American Literary Translators
January 2010
Susan Bernofsky
 "The "presidential theme" of this year's Modern Language Association convention was "The Tasks of Translation in the Global Context." Here's my brief report: 

So many interesting conversations about translation and its place in the academy, so many excellent translators on panels, so many scholars previously uninvolved in translation talking about the educational usefulness of the topic (e.g. Jonathan Culler on using a plurality of Baudelaire translations in the classroom as a way to help students approach the text). Recent American Comparative Literature Association president Sandra Berman on why translation studies is an essential component of Comparative Literature. Marjorie Perloff with a great talk on translations of Mayakovsky and how she uses them to teach students about poetics. David Bellos on what translation theory ought to encompass (but currently doesn't). Michael Henry Heim on translators as an underutilized but valuable resource in the academy and the importance of translation workshops as part of a general literary education. American Literary Translators Association President Barbara Harshav interfacing between ALTA and the MLA. MLA President Catherine Porter on panel after panel devoted to the pedagogical and intellectual richness of translation studies. Great reports on nascent new translation studies programs at the Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Elizabeth Lowe) and NYU (Emmanuelle Ertel); Suzanne Jill Levine on the new translation studies doctoral emphasis at UCSB; and Marilyn Gaddis Rose, talking about her well-established program at Binghamton. I was delighted to see good attendance at both my own panels, and nearly every panel I attended included Catherine Porter and leading translation theorist Lawrence Venuti in the audience participating in the discussions. Porter, Heim, past MLA president Michael Holquist and the indefatigable translation activist Esther Allen wrapped things up yesterday afternoon with a brainstorming panel on establishing MLA guidelines for the evaluation of translation in tenure & promotion cases. In short: a very heady two days.


See also the piece in The Chronicle of Higher Ed on translation at the MLA  

and Martin Riker (of Dalkey Archive Press) blogging about the  translation panels at the MLA:

 CALL FOR PANELS, ALTA Conference - 2010

October 20-23, Philadelphia, PA

DEADLINE: April 10


The Local Organizing Committee wants your suggestions for panels, workshops, and other events for the 2010 ALTA conference. We'll meet in Philadelphia, PA at the Philadelphia Marriott Hotel (1201 Market Street) - conveniently attached to Market East Station, for those arriving by train, and located close to Chinatown, the Reading Terminal Market, and a wide variety of wonderful restaurants and bars, ranging from folksy to expensively elite.

If you have an idea for a single presentation but don't know what kind of panel it might fit on, contact us and we'll see what we can arrange. The conference will feature sessions on dramatic translation and related events.

The deadline for panel proposals is *APRIL 10.*

Alexis Levitin will once again organize the Bilingual Reading series - if you wish to participate, please contact him directly at  or (518) 564-2426.

Questions? Suggestions? E-mail the Local Organizing Committee:

Sibelan Forrester, chair  or 610-328-8162

Anna Barker

Sharon Marie Carnicke

Ruth K Crispin

Reinhard Mayer

Juan Carlos Rodriguez

Adam J. Sorkin


Collage of conference photos 1/12/10

This is the complete set photos we have from last autumn's conference. We hope everyone is correctly identified and ask for help in identifying the 14 numbered photographs. If you are among them, let me know, and we'll run a short section next month. To view the photos, please go to

Thank you to all for your contibutions to this section. For reasons of space I have put this in a separate document that can be accessed at  It contains all the usual information in the customary format about book translations, contributions to anthologies and journals, critical articles about translation, readings and presentation as well as awards and grants.


Small Publisher Finds Its Mission in Translation

Chad PostROCHESTER - The publishing industry is in a tailspin; translated works account for, at best, 3 percent of the American book market; and budgets for higher education are shrinking. But none of this seems to deter Open Letter Books, a small, year-old press here affiliated with the University of Rochester that publishes nothing but literature in translation.

"There's a set of readers out there that's very interested in translations and international literature and is not getting what it wants," said Chad W. Post, Open Letter's director. "So we believe our business model can work. 

To read the entire article on Open Letter Books in the New York Times of December 26, click here. The Open Letter website address is

Some other interesting articles:

Making Old New York Talk in Its Native Dutch
New York Times, December 26, 2009,000%20pages%20of%20dutch&st=cse


Schott's Vocab: A Miscellany of Modern Words and Phrases, New York Times, January 12, 2010


EU Launches Master's in Translation Network,, December 9, 2009



Source, an online publication of the literary division of ATA. This is the link to the fall edition.

