To start the conversation, Marcia Monje offers us a powerful reflection quoting Amy Chua in her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother: “Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery.”
“I came to Australia from Brazil 32 years ago and I still have an accent. No matter what makes you migrate to a new country, being a migrant is not easy. Working for my community and serving those who need language support is really comforting. It makes me feel at home.”
Marcia is a Portuguese interpreter and translator. She had the idea of becoming an interpreter in the back of her mind for a long time but couldn’t find any training in Portuguese until she found out about the Multicultural NSW Scholarship Program. She took part in the program provided by University of NSW (UNSW) in 2022, and after finishing her course in June, she sat the NAATI test and joined the Multicultural NSW Panel soon after getting her NAATI certification.
“Being a mum of two and having a full-time job didn’t leave me much energy to get training on my own. Besides, the richness of a classroom environment, even a remote classroom, cannot be underestimated.
“The UNSW Introduction to Interpreting course was fantastic and left me wanting more. I decided to continue studying towards a Master of Translation and Interpreting which I am currently doing at UNSW. I’m interested in conference interpreting, literary translation, subtitling, localisation, everything really, and I’ll continue pursuing this career and see how far I can get.
“Now that my children are adults, I can devote more time and energy to studying and developing my translation and interpreting career. This is an interesting, exciting, and challenging profession.”
Working as a part-time interpreter, Marcia works mainly in health and police settings. Occasionally, Marcia interprets outside of the community setting. For example, last year she was the press interpreter for the subject of a Brazilian documentary during a promotional activity in Sydney. She did the voiceover for a training program she had translated.
We asked Marcia about the theme for this year’s International Translations Day: Translation unveils the many faces of humanity. She says the essence of interpreting and translating is allowing voices to be heard, and she is proud to enable others to have their voices heard.
For Marcia, every assignment brings great satisfaction. “You are always helping someone. Being the person who facilitates the communication is a privilege.”