Update to the 2020 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program: 7 Mentorships Available!

October 4, 2019–The American Literary Translators Association is delighted to announce updates to the mentorships for the 2020 Emerging Translator Mentorship Program!

The ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program is designed to establish and facilitate a close working relationship between an experienced translator and an emerging translator on a project selected by the emerging translator. The mentorship duration is nine months. The emerging translator is expected to choose a project that can be completed in that time, and they will only be advised on that particular project. ALTA’s Emerging Translator Mentorship Program was founded by former ALTA board member Allison M. Charette.

The following seven 2020 mentorships are confirmed and will be available. The 2020 mentorships are offered by ALTA in partnership with AmazonCrossing, the A. M. Qattan Foundation, the Hong Kong Poetry Festival Foundation, the Institut Ramon Llull, the Russian Federation Institute for Literary Translation, and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea.

  • *Non-language-specific, non-genre-specific, with mentor Bill Johnston
  • Arabic poetry or prose, with mentor Kareem James Abu-Zeid
  • Catalan poetry or prose, with mentor Mara Faye Lethem
  • Poetry from Hong Kong, with mentor Jennifer Feeley
  • Korean poetry, with mentor Joyelle McSweeney
  • Korean prose, with mentor Janet Hong
  • Russian prose, with mentor Marian Schwartz

Learn more about our seven 2020 mentors here.

*Additional information about the Non-Language-Specific Mentorship, offered in partnership with AmazonCrossing:

  • This mentorship will be preferentially awarded to a translator working from an underrepresented or underfunded language.
  • Preference will not be given to projects from the mentor’s language.
  • Projects may not be proposed from languages already offered in language-specific mentorships (i.e. Russian or Polish prose)
  • AmazonCrossing will be granted right of first refusal on the completed manuscript resulting from this mentorship.

Applications are open from September 9 – December 8, 2019, and the program will run from February-November, 2020, culminating at the ALTA conference in Tucson, AZ. There will be a session on ALTA’s Awards, Mentorships, and Fellowships (with tips for how to apply) at ALTA42 in Rochester, NY, so please plan to attend!

Applications must be submitted online through our submission platform, and 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 nine-month 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. One round of judging will be blind, so the translator’s name should NOT appear anywhere on this document.
  • A sample translation of 8-10 pages double spaced (prose or poetry), along with the corresponding source text. One round of judging will be blind, so the translator’s name should NOT appear anywhere on this document.

The program is open to emerging translators at no cost to them. An emerging translator is someone who has published no more than one full-length work of translation. While ALTA’s Mentorship Program is open to all applicants, we especially encourage applications from translators of color, translators with disabilities, LGBTQ+ translators, and those who don’t have an MA, an MFA, or some other equivalent type of training, such as a mentorship from the National Centre for Writing’s Emerging Translator Mentorships (UK). Though English is the target language, the emerging translator need not live in the United States. The selected mentee’s proposed project will be worked on based on availability (applicants are not expected to secure rights for their proposal).

The timeline for the 2020 Emerging Translator Program Mentorships is:
September 9, 2019: Submissions open
December 8, 2019: Submissions close
Late January, 2020: Selected mentees notified
Early February, 2020: Selected mentees announced
Early February, 2020: Mentorship program begins with a virtual meeting
November 11-14, 2020: Mentorship program ends with a reading at ALTA43 in Tucson, AZ

Find out more about the program and past mentees’ accomplishments on our webpage, and please direct any questions to ALTA Program Manager Kelsi Vanada at kelsi@literarytranslators.org.

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