Meet ALTA’s Membership & Digital Projects Coordinator, Sophia Marisa Lucas!

First of all, we are excited to welcome you to ALTA as the new Membership & Digital Projects Coordinator! 

You’re coming to us from the art museum world. Would you be willing to talk a little bit about yourself and the sort of work you’ve done up to now? Would you be willing to describe a recent project you enjoyed working on? 

Photo of Sophia Marisa Lucas
Sophia Marisa Lucas

Thank you! I would describe myself as someone who delights in the space between meaning and form, and the disciplinary parameters around that are secondary. I fell into studying art history after feeling energized by my first survey course during my first semester of undergraduate studies. The professor was very encouraging, even prodding me to consider changing my major. Prior to that, my interests had been literature and psychology, but art history opened a world that linked aspects of both disciplines alongside the visual.

After I moved on to my graduate studies in art history, I had opportunities to explore exhibition-making and working with living artists. There, something else came alive for me in the politics of collaborative creative processes, communication with audiences, and responsiveness to physical contexts. I was fortunate to find myself after that at the Queens Museum in New York. Both a contemporary art center and a layered historical site, my projects were rooted in broader civic histories and collective experiences rather than a negotiation of art historical narratives that I found problematic and limiting. Of course, these frameworks also have biases and pasts that need redress. Still, they offered myriad entry points, and I could engage with them through a combination of exhibitions, public dialog, publications, archives, and digital tools. It’s hard to call out just one project, but the most comprehensive project I worked on was an edition of a locally-focused serial exhibition, Queens International 2018: Volumes, which combined all of these elements via many deep and generative collaborations, including an unconventional website project.

What draws you to working with ALTA and literary translators? 

One of the satisfying things about making exhibitions is exploring them as an information architecture or a narrative device. There are many parallels to editorial and translation work, in my opinion. The curator’s primary role is organizing the art itself, as well as language and interpretative tools around the art that consider spatial and temporal circumstances; it is this current that was central to my work. In recent years, I found myself reconnecting with my love of writing and the possibilities of that as a stand-alone offering. As I re-engaged with literature, I found the discourse around translation incredibly fertile and aligned with the concerns that had been cropping up in my curatorial work and my own identity as a practitioner–namely, about the value of nuanced and horizontal sharing and questions about authorship, representation, and visibility.

Can you describe your relationship with/to languages and translation? 

I was raised by Portuguese immigrants and spent time with my maternal grandparents in rural Portugal, where almost no one spoke English, so it was a total immersion. That foundation carried me through studying other Romance languages like Spanish and French, and most definitely enriched and complexified my English. In retrospect, I realize how formative it was to paradoxically exist within two idioms and experience moments of consciously moving between them. While my grammar proficiency has waxed and waned over the years relative to use, the embodied aspect of my Portuguese–my accent and my ear–is very enduring. 

What are you reading right now? 

I am reading a book of short prose by Matilde Campilho called Flecha. She’s a contemporary Portuguese poet that has a very distinct verve. I’m also reading a few non-fiction texts, including Caroline Levine’s Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network, which has been sitting on my shelf for a bit too long, and I’m really enjoying it–finally.

What are you looking forward to tackling in your new role with us? 

I think I was chosen for this role because I deeply admire and feel a kinship with this community, even as an outsider to the discipline. I’m excited about connecting with members, understanding their needs, and how they already utilize ALTA’s tremendous resources. A significant undertaking will be the process of evaluating and eventually managing the redesign of the website. I have a lot of experience thinking about the needs of different stakeholders and connecting resources and ideas through both verbal and visual forms. Upon starting my position in April, I jumped right into familiarizing myself with ALTA’s web history and developing a survey (which you can fill out here!) to solicit member feedback. The latter will form a critical foundation for this process–and I’m really looking forward to hearing from everyone!

We want to hear from you! What’s working, and what isn’t? What would you like to see more of? Less of? By completing this survey, you’ll be playing a vital role in the planning of this new platform. Help us to understand what we’re doing right and how we might improve this central hub for ALTA’s community. Fill it out by August 18.

Welcome to the ALTA team, Sophia! 

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Take part in our New ALTA Website Survey!

