When readers get in touch with translators

I was invited to speak before a book club in Rio called Clube do Livro Saraiva. This April's meeting took place on the 19th at a Saraiva bookstore, where I talked about translating "new adult" literature. The event was sponsored by Grupo Editorial Record and every book I translated for one of their publishing houses, Verus Editora, was featured at the book club: No limite da atração (Pushing the Limits), No limite da ousadia (Breaking the Rules)―both written by Katie McGarry―, Bela Distração (Beautiful Disaster) by Jamie McGuire, and True by Erin McCarthy. We also talked about some books I've finished translating and will soon be published, but are already being promoted by the publisher: Entrelinhas (Tammara Webber) and Crash Into You (Katie McGarry).

Those who know me are aware that I'm shy―and terrified of speaking in public―but I felt so comfortable that day in front of those 150 people who were there simply because they love reading. An older lady came to me and said, "It's so good to see young people who like reading so much, isn't it? My granddaughter loves it! She doesn't want to do anything but read!"

At a given moment during the event, someone asked me if I had a favorite book translation. Among those I've translated for Verus, there are two: No limite da atração, which was my first translation for the publisher and a book with characters I hold dear, in a story that talks about overcoming obstacles, and True, which also has strong characters and a thrilling story.

When I said how happy I was that the translation of Jamie McGuire's Brothers Maddox Series fell on my lap, some girls yelled next to me: "We're happy, too! We're happy, too!" Have you any idea what it's like for translators to see their work being recognized that way? We're lone wolves, we work alone at home most of our time and rarely have contact with readers. And it's such a rare occasion to get positive feedback from these readers, who are so demanding! My heart was outpouring with love.

After the event, my wishlist is much bigger now, because I learned about some authors and books I was unaware of. Some authors even sent out emails with messages to their Brazilian readers.

When I got back home, I was exhausted, but also extremely happy for having a chance to get in touch with so many excited, lively readers. It was so good to share with this group―there were so many young people there, and I'm so proud of them!―a little bit about what it's like to work as a translator and how excited we usually get while translating a book. I felt embraced by the love of so many after readers.


CLÁUDIA MELLO BELHASSOF has been an English-to-Portuguese translator and Portuguese copyeditor since 2003. She specializes in literary translations, especially romance, fantasy, and sick-lit for new adults and young adults. She was also a speaker at the 4th International Conference organized by the Brazilian Translators Association (ABRATES), the 5th Brazilian Translators Conference organized by Proz.com, at Café com Tradução, and the 55th Annual Conference organized by the American Translators Association (ATA). She also acted as General Secretary at ABRATES in 2012-2013.