Hall of fame: Thiago

As well as becoming a Gengo Wordsmith, Thiago is also one of our newest Senior Translators in the English to Portuguese Brazilian language pair. He believes that reading a lot—in both your source and target languages—is the first step to being able to write well as a translator.

What languages do you speak and what are your experiences with learning them?

My native language is Portuguese Brazilian but I’ve always enjoyed learning English, too. When I was 13, I started a five-year English course to improve my grammar and conversation skills. At 23, I volunteered as a full-time translator at a translation office for religious purposes, and worked there for almost seven years. This gave me experience as an English-Portuguese translator and proofreader. I also read a lot, so I’m always in contact with written Portuguese as well as English.

Since late 2013, I’ve been working as a freelance translator at home. This gives me more flexibility and time to spend with my family and on volunteer work, which is really important to me. Although I work with other agencies, Gengo is my main source of income and I enjoy a lot it’s great virtual environment.

What are your favorite translation tools?

I think today’s translators need a good computer (which includes a comfortable keyboard and mouse, a big screen and fast processing system); reliable access to the Internet; as well as translation memories and online information resources.

Since I consider myself as a member of Generation Y, I constantly use online sources. My favorite dictionaries are The Free Dictionary (English) and Aulete (Portuguese). For English-Portuguese translation resources, I use Linguee and ProZ, as well as Wikipedia as an encyclopedia. When necessary, I use MemoQ for translation memories.

However, sometimes I prefer not to use computer-assisted tools because I think they can hinder the translation flow. When possible, I like to type and “feel” the text. Then, after translating, I always proofread it to avoid errors.

What are your tips to become a Wordsmith?

It’s important to think positively about achieving that goal. When you start translating for Gengo, 500,000 words sound way too much. However, if you get involved in something that you really enjoy, time just passes by. Suddenly, you will have translated all those words (and even more).

I encourage you to read a lot, both in the foreign language (to get to know its expressions and nuances) as well as your native tongue (to learn spelling and grammar rules). Reading is the first step to writing well.

Lastly, do not ignore small jobs. You know, little strokes fell great oaks

For me, being a freelance translator (especially for Gengo) is a really nice way to learn, communicate and, of course, earn some money in the comfort of my own home. And as a Wordsmith—and 500,000 words later—I’m much happier as a translator than I was two years ago when I started working for Gengo!

Want to become a Gengo translator?

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Megan Waters

The author

Megan Waters

Megan manages all things translator-related as Gengo’s Community and Digital Content Manager. Born in South Africa but now based in Tokyo, she’s passionate about languages and people. Megan spends her free time exploring secondhand shops, camping in the mountains and hosting the occasional dinner party.


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