10.01.2022 #literature

Sonia da Silva receives a career development support for training in literary translation.

Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg, as part of its mission to support artists and cultural professionals in their career development, offers a support for mobility, research and career development.

The support is designed to facilitate international mobility in order to acquire specific knowledge, a specialisation or an expertise. Sonia da Silva, eager to build more and more bridges between Portugal and Luxembourg through literature, applied for the mobility, research and career development support in order to take the course at the École de traduction littéraire and obtain a renown degree in translation to better serve various translation projects.


Sonia da Silva, could you tell us a little about your career?
After fifteen years working as a journalist in Luxembourg, mostly in the cultural field – I took part in the launch of two French-language newspapers that are no longer on the press market – I switched from information to communication. Before joining the Musée national d’histoire et d’art, Luxembourg in 2014, I had the chance to take part for three years in unique projects at the head of the Éditions Saint-Paul, including the collective book Bopebistro Buch (Lëtzebuerger Buchpräis 2013). As a Ph.D. in French Literature, I have always remained close to literature.

I am a founding member of the comité Printemps des poètes Luxembourg, for which I translate Portuguese poems into French, and I have a particular interest in translation. I translated the Brazilian novel A dama e o Luxemburguês (Ed. Record, Brazil, 2011) by the Luxembourgish author Marc André Meyers: the book was published in 2015 under the title D’amour et d’acier. At the end of last year, my first poetry translation was published by Cahiers de l’Approche, directed by Laurine Rousselet: La ville oubliée by the Portuguese poet Filipa Leal, with whom I participated in October in the Périphériques du Marché de la poésie in Paris (show “Refuges/Refúgios” at the Maison du Portugal André de Gouveia).


From January until the end of the year, you will be taking the course at the École de traduction littéraire in Paris. How did you find out about it and what do you expect from it?
Any opportunity to participate in workshops, training courses, festivals or conferences related to literary translation is good to take to stimulate and maintain the mental alertness required for this highly demanding task. Willing to engage further in this practice, I spotted the École de traduction littéraire online. Thanks to the support of Kultur | lx, this in-depth training programme, which is offered every other Saturday for one year, will allow me to benefit from structured and advanced long-term learning support.

By combining professional and multilingual translation workshops, this school offers applicants the opportunity to improve their technical skills and, above all, to meet top-class speakers.


Which Portuguese books would you like to translate? What do you particularly like about this literature?
It is often ignored, but translators give so much of themselves in the very time-consuming task of translation. So my choices will ideally be based on a smart agreement above all: the translator’s self-sacrifice must go hand in hand with the author (if he or she is still alive). The translator needs to pay close attention, and especially work in harmony to make the other’s language vibrate with sympathy in a foreign language. As for my preferences and projects, I’ve mostly been involved in poetry, which particularly appeals to me, but I don’t want to put aside narrative writings – Rita Ferro’s autobiography, A menina é filha de quem? (2011), winner of the Pen Club Narrative Prize, is a book that I would be thrilled to translate one day.

Portuguese literature, which often wavers between humour and melancholy, is an opportunity for me to maintain a nourishing link with my mother tongue, which has been little valued throughout my career. I find in the practice of translation a way to explore the best of my origins while working in my preferred language – French.


More information on the mobility, research and career development grant HERE.