This month for your reading pleasure, we have an interview with Rui Sousa, a Portuguese translator based in Porto.
NAME: Rui Sousa
PROFESSION: Professional Translator, Speaker and Trainer
WORK LANGUAGES: English, French, Spanish into European Portuguese
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Porto, Portugal
What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
My areas of expertise in translation are IT, Consumer Electronics, Technology, Marketing, Digital Marketing/Social Media, Business, Tourism and Travel, and Sports. My types of clients are mainly translation agencies. I tend to pursue small/medium-sized translation agencies committed to quality and that take a personalized and friendly approach with their translators. I also work with some direct clients and individuals from different settings since I believe in the power of word of mouth in our industry.
Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?
My typical day usually starts at around 10am, after having my breakfast. I am not a morning person, so I don’t like to get up very early (except of course when I am working on tight deadlines!). During the morning I normally check all my emails, take care of quotes, check my social media and read online newspapers and translation blogs. Since I am much more productive in the afternoon, I dedicate this part of the day to more demanding tasks, like translating and proofreading. In the evening (until 7pm) I deal with some admin tasks and APTRAD duties. For those of you who don’t know it, APTRAD is the new Portuguese Association of Translators and Interpreters. It was founded in 2015 and I am proudly one of its founders and vice-president.
What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
They are so many! I really enjoy learning those kind of things I would probably never heard of if I wasn’t translating them. I also love to get in touch with people, particularly talking to clients and looking for new opportunities of collaboration (I really love when I get a new client in one of my areas of specialization). Of course, translation events are a big plus, catching up with fellow translators, meeting new ones and talking to potential customers, while simultaneously learning new ways to improve our business. What I really like the most, however, is having the opportunity to rule my own business and manage all aspects related to it. I created my brand, Mind Words, in partnership with my colleague Luísa Matos and we work together since 2013.
Which aspects do you least enjoy?
Clients that see translation as the less important part of their investment, unfriendly and unhelpful PMs, agencies that use the “Dear asset” or “Dear resource” approach, and unreasonable deadlines defined by people who simply don’t know our trade.
How long have you been working as a translator?
Since 2006, the year I graduated.
Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?
Yes, I did. I graduated in Translation Studies in 2006 and since then I already worked as an in-house translator, in-house PM and freelance translator.
What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
I have always been into languages and cultures but I was never drawn into a teaching career or academic life. That’s why translation seemed a good choice at that time. Over 10 years later, I am sure that I’ve chosen the best profession in the world! Don’t you agree?
Is translation your sole professional work?
Yes, I am a full-time translator. I also work to make our profession stronger in Portugal and abroad with APTRAD. Last year I have also embarked in an adventure as an author together with two colleagues. We wrote an eBook about project management for freelance translators and you can take a look here.
Summing up, different types of work but all of them translation related.
Spanish and English > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)