ALTA43 Conference Session and Reading Proposals Open

Dear friends,

We hope this message finds you and your loved ones doing well. We’re writing with an update on the ALTA43 conference, and to let you know how you can propose sessions and readings for our online gathering.

Our decision last month to move the annual ALTA conference online was a difficult one; we cherish the one time each year when we all gather together. But the overwhelming response to the survey we sent out about a virtual conference is a testament to your investment in this organization: over 400 of you took the time to respond. We are very grateful to each and every one of you who shared your thoughts, concerns, and hopes for a re-imagined online conference this fall. We respect those who have let us know that an online conference isn’t for them. But we’ve also been heartened by those who told us that for financial reasons, family obligations, or travel distances, an online conference makes it more possible for them to join us this year.

ALTA’s Board, staff, and Conference Committee have carefully read and discussed the responses so far (and if you haven’t yet weighed in, you can still do so here). One small silver lining of this moment is the opportunity to check in with you about what your priorities for the conference are, and for our conference planning to be led by what you’ve told us. In the survey, you told us that you care about connecting and chatting with other translators, accessibility and safety on online platforms, and keeping conference programming interactive and engaging. These concerns have informed our revised call for sessions and readings: as always, serving your needs as a translation community is what motivates the work we do.

You also told us that among your highest priorities for a virtual ALTA is the chance to learn from and take part in sessions. And this fall, our online platform will allow us to expand upon our idea of what an ALTA session looks like. Every synchronous (real-time) session will be able to show PowerPoints, images, video clips, or text, and engage your audience via chat and live Q&A.

The annual tradition of the Alexis Levitin Bilingual reading series will continue as well. A virtual conference will allow for translators and their authors to read together, wherever they may be in the world!

You also told us you’re feeling burnt out by the amount of time you’re spending online. So as to keep things as engaging as possible, we’ve changed the timing of programming, allowing you to propose translation-related content (sessions and readings) in varying blocks of time, from 5-minute readings to 60-minute workshops.

This last change means that session proposals and submissions to the Annual Alexis Levitin Bilingual Reading Series are all collected through one form. You can read the full proposal guidelines for both readings and sessions on our website.

Many of you also shared concerns about making time for an online conference amid work and family responsibilities. So in order to reach as many attendees as possible, we plan to move the main conference to a weekend, where we will gather for two central, celebratory days. We will also make some elements of programming (including bilingual readings and special events) available throughout the weeks leading up to that weekend. The Conference Committee will be programming a blend of synchronous and asynchronous content, at different times of day to accommodate different time zones, and with very few simultaneous events.

Ideally, we’d announce our adjusted registration rates, exact dates, and conference platform today–but with our sudden pivot to our first-ever online conference, we don’t have that information for you yet. We want to consider our options, take member feedback into account, carefully balance our budget, and get it right. We will announce conference dates and registration pricing in the coming days. We can tell you that registration prices will be lower for this year’s online conference than for our traditional in-person conference.

Every year, you impress us with your creativity, depth of study, desire to share resources, and all-around enthusiasm for literary translation. We can’t wait to see what you propose this year, with a brand-new set of parameters and possibilities.

Please visit our website for the full proposal guidelines, and click the link in the box below to submit a session or reading for ALTA43.

You can reach us at with questions.

ALTA Staff and the 2020 Conference Committee

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