ALTA44 Virtual Bookfair Open for Requests

ALTA’s bookfair is always a celebration of the work of our community. During our virtual 2021 conference, ALTA is using Bookshop.org to highlight member translations and the titles published by translation presses. As affiliates of Bookshop, Bookshop pays ALTA a 10% commission on every sale, and gives a matching 10% to independent bookstores. Read more about their model at https://bookshop.org/pages/about.

To request a title for the ALTA44 bookfair on Bookshop.org, please fill out this form by August 23, 2021. Fill out one form for each title. Publishers, please note that you have the option to send a list of titles and ISBNs in an Excel spreadsheet to info@literarytranslators.org, in lieu of filling out this form for each of your books. Please ensure that each book you list is available at Bookshop.org.

Please note that not all books are available on Bookshop.org. Books must have an ISBN and be available through Ingram to appear on Bookshop.org. We will upload as many titles as we are able.

The deadline to submit bookfair requests is August 23, 2021.

This year, we are also excited to announce the debut of the Read the World! Much like Smol Fair, Read the World will be an online bookfair taking place largely over social media. It’s FREE to participate! ALTA will provide a shared bookfair hashtag and a shared discount code, along with graphics, for publishers and editors to use from October 11-17. The more each press or journal spreads the word by using the hashtag and the discount code, the more attention we can drive toward supporting translation publishers. Translators, encourage your publishers to join Read the World by signing up with ALTA by August 23! Use this form: https://forms.gle/Q19cYwg1CPguuJap8

Find out more on our conference bookfair webpage. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@literarytranslators.org.

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ALTA44 Registration Rates

2021 is another year of firsts for ALTA: as the pandemic continues, we are programming an exciting mixed-presence conference for our community. Virtual and in-person options will allow attendees to join us this fall in the way that makes sense for them: read more about what to expect here. You’ve told us how important it is that the conference remain financially accessible, especially given the challenges of the past year; in response, we have brought down registration prices across the board for this year and are offering pay-what-you-can options. 

Our Standard Registration rates are listed in the middle column below. For those who are not in a position to pay the standard rate, there is the option of a $50 Reduced Rate. If you are able to pay more, please consider registering at the Pay-it-Forward Rates, which offset costs for others and help make the conference more accessible for everyone. 

One thing hasn’t changed: ALTA members still receive discounted registration. Become an ALTA member today for 20% off registration, the ability to propose roundtables and seminars, and other benefits. And to the extent that you are able, please give to ensure that ALTA can continue its work. 

Registration opens on July 12, 2021.

Find out about discounts, complimentary registrations, and other important dates on our ALTA44 registration page!

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ALTA44 Conference Theme Announced & Call for Participation Open

The ALTA Conference Committee invites proposals for roundtables and seminars for ALTA’s 44th annual conference. ALTA44: Inflection Points will take place both virtually and in-person in 2021, with an online weekend on October 15-17, and an in-person weekend on November 11-13 in Tucson, AZ. You can read an announcement from the Board, staff and the 2021 Conference Committee about our conference format.

Here is a selection from the conference theme description and call for participation:

We are at a threshold. While ecosystems, public health, our political institutions, small businesses, and colleges have teetered on the tipping point of catastrophe, we have remained on our doorsteps, isolating from others to flatten the curve. As we begin to emerge from this moment of crisis, the ALTA44 theme “Inflection Points” allows us to reflect on how the field of literature in translation might take new turns, rather than return to an unsustainable normal at a time when change must occur. While translations have flatlined at 3% of the total literature published in the U.S. for decades, a dynamic response at this moment might allow us to turn the tide on the significance of translation in a world still yet to be written. Is this a moment to change the trajectory of what is considered “growth,” “success,” and “value” in the field? Is this a moment to reconceive what the ideal trajectory of translation and translated literature might be?

We invite roundtables and seminars that address the theme “Inflection Points,” broadly conceived, including topics such as: translating catastrophe (environmental, climate, economic, social, political), translating at a time of crisis, the sustainability of translation, translating for change.

Read more about this year’s theme and official call for participation on our conference web page.

We know that the ability to converse with fellow conference-goers is an important hallmark of the ALTA conference. This year, we’re debuting something new in the form of roundtables and seminars (in place of panels), to allow for extended discussion and exploration of a wide variety of topics among all conference participants. Roundtable and Seminar decisions will be sent out in mid-July. If your roundtable or seminar is accepted, it will automatically be programmed! What you submit will be your final lineup and description.

