Interview with Marta Saavedra, ITD poster contest winner

The winning green poster for International Translation Day 2023 featuring a globe and the colorful faces of a diverse group of people

Tell us a little about yourself and your career as a designer.

Headshot of Marta Saavedra, a woman design with blonde hair in a pink floral print top
Marta Saavedra

I was born in the beautiful city of Concepción, Chile, where I grew up with my parents and my sister. In 1979, we moved to Santiago, where I still live to this day. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved drawing, painting, and craftwork. English was another one of my passions. I studied advertising and then graphic design, a profession I still practise and that has allowed me to learn a lot, specifically in packaging and editorial design. I’m currently a freelance designer and am working on my design and upcycling venture @martikdesign, where I both recycle textiles and add value to discarded garments, making them unique or giving them new life using my own designs and various techniques, such as stamping with wooden stamps. It’s a business consisting of 100% handmade products, including natural silk scarves hand-painted using the batik process.

How did you find out about the contest? Why did you decide to participate?

I heard about it from my cousin, and it was the first time I’ve entered a design contest. I think I was driven by my love for languages, which I’ve had since I was in school. This year’s theme  inspired and encouraged me to participate because I felt  I could make a meaningful contribution.

Do you work at all with the world of translation? Do you have relatives or friends who work in the field?

My cousin Cristián Araya is a translator who translates from English and French into Spanish. He is also the vice president of the Colegio de Traductores e Intérpretes de Chile (COTICH).

When you think about the world of translation, what comes to mind?

It’s an essential profession today because of how relevant it is to communication and learning. Education and everything we learn throughout our lives is directly related to the role translators and interpreters play, especially because, in a way, they are the ones who open the door to a wider world of knowledge. Not to mention how important translation and interpreting are in interpersonal and international relations.

What did this year’s slogan suggest to you?

The idea that, without translation and interpreting, we wouldn’t be able to connect with each other or have access to knowledge. Translation allows us to know humanity in its entirety, through diverse cultures with all their idiosyncrasies, expressions, different contributions to society, and multiple realities.

What can you tell us about your design? How did you come up with it?

The theme was really inspiring; the first thing that came to my mind was different faces. Conceptually, I tried to represent everything that goes into being a translator through an open book. A light emanates from this book, illuminating a slice of the planet and revealing multiple faces of different races, sexes, ages, and expressions. I conveyed the idea of unveiling by contrasting the colours of each face compared to the range of colour applied to the rest of the planet.

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