ALTA member Megan McDowell reports: After moving to Switzerland at the end of 2011, I spent February and half of March 2012 at Looren Translation House, working on my translation of Arturo Fontaine’s La vida doble. Looren is a beautiful place full of interesting people, and it’s an invaluable resource for translators; I would encourage any American translator who can to take advantage of the Swiss mountain air as a catalyst for your project. During my 6-week stay I had a room at the end of the long, low building, with a desk facing a giant picture window looking out over rolling hills. When I first arrived I watched the snow fall in silence as I worked; when I left I had the window open to the breeze, and could hear the sheep and cowbells from the farm next door. Over the month and a half I was there, I met translators from Germany, Greece, Sweden, France, and Georgia, to mention a just a few, and our weekly dinners and evening conversations around the fire were the only distractions from work.
Looren Translation house is located about an hour from Zürich in the idyllic Swiss countryside. Since 2005, Looren has been offering residencies of several weeks at a time to professional translators from all over the world. Guests can devote themselves fully to work and study, and exchange ideas and experiences with other translators. Looren welcomes translators working in any language combination; the only requirement is one previously published book and a current contract with a publisher, and there is a minimal cost of 25 francs a week. Looren has rooms for 10 translators at a time; they accept people year-round and there are no deadlines for application.
In addition to residencies, they offer events such as readings and workshops as a forum for continuing professional development, and to enhance the public’s awareness of translation. This year, to coincide with the Frankfurt book fair (October 17-24), Looren is offering a German/English translation workshop led by Karen Nölle and Shelley Frisch. Looren does offer residency subsidies from the Translation House Looren Association’s support fund. Subsidies of 350 CHF per week are awarded for up to four weeks at a time. Starting in 2012, three awards from the support fund are reserved for debut translations.