Promoting Brazilian Literature Abroad

In the first installment of WHAT'S NEW, a section created to invite colleagues to contribute to Literary News, today I'd like to bring you a guest post by Pablo Cardellino Soto about the efforts that the Brazilian government is making to promote the national literature worldwide.

FBN Programs Supporting Translation Work in Brazil

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On November 19, 2012 Carolina Selvatici was a keynote speaker at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and talked about programs created by Brazil's National Library Foundation (FBN).

Carolina has a Bachelor's Degree in Social Communications, major in Journalism by UFRJ, and a Master's Degree in Languages and Literature by the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). She has been a translator since 2006 and, today, provides translations to publishers Bertrand and Tinta Negra Bazar Editorial, as well as production companies Dispositiva and Télétota. Since September 2012 she has been responsible for the Residency Program for Foreign Translators in Brazil created by FBN.

Click here to see presentation slides [in Portuguese]

Carolina started her presentation by mentioning that there are programs supporting translation work in virtually all European nations, as well as some Asian and Latin American countries. After going into detail about them, she said that, within the Brazilian context, these programs:

  • are managed by the FBN
  • are here to stay
  • have a set budget until 2020
  • offer grants of up to $8,000 USD in a continuous flow in areas of Literature and Humanities.

Publishers interested in participating must approach the FBN with a proposal that includes a contract with a translator and documentation on translation rights if the original work is not in the public domain.

In order to manage the Residency Program, the International Book Center (CIL) where Carolina works was created within the scope of the FBN. A complete list of programs promoted by FBN include:

  • Exchange Program for Brazilian Authors: It gives authors an opportunity to promote their work abroad, with a grant of up to $3,000 USD for authors to spend up to a month in another country.
  • Program to Support the Publication of Brazilian Authors: Original texts in Portuguese are published in partnership with the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) and, therefore, do not involve any translation.
  • Machado de Assis Magazine: Quarterly publication with English and Spanish translations of texts written by Brazilian authors. For a translation to be published, it needs to be submitted with a release of rights to the publisher signed by both the author and the translator.
  • Residency Program for Foreign Translators in Brazil: A grant of up to $15,000 BRL for translators to spend five weeks in Brazil, at most, and experience an immersion into the Brazilian language and social contexts.
  • Translators Committee: A place for translators to work together. It is currently being developed and final features are yet to be determined. However, for the time being, some characteristics implemented by similar programs worldwide include having translators: 
    • produce a signed translation contract 
    • spend two to three months at the facilities 
    • be either national citizens or foreigners (survey available)

At the end of her presentation, Carolina explained that the Committee won't necessarily have a grant and, at the moment, there is a  for interested candidates to share their opinion about which features the future program should have.


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PABLO CARDELLINO SOTO is a professional translator and translated literature researcher, specializing in fantastic literature. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Spanish Language and Literature and a Master's Degree in Translation Studies by the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC). He is from Uruguay and translates into Spanish and Portuguese. He translated Machado de Assis' Dom Casmurro and O alienista into Spanish. In collaboration with Walter Carlos Costa, he translated El coloquio de los perros by Miguel de Cervantes and Las hortensias by Felisberto Hernández into Portuguese.