The following will be a brief report on my reflections on the Casa Guilherme de Almeida internship position, in São Paulo, Brazil, during the period 1 August to 31 August. It will contain details on the work which I undertook, and the skills that I have acquired working at the institution.
My work at Casa Guilherme de Almeida was comprised of two parts: research and translation. For the part concerning research, I was involved in assisting the Casa Guilherme de Almeida in the conception of their literary translation database. My role was to gather the information which will eventually compose said database, which included research into a variety of areas related to the industry in general such as details on courses for would-be translators, sources of funding, etc, in essence anything which could be of use for literary translators’ careers. The part concerning translation involved me translating, from Portuguese to English, items of literature written by Guilherme de Almeida himself, which included poetry, chronicles and short stories.
The skills which I believe I have gained and/or developed during this internship are numerous, ranging from improvement of my career prospects to my own personal development. Career-wise, I think that the internship has really helped me to understand the translating industry and what it entails. Working in close-contact with others who have many years’ experience in the industry—with whom I could discuss techniques, clear up any doubts, and develop strategies etc—I found I was able to greatly develop my own understanding of translation as a whole and improve my capacity to translate effectively and proficiently which I am sure will help me in my final year as our study of foreign languages becomes more and more focussed upon translation into English. The practice I received at the Casa Guilherme de Alemida of translating complex texts such as poetry (blank-verse and haikais) not only taught me about English verse but also gave me an essential insight into an area of translation which I had never experienced before, which I found incredibly interesting and I am sure will be valuable in the future in my career. The research I did for the museum’s database will also be an invaluable body of information for myself as well.
Obviously, the trip was not without its benefits for my knowledge of Portuguese, which, up to this point, had been more or less entirely limited to the European variety. I was able to get used to a new accent, a new culture, and a new way of life which was quite different to the one which I experience during my year abroad in Portugal. I believe that it has opened many doors for me in terms of being able to be much more competent in the Portuguese language and understanding the societies which speak it, which will no doubt have great bearing on my final year and career in general.
On a more personal note, I believe that the experience of travelling to Brazil, working with Brazilians and being immersed in an entirely different culture and the challenges this represented has made me a much more confident person. I have discovered that I am able to work quite comfortably away from home and am able to immerse myself and get used to foreign cultures fairly quickly. In terms of independence, I found I was able to assess problematic situations rationally and in a composed manner, resolving them quickly. This was particularly the case when my laptop and my mobile decided to fail on me so many miles away from home! I found that I was able to cope without such devices, which I thought I was so dependent upon.
I shall never forget my experience during the internship at the Casa Guilherme de Almeida, it has taught me a great many things and I have memories which will endure for the rest of my life. Not only career-wise but also personally, the short time I was in Brazil has broadened my horizons and taught me much more than I could ever have hoped for just five weeks or so in a foreign country.