2022 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program Open for Submissions

September 1, 2021–The American Literary Translators Association is delighted to announce that the 2022 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 13 mentorships are available in 2022, offered by ALTA in partnership with Amazon Crossing, anonymous individual donors, the Institut Ramon Llull, the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, the National Arts Council Singapore, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, the Russian Federation Institute for Literary Translation, the Swedish Arts Council, Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture and Taiwan Academy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles (TECO-LA), the Québec Government Office in New York, and the Yanai Initiative

  • Catalan, with mentor Mara Faye Lethem 
  • Japanese, with mentor David Boyd 
  • Korean poetry, with mentor Jack Jung 
  • Korean prose, with mentor Janet Hong 
  • Non-language-specific BIPOC mentorship, with mentor Katrina Dodson (open to translators who identify as Black, Indigenous and/or a Person of Color)
  • Non-language-specific, non-genre-specific, with mentor Kareem James Abu-Zeid 
  • Polish, with mentor Bill Johnston 
  • Prose from Québec, with mentor Linda Gaboriau 
  • Russian prose, with mentor Marian Schwartz 
  • Singaporean literature (translated from Malay, Mandarin Chinese, or Tamil), with mentor Khairani Barokka 
  • Singaporean literature (translated from Malay, Mandarin Chinese, or Tamil), with mentor Julia Sanches (open to Singaporean nationals) 
  • Swedish, with mentor Kira Josefsson 
  • Literature from Taiwan, with mentor Steve Bradbury 

Applications must be submitted online through our submission platform, and must include: 

  • CV
  • A project proposal of no more than 1,000 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. 
  • A sample translation of 8-10 pages (double-spaced if prose) from the proposed project, along with the corresponding source text IN ONE 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, though we encourage applicants to check on the status of the rights). The award covers ALTA conference registration, as well as travel to the conference location and on-site accommodations, up to $1,500. 

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 1, 2021: Submissions open
November 30, 2021: Submissions close
Late January, 2022: Selected mentees notified
Early February, 2022: Selected mentees announced
Early February, 2022: Mentorship program begins with a virtual meeting
November 2-5, 2022: Mentorship program ends with a reading at ALTA45 in Tucson, AZ

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 kelsi@literarytranslators.org.

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