Domain: Journalism/Social Sciences/History/Literature

In 2015 I was invited to do the translation of an Afro-Portuguese newspaper from the 1920’s for the project: Digital Bilingual Edition of Correio de Africa [Africa Mail] Newspaper (1921-24) with Scholarly Apparatus (PT-ENG).

I am honored to be part of such an interesting and innovative research which has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor – University of Maryland, USA. The team led by Professor Zita Nunes will now continue with the translation, annotation and analysis of the newspaper and will eventually publish the outputs of the project on a website. Stay tuned for more interesting news soon!


The main challenges of this translation are:

  • The elaborate style of this 1920’s Portuguese newspaper with very long sentences and an excessive use of adjectives and figures of style.  
  • the many complex words – some no longer in use, others part of very specific dialects or regionalisms.
  • the cultural, geographical and time references which had to be transcreated and explained to the Anglophone reader.

To solve these difficulties I had to cut sentences and paragraphs, use simpler vocabulary and research cultural equivalents in the English language to make the target text understandable for a contemporary American public without losing the original “flavor” of the source text.

For the most part, this work involved interpreting the writer’s original idea and summarizing or rewriting it in a way that was intelligible for the target audience.

Here are two samples of this work:

Original (PT)


Translation (ENG)

Notes and comments

«Correio de África»

The «Correio de África» came out today with a completely new look. Not with the same Direction or the same proprietors. It is thus necessary to state categorically, in a few words and to avoid any erroneous interpretations, that this transformation does not obey the whims of individual ambitions and that the newspaper still has the same doctrinal principles and the same fighting procedures.

Whites and blacks

The Jornal de Notícias of Porto, in a sort of an article entitled Whites and Blacks, intends to show with the kind of cheekiness that only ignorance can provide, that the Negroes in Portugal, contrary to what happens in North America and England, have the same rights as the whites. The Jornal de Notícias is lying. You must first study the legal conditions of the individuals of the black race among us and then you can speak…

To make and unmake laws

We copied from A Epoca the following curious excerpt:

«Mr. Vasco Borges violently attacked in Parliament the Minister of the Colonies because of the laws this gentleman has been decreeing. The Minister declared that from the laws that were so rudely attacked by the dissident democrat deputy, the one concerning the telegraph-postal services had already been suspended and the one concerning the judicial magistrates was going to be, either today or tomorrow.
The great majority admired the heart and character of the Minister who thus revoked laws that he had decreed the day before.
Mr. Vasco Borges couldn’t help himself and said:
– Well, it would be best, Minister, if Your Excellency applies your talent to other things rather than to the making and unmaking of laws.»

Original (PT)


Translation (ENG)


The black people of America are preparing a colossal movement of protest against their secular slavery

The «colored Regiments» have affirmed in the Great War their undeniable heroism and invincibility. «Africa for the Africans» – this is the formidable cry that echoes everywhere, awakening a whole race of slaves for a free and happy life.
Marcus Garvey preaches the exodus of the Negroes of America to Africa. – The Black Star Line. – The dream of a Universal Negro Republic.

The Negroes emancipation movement is like a big ocean…
The strong beating of their palpitations and of their cholera fills their centuries-old masters with dread!

Mainly in North America, the black race movement is taking gigantic proportions.
Marcus Garvey is the most acclaimed leader of the Afro-Americans.

It is indispensable, before defining the fundamental characteristics of the Afro-American movement, to recall, though briefly, the political and social situation of the millions of Negroes who live in the United Sates of North America.
It is useful, before anything else, to go back half a century to the time of the bloody war of  Separation which divided the North American Republic into Northern States and Southern States.
The former did not have many slaves and had already given them their freedom, though they didn’t put them at the same level of equality as the white citizens.
The latter, after their defeat, were forced to release their four million Negroes but also refused to recognize their civil and political rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
Thus, while the North closed their schools and universities to the Negroes and only admitted them in their electoral colleges with a lot of restrictions, the South, more hypocritical, sneakily looked for a way to close their schools and voting rooms in a more permanent way.
The differences in the process of domination resulted in this contrast: the North produced relatively quickly a colored intellectual elite, while the Negroes of the South remained in total ignorance with the rare exception of the young men who were able to take refuge in the big northern cities.