TA First Translation Prize Shortlist Announced

The TA First Translation Prize (TA stands for “Translators Association”) was founded and endowed last spring by translator Daniel Hahn, who in an incredible act of generosity plunked down half his winnings from the International Dublin Literary Award for the purpose. The prize is also supported by the British Council, and will be presented along with the nine other annual translation awards given out by the Society of Authors’ Translators Association each February. This new prize is special for several different reasons. Its being funded by a translator is exceptional but not unique. Read more …

Introducing The Queer Translation Collective

At the American Literary Translators Association conference this past October, I attended an excellent panel entitled Re-Queering Translation that included several participants from the University of Oregon which, as chance would have it, is officially launching its Oregon Center for Translation Studies today. If you’re in or near Eugene, check it out! One of the presentations on this panel was the reading of a manifesto written by U. of Oregon graduate student Jon D. Jaramillo. This manifesto, “Queer(ing) Translation,” pushes back against translation practices that serve to codify and enforce heteronormative cisgender modes, calling instead for playful, inventive explorations into alternative translation practices that better support and represent a wider range of identities. Here’s the manifesto’s opening gambit: Read more …

2017 Modern Language Association Translation Prizes Awarded

The Modern Language Association Convention, held this past long-weekend in New York, included the presentation of the MLA’s three translation prizes. Although the convention is now held in January, it used to be held in December, which is why this year’s prizes are dated 2017 (awarded for works published in 2016) rather than 2018. Each of these three now annual (formerly biennial) prizes comes with a cash award. Read more …

Translation on Tap in NYC, Jan. 1 – 31, 2018

Happy new year, everyone! Here’s what’s going on in translation events news:

Wednesday, Jan. 3:

Old Demons, New Deities: Himalayan Heritage Meetup, featuring Tenzin Dickie, translator (and editor and author) of the first-ever English-language collection of Tibetan short fiction, in conversation with author Tsering Yangzom Lama about Tibetan writing by women and more. Ticketed event, more information here. The Rubin, 150 West 17th St., 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 24:

Read more …

2018 PEN Translation Prize Longlist Announced

Just in time for your last-minute holiday shopping needs (what better gift than a great book? purchase links provided for your convenience), PEN America has announced the longlist for the 2018 PEN Translation Prize for a book-length translation of prose, judged this year by Eric M. B. Becker, Lisa Hayden, Jenny Wang Medina, Denise Newman, and Lara Vergnaud. Since I like to count things these days, let me point out that the PEN Translation Prize longlist is 40% women (not enough, but could be worse, I guess). I wish I could also report on the longlist for the PEN Poetry in Translation Award, but that one, I hear, is on hiatus right now for lack of funds 🙁. (If you’d like to endow the award, please send me a message and I’ll introduce you to the appropriate party at PEN.) The shortlists for this and all the other 2018 PEN Awards will be published in January, and the winners will be announced at a prize ceremony on Feb. 20, 2018.

PEN Translation Prize: 

The Book of Emma Reyes, Emma Reyes (Penguin)
translated from the Spanish by Daniel Alarcon
IndieBound Read more …

Princeton Names Its First Translator-in-Residence

Michael Moore ©Lilia Pino-Blouin

Princeton University’s Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication has named its first translator-in-residence: Michael Moore, former Chair of the PEN Translation Committee and the PEN/Heim Translation Fund Advisory Board. Moore’s previous translations include novels by Alberto Moravia, Primo Levi, Nicola Gardini, Erri de Luca, and others; he’s currently at work on a retranslation of Alessandro Manzoni’s big fat classic novel, I promessi sposi (The Betrothed). Princeton had announced the opening for a translator-in-residence back in October; I understand that they were fairly flooded with excellent applications, so huge congratulations to Michael Moore on being selected. If the rumors I’ve heard are correct, there may a similar position next year, and if that’s the case, I’ll post a call for applications here.

I hope other institutions of higher learning will be inspired to appoint translators in residence to work with their students, especially in programs that don’t already have literary translators on their faculties!

2017 Authors Guild Survey of Literary Translators’ Working Conditions

Earlier this year, a team from the NYC-based Authors Guild conducted the first ever comprehensive survey of literary translators across the country to learn more about their working conditions, in particular the terms of their contracts and whether they are able to make a living as translators. The survey was spearheaded by former PEN Translation Committee Co-Chair Alex Zucker and 2018 Man Booker International Prize laureate Jessica Cohen working with Authors Guild staff in collaboration with the American Literary Translators Association, the American Translators Association’s Literary Division, and the PEN America Translation Committee. The results are in part quite surprising. For one thing, far more translators receive royalties for their work than word-of-mouth might lead one to believe – a discovery that will no doubt be helpful to translators who’ve been refused royalties or even copyright in their work on the grounds that it (supposedly) isn’t usual for publishers to grant these things in translation contracts. Lo, but it is. Another welcome surprise: there seems to be very little differential in translator pay based on gender. Read more …


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