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Sandra Tamele was born in Pemba, Mozambique. In the early 1980s she moved with her parents to Maputo, where she is currently based. She has a degree in architecture from the Mozambican Eduardo Mondlane University and a diploma in translation from the UK’s Institute of Linguists Educational Trust. She speaks Portuguese, English, and Italian and is learning German, Mandarin and Mozambican Sign Language. She started translating in 2002 and in 2004 established herself as a language service provider as SM Traduções. In 2007 she made history by becoming the first Mozambican to translate and publish literature with her debut translation of Niccolò Ammaniti’s novel Io non ho paura into Portuguese. From 2010 she has engaged in philanthropic initiatives to promote literary translation in Mozambique that has led to the annual Literary Translation Competition she has sponsored and organized since 2015, and the establishment of the Mozambican Translators and Interpreters Association (MTIA) in 2016.
In 2018 Sandra established Editora Trinta Zero Nove, an independent press, to publish a collection of short fiction translated by the winners of the competition and celebrate International Translation Day on 30 September. This initiative was awarded a Special Mention on the London Book Fair Excellence Awards in 2020.
Editora 30.09 aims to bring inclusivity and diversity into the Mozambican literary scene by translating and publishing mostly female writers, writers with disabilities, and other minorities in both print and audiobook formats. Audiobooks were popular among working-class families in the late seventies but have since been discontinued, and the press is pioneering by making all their titles available as both CDs and digitally from its screen-reader friendly and e-wallet-enabled website.
Editora 30.09 aims to publish 12 new titles per year and the catalogue is known for featuring many debuts in translation into Portuguese. There is a project to expand in the next 5 years to also feature Mozambican writers in English and in the main Mozambican languages: Macua, Sena and Changana.