Applications for the 2021 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program are Open!

September 8, 2020–The American Literary Translators Association is delighted to announce that the 2021 Emerging Translator Mentorship Program submission portals are open!

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.

All mentors and mentees meet via video conference at the beginning of their mentorship in February, and continue their work through individual meetings during the rest of the mentorship either in person, over Skype, or by phone. A minimum of six meetings is expected during the course of the mentorship. The mentorship will conclude with a presentation of the mentee’s work in a reading at the annual ALTA conference in the fall.

For more information, please see our website for details, as well as introductions to former mentees and their accomplishments.

The following mentorships will be available in 2021:

  • Dutch prose, with mentor David McKay
  • Korean poetry, with mentor Jack Jung
  • Korean prose, with mentor Janet Hong
  • Non-language-specific, non-genre-specific, with mentor Kareem James Abu-Zeid
  • Prose from Taiwan, with mentor Mike Fu
  • Russian prose, with mentor Marian Schwartz

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, 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 award covers ALTA conference registration, as well as travel to the conference location and on-site accommodations, up to $1500.

This program is distinct from the ALTA Travel Fellowships. Previous years’ Fellows are welcome to apply for the Mentorship. Applicants may apply to both programs in the same year, but only may only receive one award.

The timeline for the mentorship program application process is:
September 8, 2020: Submissions open
November 30, 2020: Submissions close
Late January, 2021: Selected mentees notified
Early February, 2021: Selected mentees announced
Early February, 2021: Mentorship program begins with a virtual meeting
November 10-13, 2021: Mentorship program ends with a reading at ALTA44 in Tucson, AZ

These mentorships are offered in partnership with Amazon Crossing, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, LTI Korea, the Russian Federation Institute for Literary Translation, and the Taipei Cultural Center in New York.

Please see our mentorship FAQ for answers to common questions about the program, and direct any additional questions to ALTA Program Manager Kelsi Vanada at

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