Translator Spotlight: Mariana Lima and Cris Gurgel


ZOO Community brings together an awesome group of inspiring individuals who are passionate about language and translation. Their dedication and creativity opens up a world of opportunities for our clients to deliver localized content and reach audiences around the world.

In our latest translator spotlight, we spoke with two of our super-talented freelancers, Mariana Lima and Cris Gurgel. Specializing in European and Brazilian Portuguese, respectively, this duo has a wealth of translation expertise under their belts.

Find out what a day in the life of a translator looks like for Mariana and Cris – and their experience as part of ZOO Community!

Tell us a bit about yourselves!

Mariana Lima

Mariana Lima: I’ve always been passionate about languages and literature. By the age of nine, I had already devoured the children’s section in my local library. I think what solidified my interest in translation were the Latin classes I attended in high school. I had a wonderful teacher, and we did a lot of translation exercises in class. It was exhilarating for me to dissect all the sentences and dive into the paper dictionary, looking for unfamiliar words to learn. Being part of ZOO Community allows me to do what I love, connecting cultures and bringing people together through a love of languages.

Cris Gurgel

Cris Gurgel:  I’ve been working as a translator since 1998, but I’ve always loved learning other languages. I started studying English as a teenager. In college, I earned my degree in translation and interpretation, then studied translation, dubbing and subtitling, for a range of different media types, before subsequently earning my master’s degree in translation. This allowed me to follow my passion and work for a renowned company, translating content for some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.

What does a ‘day in the life of a translator’ look like for you?

ML: I work part-time in a museum, so some days it means having interactions and giving out explanations in four different languages, which is a lot of fun but can be confusing. The days I work from home start slower with a nice cup of tea or coffee. The flexibility that ZOO’s cloud-based system provides allows me to plan work around my personal life.

CG: I’ve always loved working with ZOO because every day is different. The diverse range of content that ZOO localizes, from human anatomy to world history means you’re always learning something new as you do your job.

Apart from that, I’m constantly building different idioms. I think it’s beautiful putting the words and thoughts from one idiom into another, so native speakers can understand, read, hear and watch in their own language. I love it!

What are the biggest translation uncertainties or difficulties you’ve run into?

ML: Whenever I run into something tricky, I remember: ‘The internet is your friend!’ Also, don’t underestimate the power of the ZOO Community. I have previously relied on the support of fellow translators when I was unsure about specific terminology. It’s awesome to be part of such a talented and supportive community.

CG: It’s always a challenge to translate puns and jokes, especially if you don’t have the equivalent in the target language. In my area, translation for dubbing and subtitles, another challenge is respecting the CPS and WPM of the subs. In my case, from English into Portuguese, since in Portuguese the constructions are longer than in English. It’s also challenging to adapt the subtle distinctions from one phrase to another and keep the ultimate product as good as it was written in the original language. But that’s the beauty of this profession.

How has your localization project manager helped you to do your best work?

ML: My project manager has always been incredibly supportive, which made me feel so at ease. She’s very prompt to answer all my questions and I know that I can contact her anytime. The support and understanding that she’s always shown me has allowed us to build a great working relationship.

CG:  My project manager, Florelyn Gutierrez, is extremely friendly and always ready to help me out. Anytime I ask for help, she’s always patient and there for me. She’s really made me feel part of ZOO Community.

Any stand-out moments working with ZOO that made you appreciate what you do?

ML: The chance to translate and subtitle meaningful and cool content. The subject matters are always changing, and ZOO works for some of the biggest names in the movie industry. This has opened up some unique work opportunities for me, which previously I may never have had.

CG: Well, all my moments with ZOO have been incredible, in part because ZOO is an excellent company to work for and because I absolutely love what I do. It’s been a wonderful experience for me being able to combine my passion and work. The respect everyone shows me and my profession really makes me appreciate being able to work with them.

What’s the strangest content you’ve translated?

ML: I suppose the most unusual situation happened when I was still a master’s student. The university asked me to be an interpreter at a conference on bereavement. The speaker was a professor from Norway and my role was to interpret the Portuguese content into English for her. The conference topic was heavy, but I felt like I was doing important work. It was an experience that gave me a lot of confidence as a translator.

CG: The hostile themes or arguments – like the ones in reality shows – are the strangest. Content with really vulgar language can be unusual and a bit uncomfortable.

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