New Program: ALTA Mentorships for Emerging Translators!

This year ALTA is delighted to be piloting a new year-long mentorship program for emerging translators working on a book-length project from Catalan, French, and Polish.

Mentors for the 2015-2016 ALTA Mentorship are Ronald Puppo (Catalan), Alyson Waters (French), and Bill Johnston (Polish). Applications for 2015-2016 mentorships will be accepted until July 1, 2015. These mentorships are being offered by ALTA in partnership with the Institut Ramon Llull, The French Embassy Books Office, and Polish Cultural Institute New York.

The ALTA Mentorship Program is designed to facilitate and establish a close working relationship between an experienced translator and an emerging translator on a project selected by the emerging translator. The mentorship duration is one year, and the emerging translator is expected to choose a project that can be completed in a year’s time and will only be advised on that particular project.

The mentor and mentee are expected to meet at the beginning of their mentorship at the annual ALTA conference, and continue their work during the rest of the year by correspondence. Mentors are expected to meet with mentees regularly over the course of the mentorship year, either in person, over Skype, or by phone as appropriate. A minimum of six meetings is expected for the course of the year. Between these meetings, a line of communication should remain open for questions, issues, or brief discussions as necessary. Mentors may provide any kind of advice, encouragement, and guidance they deem valuable for the mentee, including but not limited to notes about style and literary craft as well as suggestions and connections to potential publishers, performance venues or other resources. However, mentors are not required or expected to offer personal contacts, etc. The mentorship will conclude with a presentation of the mentee’s work at the next annual ALTA conference. A number of magazine editors have agreed to review submissions directly from mentees at the end of their mentorship year, and to work with them on potential future projects.

The program is open to emerging translators at no cost to them. An emerging translator should be someone who has published no more than one full length work of translation. MFA and MA students in translation can apply, but priority may be given to those who do not have access to the kind of guidance already present in a translation program. Though English is the target language, the emerging translator need not live in the United States.

This program is distinct from the ALTA Travel Fellowships. Applicants may apply to both programs, but only have the possibility to receive one award.

2015-2016 Mentorships are available working from the following languages:

Catalan, with mentor Ronald Puppo

Ronald Puppo is associate professor of English and Translation at the Universitat de Vic, where he has taught since 1994. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, in French Literature, he also holds a Diplôme d’Études Françaises from the Université de Grenoble, and a doctorate in Philosophy from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Author of numerous articles and critical reviews appearing in Translation Review, Babel, Journal of Catalan Studies, Anuari Verdaguer, Reduccions: revista de poesia and others, he has also contributed to recent volumes specializing in Iberian studies: The Limits of Literary Translation: Expanding Frontiers in Iberian Languages (Edition Reichenberger, 2012) and The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies (Routledge, 2016 [forthcoming]). His extensively annotated Selected Poems of Jacint Verdaguer: A Bilingual Edition (University of Chicago, 2007) is the first English-language anthology of Verdaguer’s poetry, and his full-length, annotated English edition of Verdaguer’s masterpiece, Mount Canigó: A Tale of Catalonia, is forthcoming at Tamesis (November 2015). He is currently preparing a volume of selected poetry and prose by Joan Maragall.

For further information see the PEN Català website (in Catalan):

French (prose only), with mentor Alyson Waters 

Alyson Waters has translated books by Vassilis Alexakis, Louis Aragon, René Belletto, Réda Bensmaia, Albert Cossery, and Tzvetan Todorov. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, a PEN Translation Fund Grand, a residency grant from the Centre national du livre, and was twice a translator in residence at the Villa Gillet in Lyon, France. She teaches literary translation in the French Department of Yale University, is the managing editor of Yale French Studies, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Polish, with mentor Bill Johnston

Bill Johnston is Henry Remak Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University. He has published about thirty book-length translations from the Polish, including poetry, prose, and drama. He has won numerous awards, including the Best Translated Book Award, the PEN Translation Prize, the AATSEEL Translation Prize (twice), and the Found in Translation Award. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His most recent translations include Wiesław Myśliwski’s novel A Treatise on Shelling Beans (Archipelago Books, 2013) and Tomasz Różycki’s mock epic poem Twelve Stations (Zephyr Press, 2015).

Emerging translators will apply to become mentees through the ALTA Submittable application manager. Applications must include:

  • CV
  • A project proposal of no more than 1000 words. Projects must be reasonably expected to be completed within the scope of the 1-year mentorship. Proposals should include information about the original author and importance of the source text, as well as how the emerging translator would benefit from mentorship.
  • A sample translation of up to 10 pages double spaced (prose or poetry), along with the corresponding source text.

Applications will be accepted until 11:59pm EST on July 1, 2015. The selected mentees will be announced in August.

Download PDF of press release.


About Erica Mena

Erica Mena is a Puerto Rican poet, translator, and book artist. Pronouns: they/them.
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4 Responses to New Program: ALTA Mentorships for Emerging Translators!

  1. Marcella Walton says:

    How interesting! In the guidelines it states that an emerging translator that has “published no more than one full length work of translation”. Does this include non-fiction works and technical texts?

  2. Pingback: ALTA Mentorships for Emerging Translators | Queens College MFA Bulletin Blog

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