Spotlight on the ’19 Travel Fellows: Daniela Salazar Monárrez

ALTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Travel Fellowships, including the fourth annual Peter K. Jansen Memorial Travel Fellowship! Each year, ALTA provides four to six $1,000 fellowships to emerging translators to attend the annual ALTA conference. This year’s winners were selected by judging panel Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, J. Kates, Sandra Kingery, and Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma.

This year, we’re spotlighting each of our five stellar Travel Fellows the final week of National Translation Month. Today, we offer congratulations to 2019 Peter K. Jansen Travel Fellow, Daniela Salazar Monárrez:

Salazar MonarrezBorn in Mexico (from Chihuahua, Chihuahua) Salazar Monárrez was raised all over the United States (with a brief stint in Brazil) until her family settled down in Southern California. Evident of a lifelong fascination with language, from constructing her own at age five to learning her fifth language at age 15, is a love for navigating the complexities of linguistics, and thus, translation.

Salazar trained as a sign language linguist at the University of Chicago where she received her B.A. in Linguistics. She currently works at Columbia’s Language Acquisition and Development Research Lab studying Nicaraguan Sign Language. She is in her final year of an MFA in Literary Translation from Queens College where she also teaches College Writing as an adjunct.

Now living in New York City, she spends most subway rides on her phone, working paragraph by paragraph on a translation of Viento en las montañas (Wind in the Mountains). This Northern Mexican adventure novel was written by Javier Ortega Urquidi, who was named Writer of the Year by the University of Juarez, and won the PACMyC Award for promoting Indigenous Cultural Heritage in 2006 for this book. This autobiographical novel follows a novice rural teacher and tells the story of the rural Mexicans and indigenous Rarámuri/Tarahumara people that live in the gorgeous but treacherous mountains of the Sierra Chihuahua.

Her latest work is an endeavor to develop a methodology for the literary translation of American Sign Language Poetry. A longtime fan of ASL Literature (signed storytelling, poetry and other language artistry), including the Flying Words Project of Peter Cook, she began to consider how literary translation, as a separate process than the standard live interpretation, might look at ASL Poetry. The goal of this kind of translation being to contribute to, highlight and promote Deaf ASL Poets and their work, as well as honoring it as a literary tradition. Her aim is to, through creative exploration, answer the question: How can a translator bring signed ASL poetry into written English through the rigor of a literary translation?

In other words, explore what intramodal literary translations might look like. The theme of this year’s conference, and its keynote speaker came as a serendipitous surprise and a good omen for her work when applying for this fellowship.

In addition to her personal and professional work, she also does pro bono legal translations for the New Sanctuary Coalition, a faith-based community organization in NYC that helps immigrants plead their migratory cases and works to stop the inhumane system of deportations and detentions in the United States of America.

Stay tuned as we spotlight our Travel Fellows this week!

If you love the Travel Fellowships and supporting emerging translators, we hope you’ll donate to ALTA’s fall campaign. Any donation from $5 to $5,000 will help ensure that ALTA will be around to support future generations of emerging translators, like our stellar Travel Fellows! 

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