"O portal de Capricórnio" goes to Bologna

Rafa Lombardino

Fellow translator Carlos Angelo contacted me a couple of weeks ago to let me know that his friend, author M.R. Olivieri, was looking for someone to work on the English version of her book, O portal de Capricórnio. About two-thirds of the first chapter (4,000 out of 6,250 words) had already been translated, and she needed someone to proofread it and make it sound natural.

I always hesitate when I have to proofread the work done by someone I don't know, especially when it comes to literary translations, because there are so many options a translator can choose from when trying to find the author's voice. However, the translation was surprisingly good and only needed some tweaking to fit the mood of the overall story and the register, since this is the first installment in a Young Adult sci-fi & fantasy trilogy.

The main character is Dru Ruver, a teenager who's spending her summer vacation near the Tropic of Capricorn when she makes a discovery that can change the world―it's simply the most important book in the history of Mankind!

After I sent M.R. Olivieri the revised translation, she got really excited about how the English version was coming together and gave me the green light to finish the remaining 2,000+ words to complete the first chapter. I also reviewed the official synopsis and author's bio, and now her agent will submit the material to the Bologna Children's Book Fair to raise awareness of the book among foreign publishers.

I really liked what I've read, which is appealing not only to young readers, but to everyone who enjoys a thrilling, creative fantasy story. The first chapter ended when Dru found the mysterious book and contacted Professor Filipe Meine, a world-renowned cartographer, to help her understand the obscure maps and inscriptions found in those pages.

I'm going to be rooting for the book and the author to get the support it deserves in this important event in Italy and hope for an English version to be available soon.


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).