Seminar and roundtable proposals (virtual and in-person) can be submitted through June 21, 2021See our guidelines and submit here.

Pitch sessions and workshops will take place online in September and October.

The annual tradition of the Alexis Levitin Bilingual Reading Series will continue (virtually and in-person). Readings will not be by application this year, instead they will be first-come, first-served, with signups taking place at registration.

Registration for the conference will open in July; more information is forthcoming. As always, all conference participants must register for the conference

Get answers to your conference questions on our ALTA44 FAQ page.

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ALTA43 Sessions Open to the Public

ALTA is excited to release all the recorded panels, readings, workshops, and roundtables from the 43rd annual conference, In Between, which took place virtually from September 30 – October 18, 2020.

The conference, ALTA’s first gathering to take place virtually, was hosted on the platform Crowdcast. The 2020 conference was the largest to date, with over 650 attendees tuning in from all over the world during the course of the virtual gathering.

To access the released recordings, go to the ALTA Crowdcast page and click the session you’d like to watch. Click the green “Watch replay” button, and you will be able to watch the session of your choice after signing in. To access the full transcript, click the green “Click here for caption window” button in the session itself. 

Wondering where to start? Check out these ALTA43 recordings we spotlighted in the weeks leading up to this full release:

Information about the upcoming ALTA conference is coming shortly. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the recordings from the 2020 conference!

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ALTA Statement on Racial Equity in Literary Translation

As a response to the ongoing controversy around translations of US poet Amanda Gorman’s work into other languages (see Haidee Kotze’s piece on Medium for a thoughtful commentary), ALTA acknowledges that racial equity remains unrealized in the literary translation community, both in and outside of the United States. 

The question of whether identity should be the deciding factor in who is allowed to translate whom is a false framing of the issues at play. ALTA believes that if translators felt authorized to translate only those with whom they share an identity, it would be damaging to literary translation as a practice and as a profession. But in fact, translators choose or are chosen to translate works based on a complex network of factors including affinity, perceived status or skill, the author’s own wishes, the desires of publishers, etc. Legitimizing translation according to a simplistic schema of identity matching would be a problem, but that is not what occurred in this case. 

In our view, the foundational problem this controversy reveals is the scarcity of Black translators and other translators of color, a scarcity caused by long-term patterns of discrimination in education and publishing. These patterns make it harder for these translators to access opportunities comparable to those available to their white counterparts, not to mention that the criteria for these opportunities have historically been defined in white-centering ways. It is damaging to literary translation as a profession and as a practice when persistent and pervasive inequality of access still exists for so many potential practitioners.    

ALTA is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential elements of our mission. Realizing that the first place to start is with ourselves, and affirming the importance of intersectionality in our own organization, ALTA is working to foster a translation community that reflects the diversity of our world.

Steps we have taken thus far include the creation of the Peter K. Jansen Memorial Travel Fellowship in 2016, the institution of the ALTA Equity Advocates and the ALTA BIPOC Caucus in 2020, and a sharper focus on diversifying our Board and award judges. ALTA also circulated a survey on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion to which over 350 members of our community replied. We are currently evaluating the information provided in the survey, and our next steps will be guided by these responses. In the meantime, translators who are interested in joining the ALTA BIPOC Caucus – a space for literary translators who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or as a person of color – can do so here.

Here are additional resources for BIPOC translators: 

ALTA believes that supporting current, emerging, and future BIPOC translators is a crucial step toward achieving racial equity in our field. If you would like to join ALTA’s efforts by contributing your ideas, expertise, money, or other resources, please contact ALTA’s Equity Advocates at equity@literarytranslators.org.
 

Signed, 

ALTA’s Board of Directors, Staff, and Equity Advocates, with input from the ALTA BIPOC Caucus

Ellen Elias-Bursac, Anne Fisher, Patrick Blaine, Samantha Schnee, Aron Aji, Sean Gasper Bye, Nancy Naomi Carlson, Bonnie Chau, Chenxin Jiang, Aviya Kushner, Colleen Lucey, Margo Pave, Aaron Robertson, Corine Tachtiris, Elisabeth Jaquette, Kelsi Vanada, Rachael Daum, Jessica Vocatura, Xuefei Ma, Jen Zoble

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