The two previous editions are at  (January)  (July)

Beacons, an annual publication of the literary division can be found at:

Featured articles from the ATA Chronicle are at

FictionPress: a site containing over 1,200,000 original, unpublished works. As a writer, you may post your work there and as a reader, it may be a source of ideas and inspiration. Visit the side at



New translation anthology from Dalkey seeks submissions

Best European Fiction is Dalkey Archive's new annual anthology (the first volume is coming out in January 2010, edited by Aleksandar Hemon with a preface by Zadie Smith), and we're looking for submissions for the 2011 edition. Please submit  translations (short stories or novel excerpts) of recent work from any European country, along with some information about the author and if possible, the source text. Because this is an annual anthology, we're looking for the most interesting contemporary writing (as in from this year, last year, or maybe the year before). If you have any questions contact Jamie Richards at


Dalkey Archive Press --University of Illinois  -- 1805 S. Wright Street, MC-011 -- Champaign, IL 61820

ph: 217-244-5700 -- fax: 217-244-9142 --


eXchanges announces Winter 2009 issue

eXchanges, the University of Iowa's online journal of literary translation, announces the launch of its Winter 2009 issue, EXOCITY. Visit to read this new issue, which contains poetry, fiction, and critical nonfiction translated from the Sanskrit, Polish, German, Latin, and Spanish. The issue also features an interview with the always thought-provoking Johannes Goransson (co-editor of Action Books and Action Yes) on his translations of Swedish poetry, foreignization as a kind of domestication, how translations get packaged as the foreign, closeness and distance of translators to/from their originals, and lots more.



Neil Blackadder is researching writers'/artists' retreats and residencies that are, or may be, open to literary translators.  He is compiling a list that could eventually be posted on the ALTA

site.  If you know of programs not included in either of the following lists, please let Neil know at


Graduate Student Translation Conference at U Michigan

We are seeking graduate student translators to participate in the 4th Biannual Graduate Student Translation Conference to be held April 23-25, 2010, as part of the University of Michigan's Year of Translation. We hope to gather emerging and established translators for a weekend of workshops and roundtables, as well as a keynote address and reading by Susan Bernofsky, recipient of multiple awards from the PEN Translation Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts.

We encourage graduate student translators translating from any time period and any language into English to apply for a place in a translation workshop. Workshops will be limited to six participants. Each member will have one text workshopped and will be expected to comment on the texts of the other workshop members.

For details on how to apply, contact the conference organizers, Emily Goedde ( or Corine Tachtiris ( A limited amount of financial assistance for travel may be available. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2010. Applicants will be notified of the organizers' decision by February 22.




Imagination and Language Learning: 17th Annual International Conference

April 30 - May 1, 2010 -- Jersey City, NJ

Acceptable topics: Any that represent intersection of imagination and language acquisition at all levels: K-12 and College. International. $200. $125 per day, 50-minute sessions. Very near New York City. The deadline for abstracts/proposals is 15 February 2010.


Web address:

Sponsored by: New Jersey City University: Center for Imagination in Language Learning




Africa: Cultural Translations

May 21-22, 2010 
Lancaster, United Kingdom 

Scholars working on Africa-related topics are often faced with social, cultural or linguistic gaps that open up in the translation from one form of cultural representation to another. This conference seeks to explore translation, not only on a linguistic level, but in relation to the spaces and tensions between one cultural form or practice and another, one medium and another, or between reality and representation.

Organized by: Lancaster University African Studies Group 
Deadline for abstracts/proposals: January 31. 2010
Check the event website for latest details.




Residency at Banff Centre


Applications to this year's Banff International Literary Translation Centre
residency are being accepted until February 19, 2010.
The Banff International Literary Translation Centre is a three-week residency
program offering literary translators an opportunity to focus on a current project, consult with experienced translators, network with colleagues in an international literary forum and, in some cases, spend time with the writer whose work they are translating. Financial assistance is available.


Program dates: June 7 - June 26, 2010


Application deadline: February 19, 2010


For more information, and to apply, go to






Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies

27 to 29 July 2010 
Ormskirk, Lancashire, United Kingdom 

Contact name: Richard Xiao

Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies (UCCTS) is a biennial international conference series launched to provide a forum for exploring the creation and use of corpora in contrastive and translation studies.

Organized by: Edge Hill University 
Deadline for abstracts/proposals: January 31, 2010 
Check the 
event website for latest details.



Writer's Conference to emphasize Spanish/English translation

The University of New Orleans, Ezra (An Online Journal of Translation), and the Roger Williams U. Languages Dept. are hosting a new bi-lingual conference in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, mid-July-2010.

This is a writers' conference, which hopes to promote exchanges between writers in both Spanish and English. There will be a special emphasis on translation (from Spanish into English, from English into Spanish). To read more, register or submit a paper, visit:



ALTA  News is a monthly publication of the American Literary Translators Association. Please send all news items to


The next complete newsletter featuring Members in the News will be the June 2010 issue, deadline May 7.

Contact information:

ALTA Newsletter

Editor: Lee Chadeayne

Tel. 978-263-9613


Designer: Michelle Long

Tel. 972-883-2768



The University of Texas at Dallas 

800 West Campbell Road - JO 51

Richardson, TX   75080-3021