We are excited to share that ALTA is beginning a discovery process toward a new and improved website design in 2024! We hope to preserve all of the features of our current site (last updated in 2015) that support our members, community, and the broader public of translators and students, teachers, publishers, and readers of literature in translation, while also making important upgrades to its utility and contemporizing its aesthetic.

We want to hear from you! What’s working, and what isn’t? What would you like to see more of? Less of? By completing this survey, you’ll be playing a vital role in the planning of this new platform. Help us to understand what we’re doing right and how we might improve this central hub for ALTA’s community.

Find out more about the survey and fill it out by August 18.

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Register now for ALTA Summer Multilingual Translation Workshops!

ALTA is excited to bring back another round of the popular Multilingual Translation Workshops this summer! 

Register here by July 25 to take part in Multilingual Translation Workshops held virtually over Zoom from August 21-26.

Multilingual translation workshops are small groups of translators who meet with an established translator (the workshop leader) to discuss and receive feedback on a brief excerpt of their work in translation. Participants need not all share the same source language(s), and you may submit texts translated from a language other than the one(s) your workshop leader is an expert in.

From emerging translators looking to workshop their first translation, to established translators looking for help on a tricky passage, these workshops are for everyone! 

Each workshop lasts 105 minutes in Zoom, and offers a collaborative experience between one workshop leader and 6 participants who circulate their work in advance. You are welcome to register for more than one workshop! 

Leaders for the spring workshops include Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda, Daniel Hahn, Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Esther Allen, Bill Johnston, Jenna Tang, Annie Fisher, Soje, Mira Rosenthal, Curtis Bauer, Sawad Hussain, and Sibelan Forrester.

Workshop slots are first-come, first-served, and are $60 apiece. Registration for these workshops closes July 25, so secure your slot soon! Translation excerpts must be submitted by August 3.

ALTA members receive a 20% discount on multilingual workshops. If you’d like to receive this discount for these workshops, join today!

Plus: The Building Our Future: A Weekend of Virtual Workshops for Emerging BIPOC Translators (Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27: 9 AM – 12 PM PT) is a free, weekend-long virtual program meant to empower literary translators of color offered in collaboration with the Asian American Writers Workshop (AAWW). This workshop is by application only; follow this link for more information and to find out how to apply. Please write to by July 14 to apply.

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The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) to Receive $30,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

NEA logo

[Tucson, AZ]—The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) has been approved for a $30,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support ALTA’s fall conference, ALTA46: The Place of Translation, and the Emerging Translator Mentorship Program. ALTA’s project is among 1,130 projects across the country, totaling more than $31 million, that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2023 funding.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to support a wide range of projects, including ALTA’s fall conference and mentorship program, demonstrating the many ways the arts enrich our lives and contribute to healthy and thriving communities,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “These organizations play an important role in advancing the creative vitality of our nation and helping to ensure that all people can benefit from arts, culture, and design.”

“We are proud to receive funding from the NEA to support emerging translators and provide a way for our community to gather together and celebrate their work,” said ALTA Executive Director Elisabeth Jaquette. “This is the largest Grants for Arts Projects award that ALTA has ever received from the NEA, and we are especially grateful to receive such substantial support. This crucial funding will help us uplift our current cohort of eight emerging translator mentees. It will also enable us to offer a full-scale, in-person conference this fall in ALTA’s hometown of Tucson, Arizona.”

ALTA’s annual conference is the only one in the United States dedicated exclusively to literary translation. It brings together between 500-650 professional literary translators, editors, educators, students, publishers, and literary arts professionals to discuss the art, practice, and publication of works of literary translation into English. This year’s program will take place from November 8-11 in Tucson, AZ, and will include panels, roundtables, readings, and special events. This grant also supports ALTA’s Emerging Translator Mentorship Program, which facilitates a close working relationship between an experienced translator and an emerging translator. This year’s program features eight mentees whose work spans the globe.

For more information on other projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit

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Winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award Announced

The winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award are in! After another year of record-breaking number of submissions, Prof. Chokri Al Saadi was awarded for his outstanding translation into Arabic of John R. Searle’s  Expression and Meaning: Studies in the Theory of Speech Acts. Al Saadi will be awarded alongside the other winners at a ceremony at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on 23rd May.

Learn about the winners on the SZBA website:

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