Valeria Wasserman Chomsky is a Brazilian translator. She is the second and current wife of American linguist, author, philosopher, and social critic, Noam Chomsky. Little is known about her family and early life. In 1984, Wasserman enrolled in Universidade Federal Fluminense to study law. That year, she also started attending Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, pursuing a degree in linguistics. Wasserman began her professional career in 1992. Her first job was at Unibanco as an investment analyst. In 1995, she was hired by the law office of Corey R. Cutler as a legal claims assistant. In the ensuing years, she also worked in various capacities for the law offices of Ralph A. Donabed, Intentia, National Association of Magazine Publishers, and Little Faces LLC. Since July 2009, she has been serving as a translator at ArtVentures Cultural Projects and Translations. Wasserman married Chomsky, who is 35 years her senior, in 2014.
Childhood & Early Life
Valeria Wasserman was born in either 1963 or 1964 in Brazil. Little to no information is available on her family and early life. After graduating from high school, she decided to pursue a law degree at Universidade Federal Fluminense, where she studied from 1984 to 1986. She also attended Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro from 1984 to 1988 and studied languages (Portuguese and English). In 1995, she did a specialization course in capital market analysis from Universidade de São Paulo. As a translator, she is equally fluent in Portuguese and English. She has lived a major part of her life in Poços de Caldas Area, Brazil.
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After completing her education, Wasserman landed her first job at the now-defunct Brazilian bank Unibanco in 1992. She worked there for the following three years as an investment analyst. In December 1995, she joined the law offices of Corey R. Cutler as a legal claims assistant. She was then hired by the law offices of Ralph A. Donabed in March 1997 as a legal assistant and was employed there for the following eight months before taking a two-year break from work.
In July 1999, she joined Intentia as an assistant. Intentia was a software company that provided services, such as customer relationship management, supply chain management and asset management. In 2001, Wasserman decided not to limit herself only to legal work and ventured toward print translation. From October 2001 to October 2003, she served as the director’s assistant at the National Association of Magazine Publishers. After leaving this position, she decided to put her career on another hiatus, this time for about three years. In July 2006, she founded her own company, Little Faces LLC, in Boston, Massachusetts. However, it has reportedly since become inactive.
She began her work as a translator (from Portuguese to English and vice versa) at ArtVentures Cultural Projects and Translations in July 2009. ArtVentures is a company that provides a platform for various kinds of artists to communicate with each other, including writers looking to get their work translated and translators looking for work. During her tenure at ArtVentures, Wasserman has translated everything from research papers to full books. Some of her prominent projects are David Lehmann’s ‘Hope and Religion’, Andréa Mechi e Djalma Luiz Sanches’ ‘The Environmental Impact of Mining in the State of São Paulo’, Roberto Varjabedian’s ‘Atlantic Rainforest Law: Environmental Regression’, and Dianne Newell’s ‘Where Converging Minds Freely Explore: Locating the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies’.
Relationship with Noam Chomsky
Considered to be “the father of modern linguistics”, Noam Chomsky was raised in a middle-class, Ashkenazi-Jewish immigrant family in Philadelphia. His interest in anarchism developed early. At the age of 16, he began attending the University of Pennsylvania as a student of linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. After receiving his M.A. in 1951, he went on to earn a doctorate for his theory of transformational grammar from Harvard University in 1955. Two years later, he joined Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as an assistant professor. Chomsky spent the majority of his professional life there, eventually becoming an Institute Professor Emeritus. In 2017, he joined the faculty of University of Arizona as a laureate professor. A renowned defender of socialism and anti-imperialism, Chomsky has authored over 100 books on topics ranging from linguistics to war and mass media.
Chomsky was previously married to fellow linguist and education specialist, Carol Doris Schatz. They were married for 59 years, from 1949 until her death in 2008. The union produced three children: daughters Aviva (b. 1957) and Diane (b. 1960), and son Harry (b. 1967).
Wasserman and Chomsky married in 2014, about six years after the passing of his first wife. They share their time between US and Brazil, often spending time with each other’s families. In the recent years, Chomsky has become increasingly interested in issues related to Brazil. He has criticised the president-elect Jair Bolsonaro and visited former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in prison.