As the world prepares for the new year, it is always nice to hear a story of triumph against all odds. Meet Lucia Pont Apostolo, a Spanish<>English translator and interpreter, who just happens to be blind. Lucia graduated as a translator from the School of Languages, National University of Cordoba, with honors in 2010. In 2013, she completed a postgraduate course in Interpretation at the same institution. She’s been working as a freelance translator since 2011.
When Lucia describes her transition to Braille as a child, she does it in an almost a humorous manner.
“When I was really young, I could see enough to read – sort of. I used a huge black pencil and huge notebooks and I read very slowly, because I could see only one character with my left eye, and then, the other, and so on. I had a teacher for the blind that helped me copying texts, transcribing them for me with big letters. When I was ten, I learned Braille and I was happy with the change. I used Braille and recordings during Elementary and Middle school. My mother recorded for me, my blind teachers recorded for me, my friends recorded for me! But at university I needed to read and write, because when you work with languages that is sort of an essential part.”
One would think that ‘seeing’, being able to read text, is crucial for translating; however, new technologies allow people like Lucia to pursue careers that a few years ago would’ve been impossible to even dream of. She uses a screen-reader, a technology that converts text into audio for the visually impaired. The screen-reader is Lucia’s eyes and although far from perfect, this new technology, allows individuals who used to be completely shut out of the production system, to work with CAT tools.
Despite the fact that she graduated as a top student, her struggle to make a name for herself in the field was as hard as any other translators’ and it has paid off due to her hard work and dedication. In the spirit of cooperation and recognizing Lucia’s talent and hard work, Translated in Argentina (TinA) sponsored her to attend the ATA conference in Miami. Although her presence came as a surprise to some, many forgot her disability after 5 minutes, upon recognizing her skill and knowledge of the profession.
Lucia describes her experience at the ATA Conference as “Fantastic! An important life experience that opened my mind and allowed me to think differently. It gave me hope.” Initially, she was intimidated, but with the help of Shya, her lovable service dog, she was able to walk through the aisles and break the ice with other attendants. “The Conference allowed me to see new horizons and possibilities.” She’s incredibly grateful to TinA for the opportunity and the support she received from all the members eager to help her at every turn.
Lucia has always been surrounded by people that support her and is a clear example of how cooperation can change someone’s life. Cooperation has been the cornerstone of her success and technology has been the key to her integration to the workforce.
The members of TinA, recognizing the challenges that it takes to pursue a career in language, and moreover, the efforts of many people that believe in Lucia’s talent, want to emphasize that cooperation is the key to success and wish you a 2016 full of blessings and prosperity.