Noah M. Mintz began translating at Vassar College, where he received his B.A. in Media Studies and French & Francophone Studies. During his third year there, he spent one semester living, studying, reading, and eating in France. Somewhere between Poughkeepsie and Paris, he caught the translation bug. As an elective senior capstone project in the French department, he translated the first half of Patrick Modiano’s Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier into English, earning a grade of distinction. After graduating, he moved to New York to learn more about translation and publishing. He managed to surround himself with literature from around the world as an intern at Archipelago Books and a bookseller at Strand. He recently moved to San Francisco, and has fallen in love with the area’s linguistic diversity and wonderful people.
Noah’s first extended encounter with the French language happened far from the metropolitan “Hexagon,” when as a teenager his family took a sabbatical journey through the Caribbean. Like many Americans his age, his associations with the language at the time were limited to berets, baguettes, and brie. He was dazzled by this other vision of Francophone culture, and worked to expand it as he began to study the language formally in college. He took courses on Franco-Caribbean history and literature, and was exposed to works of art from all across the Francophonie.
His degree in Media Studies afforded him the opportunity to study in several fields, but all of his coursework was connected by a common thread of cultural studies and critical theory. His studies of film, art history, drama, literature, and criticism exposed him to a broad and motivating array of writers and artists who seek to take on and share a wide, inclusive, and intersectional worldview.
Noah sees translation as a powerful and unique tool for social justice, one that can promote voices that might otherwise not be heard. He aims to seek out narratives and perspectives that complicate the notions that Anglophone readers might hold of other cultures, near and far. The act of translating is a chance to both step up, addressing the issues of American cultural dominance, and to step back, by helping other voices speak louder rather than presuming to add his own to an already-rich global chorus.
Moving forward, Noah is excited by new possibilities for translation, both personally and nationally. He sees a real burgeoning movement in the world of publishing, with more and more publishers of all kinds cropping up and showing their commitment to bringing translated writing to an American audience. He is excited to be a part of this movement, and hopes to make himself useful however he can.
Noah is thrilled to be attending the 2016 ALTA Conference, and to have the inimitable Emmanuelle Ertel as a mentor through the ALTA Emerging Translators Mentorship program. He would like to extend his utmost gratitude to ALTA and to the French Embassy Books Office for their support.