Volume 12, No. 3 
July 2008



Front Page

Select one of the previous 44 issues.


Index 1997-2008

TJ Interactive: Translation Journal Blog

  Translator Profiles
On Becoming a Translator
by Salvador Virgen

  The Profession
The Bottom Line
by Fire Ant & Worker Bee
Everything’s Comin’ up Roses (with apologies to Stephen Sondheim)
by Bernie Bierman
Navigating in a New Era: Translators in the Age of Image and Speech
by Eileen B. Hennessy
Supply and Demand Analysis of Patent Translation
by Yvonne Tsai

  In Memoriam
A Farewell to Vera—In Memoriam Vera Maria Conti Nogueira: 1944 - 2008
by Danilo Nogueira

  Nuts and Bolts of Translation
Übersetzung deutscher Nominalkomposita aus der Fachsprache der Technik und Analyse typischer portugiesischer Entsprechungen
Katrin Herget, Holger Proschwitz
Proper Names and Translation
by Samira Mizani

  Translators Around the World
The Influence of the Market on Translating—A Tentative Study of the Market-oriented Translation in China
by Tian Chuanmao

  Scientific and Technical Translation
Mini-Guide to Translating French Documents
for English-Speaking Markets (with general tips for other language pairs and writers of EFL)

by M.L. Seren-Rosso

  Cultural Aspects of Translation
Translating Sexuality: The Translation Industry and Adult Websites
by Sathya Rao

  Literary Translation
Corpus-based Study of Differences in Explicitation Between Literature Translations for Children and for Adults
by Shih Chung-ling

  Translator Education
Bibliografía comentada sobre Traducción e Interpretación para estudiantes
Pablo Muñoz Sánchez
Individual Differences in the Translation Process: Differences in the act of translation between two groups of ESL Japanese students
by Atsushi Iida
El análisis crítico de traducciones literarias en la formación de traductores
Dra. Beatriz MĒ Rodríguez Rodríguez

  Book Reviews
Book Review: A Companion to Translation Studies
by Esmaeil Haddadian Moghaddam
Book Review: The Locas mujeres poems of Gabriela Mistral
reviewed by Liliana Valenzuela

  Translation Theory
Meaning: The Philosopher's Stone of the Alchemist Translator?
by Maite Aragonés Lumeras, Ph.D.

  Translators' Tools
Translators’ Emporium

  Caught in the Web
Web Surfing for Fun and Profit
by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Translation and Participatory Media: Experiences from Global Voices
by Chris Salzberg
Translators’ On-Line Resources
by Gabe Bokor
Translators’ Best Websites
by Gabe Bokor

Call for Papers and Editorial Policies
  Translation Journal


A Farewell to Vera

In Memoriam Vera Maria Conti Nogueira 1944 - 2008

by Danilo Nogueira


Vera Nogueira

   was working at one of the several small new colleges popping up all over Brazil at the time. That day Father Mello, the Dean, President, and general top banana told me to keep watch on a group of people taking an entrance test.

Why were there so many new colleges at the time, why was I working at one of them, why should a 20-year old petite brunette then called Vera Maria Conti be taking the entrance test? These are things that can be explained in a logical manner if one has the time and inclination; why Vera and I should meet then and there has no explanation except that it was the force of destiny.

I was stunned. Not by her beauty, because I was simply too stunned to notice how beautiful she was. I was stunned by her. If you have ever been in love, you don't need further explanation.

After the test, I stammered into a lame conversation with her and was glad to learn we had to ride the same train back home, because I already knew I wanted to spend every moment of my life near her. So I said it would be dangerous to ride the train alone at that late hour and offered to keep her company, an offer she gratefully accepted. Years later, she told me she too wanted to stay near me, so she pretended to believe my lie. One calls that mutual love at first sight.

Wooing girls has never been my specialty, but we were soon dating and got married in December 1967. According to Brazilian tradition, my family was to buy her wedding gown but, to my mother's chagrin, Vera rejected the traditional models in favor of a very simple dress on the grounds she did not feel comfortable parading down the aisle dressed as a wedding cake. That is the way she was.

It was a stormy relationship. We disagreed on many—not to say most—fundamental issues. But love always won and even in the last time we went out together, in early January of this year, we walked close together, her left arm around my waist, my right hand resting on her shoulder, as we did the first time we dated, more than 40 years before and ever after.

Vera was not happy about the college and dropped out before the end of the first term, but went back to school three years after we got married and earned her BA from a different institution. She never enjoyed translating. However, she was a great translation editor and proofreader and took great satisfaction in improving my work as well as in editing and proofreading other people's translations. We had endless discussions about contrastive grammar. And even when having one of our conjugal arguments, we often suspended the discussion to discuss a fine point of Portuguese usage, discussions she always won.

Can you see the smile in the picture above? The picture was taken by our friend and colleague Giovanna Lester during a social gathering after a session of the First Brazilian Translator's Conference in Rio, in 2003. People had been asked to introduce themselves and she had just said My name is Vera and I am the one who makes Danilo's translations so good. And she was right about that. Even after she became too ill to edit my work, I kept remembering her admonishments, often given in a sing-song voice I found infuriating. I hope I will not forget her remarks.

She was very happy that day in Rio. It was her first visit to the city and she loved it. She had an interest in 19th Century Brazilian literature and was charmed by the old buildings in the downtown area. We had a great time visiting the former Presidential Palace, now a museum.

In addition to editing and proofreading, she also managed the office and became more and more involved with domestic chores. When we got married, she thought "woman's work" was degrading and kept it to the barest minimum, a problem because I am a past master of incompetence in things manual. She was under the impression the only way to earn my respect was to make more money than I possibly could. Once she began to understand I loved her and respected her regardless of how much money she could make, she began to change.

First, she decided to improve her cooking skills. In her slow, methodical, plodding way, she read cookbook after cookbook, tried recipe after recipe—and became an outstanding cook. Then she decided (thank God!) we wanted children and in 1980 we adopted André, bringing him home when he was 12 days old. She also dabbled in painting and gardening and did a thousand and one other things, such as driving the family car, since I do not even know how to start the beast. Her energy seemed endless.

One of the reasons she was so happy the day Giovanna caught that radiant smile is she believed she was free from cancer forever. She had had a hysterectomy two months before, was doing very well, and we expected no further trouble. Cancer however returned for a second visit. Once more we shooed it away, but the third visit was final and fatal. On May 30, 2008, Vera left me at five in the morning. Her suffering ended then and there; mine will keep me company forever.

She was very proud that at sixty-plus she could still wear clothes bought when she was twenty. When my daughter-in-law and I were emptying her wardrobes, which were chockfull of clothes old and new, we found the salt-and-pepper sleeveless sweater she was wearing on February 4, 1965 when I first met her. I took the sweater in my hands and cried, as I am crying now.

Época, a Brazilian news weekly, publishes interviews that always end with the same question: if heaven exists, what would you like to hear when you arrive there? Well, what I would like to hear is "Vera will be here in a second."

My heartfelt thanks to Gabe Bokor for inviting me to write this farewell note and to Giovanna Lester for taking the picture that has been our favorite since the day we saw it for the first time..