New Book Translation: "It Never Rains in Colombia" by W. H. Benjamin

I'm thrilled to announce my first YA translation: "It Never Rains in Colombia," by W. H. Benjamin. The book is almost 60,000 words long, divided into 20 chapters. I'm 10 hours into this English-to-Portuguese translation, having covered a little over 10,000 words (1/6 of the entire book!)

I'm really enjoying W. H.'s writing, which shows the sensibility of a young woman named Harlow finding the truth about her family, falling in love for the first time, and making new friends along the way at a preppy school. Following my method, I haven't read the entire book in advance, so I'm discovering the path Harlow is going down as she takes each steps, which is really exciting.

As far as the translation is concerned, my main challenge so far is identifying British terms and differentiating their meaning from my American-oriented knowledge. For example, when Harlow goes to "college" in the U.K. at 16 years of age, it doesn't mean she's getting a head start on higher education. The British may refer to "college" as the last two years of what I understand as high school, also known as "Six Form" or "Key Stage 5" in England, a compulsory education period when students are 16-18 years old.

Another challenge is making sure that the dialog rings as true in Portuguese as it does in English. In that case, I have to free myself from some of the conventional grammar in my native language in order to make those sentences flow naturally, as 16-year-olds would talk in Brazil. While some people would frown upon it, saying that you can't really structure sentences this or that way, I would rather have the target audience identify with this girl, who should be speaking at their level and shouldn't sound pompous at all. I want readers to enjoy Harlow's journey as she is discovering a whole new world that is completely different from what she had in mind a few months before the truth was revealed to her.

I'll write more about my progress in "It Never Rains in Colombia" as soon as I have a chance and can comment on the story without disclosing any key information (you have to read for yourselves to be surprised too!) For now, here's the official synopsis:

When 16-year-old Harlow falls for the most popular boy at her prestigious new school, she discovers a secret that will change both of their lives forever. 

Harlow embarks on a life-altering journey into the dangerous heart of the other students’ shady pasts. 

It Never Rains in Colombia is a thrilling tale of friendship, love and heartbreak.


RAFA LOMBARDINO is a translator and journalist from Brazil who lives in California. She has been working as a translator since 1997 and, in 2011, started to join forces with self-published authors to translate their work into Portuguese and English. In addition to acting as content curator at eWordNews, she also runs Word Awareness, a small network of professional translators, and coordinates two projects to promote Brazilian literature worldwide: Contemporary Brazilian Short Stories (CBSS) and Cuentos Brasileños de la Actualidad (CBA).