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ATAV – A Small Country Audiovisual Translators’ Association

Portugal is a country with a long tradition of subtitling. Therefore, it would have made sense if we had an audiovisual translators’ association. However, despite several attempts over the years, this achievement was never made possible – until 2019. That’s when ATAV, the first Portuguese Audiovisual Translators Association, was created.

The idea to create ATAV was actually born in Berlin at the 12th Languages & The Media conference, in 2018. Since there was no AVT association in Portugal, we, the founders of ATAV, didn’t have a clue about all the European AVT Associations and its umbrella organization, the AVTE. Seeing them at the conference inspired us to create our own and, with a ‘push’ from AVTE members, we started our journey.

The first official meeting to create ATAV was on the 9th of February. Luckily, we were able to gather a great group of translators that believed in the future of ATAV and dedicated their time to its creation.

In Portugal, creating an association has its financial costs and requires some paperwork to be prepared. It wouldn’t make sense to just have an informal group – we needed an official organisation to be able to represent all AV translators. So, we tried to gather as many people as possible to help with both the costs and the paperwork in order not to overburden everyone. The bureaucracy ended up being taken care of by a group of around 10 people that later became our board. As for the money, we were able to get 37 people to support ATAV’s creation – our founding members. And thus, 5 months of meetings later, on the 2nd of July of 2019, ATAV was officially created.

We have just completed our first year of existence. Our main goal was to create a community that will be the foundation of our association – in our opinion, we can’t do anything without a strong base. We created partnerships that could be helpful to our members in areas such as workshops, conferences, health, etc; we shared news on the AVT world to keep the translators informed; we encouraged our members to share their knowledge through articles; and we organized events to build relationships with professionals that mostly work isolated.

A year after our inception, we have almost doubled the number of members in ATAV. Currently, we proudly represent 67 audiovisual translators, covering subtitling, dubbing, SDH, audio description and video game localization.

Our goals for the future are many: create a list of standards for all AVT modes; fight for better rates; establish author’s rights for AVT translators (they exist, but seem to be overlooked by everyone); create more partnerships; increase the quality of Portuguese AVT products; and more.

Being part of AVTE has also been one of our primary objectives and we hope this will come to be, if the coronavirus allows! We are very excited to join forces with other associations to defend AV translators at an European level. It would be our honour to represent Portugal.

We’re still a small association, but there’s a lot to be done. We hope we can be faithful to our primary mission: defend, support and unify all Portuguese AV translators and increase the quality of AVT work through the recognition of our profession and better rates.