanging by a thread as I write this, I am grateful.
2020 was like being in a Super Mario Bros-style videogame, jumping over and dodging obstacles as you juggle 4 or 5 balls at once and mentally try to solve a math equation with a hundred people shouting random numbers in your ears to distract you.
I'll leave with this video from more peaceful, innocent times (back in ancient March 10th, 2020). It's from an exhibit I went to in São Paulo (a couple of days after Mercy for Animals Brazil's coordinators and leaders' annual meetup). A few hours after I filmed this (Sitting on the floor! Without a mask! No hand sanitizer anywhere in sight either!), I took a plane back to Rio, and that was the moment I understood the world was changing - the always packed SP-RJ flight was already empty, and there was just something different about the energy. The video and its music stayed with me as a goodbye to a world so recent and yet so far away.
In the first months of “quarantine” — which in Brazil never really existed for many — I got a very FOMO-like feeling that I was not catching up on all the reading + shows and movie watching + recipe-experimenting that everyone else was doing. People were having happy hours with friends on Zoom, working out along Instagram lives, and TikTok-ing the latest choreographies, whereas I had been booked for a heavy load of work early on the year (which I’m super grateful for) and, having been a remote worker for over a decade, that part of my life went on as usual.
Looking back now, though, and finally deciding to create a NOW page (inspired by Derek Sivers, one of the clients I was working for at that time — thank you, Derek!), I can see that small steps go a long way in 6+ months.
So this first NOW post is not so much about “now” because it includes a little bit of “then.”
And yes, I did end up watching a couple of films and shows — gory, true murder ones, with as few seasons and episodes as possible. I am finally owning up to my creepy taste for crime shows.
FOMOQP (Fear of Missing Out on Quarantine Problems) aside, I also did catch up on a few courses and started new ones since March, which include:
Speed Reading (that was when I was still full-on FOMOQP mode and wanted to catch up on all my reading because, well, that’s what everyone else was doing)
Completing Nomadic Matt’s and David Farley’s Superstar Travel Writing course. (Oh, yeah, in December 2019 I had decided to get into travel writing in 2020 – best timing ever, I know.) Now, while I dream of a day of open borders, jet lag, and dubious airplane meals again, I’ve been participating in their awesome community of travel lovers – and they even have happy hours on Zoom too!
This super fun Tamsen Henderson’s Complete Copywriting Workshop
A United Nations/UNITAR's one-day course on Confronting Trauma
And finally started learning French with a private teacher on Skype — something I've always wanted to do and which will come in handy on my next stop for a true French baguette in ooh-là là-land.
As for work, I am currently translating my second book of the year — a couple more and I’ll be working on my 50th. Also happy to say that most of the translation content I’ve been receiving this year shows an enormous increase in themes that help me believe there are people out there striving for a better world: food sovereignty & safety, police violence, the Green Revolution's impact, urban peripheries, small-scale food production, hunger, environmental protection, the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Milan Urban Food Pact, sustainable architecture, Mercy for Animals Brazil’s investigations and campaigns, B-corps, and deforestation (as well as its link to the meat industry, global warming, and the fires ravaging our beautiful planet right now).
I also had the chance to do remote consecutive interpretation on Zoom for a dear, amazing long-term client, actress Maria Gal — who's been doing awesome work for the BLM movement in Brazil — translating Samuel L. Jackson’s Masterclass acting course for her. Finally, I read and reviewed a lovely book by Grant Lingel, co-founder of Sentient Media, a nonprofit media organization working to create transparency around industrial agriculture and the impact it has on humans, the environment, and animals.
Thinking back now, I probably made more connections with some pretty amazing people this year than in a long time — all that from home and with a not-so-serious-anymore case of FOMOQP.