A Line of Blue Yaks: Report From ALTA 2014 Fellow Annie Tucker

Each year 4-6 emerging translators are awarded $1000 each to travel to the ALTA conference, where they participate in panels, workshops, and readings. Applications to be an ALTA fellow are open until May 1. More information here.

Annie Tucker received the ALTA Travel Fellowship to attend the 2014 ALTA conference in Milwaukee.

Annie Tucker received the ALTA Travel Fellowship to attend the 2014 ALTA conference in Milwaukee.

For me, being a 2014 ALTA Fellow led to professional development, new social connections, and a huge surge in energy and appreciation for the field that borders on the hysterical. The first two elements are covered in the first two paragraphs of this little reflection, and then the last one sort of takes over the entire rest of it. If you are in an expansive mood and ready for the zeal of a convert, read on!

I am very new to the world of literary translating—really about as emerging as emerging can be—so the panels focusing in professional development were incredibly useful for me. I got all sorts of great tips about what kinds different magazines and journals are out there and what they might be looking for, heard inspiring ideas about marketing and promotion that had me furiously taking notes, noted all the presses selling books, and just learned a lot about the publishing industry in general.

The best part was that I didn’t just listen to professionals from afar, but got the chance to enjoy friendly introductions afterwards, share my enthusiasms with editors and others, and discuss possibilities for future submissions. Throughout conference events, my appointed mentor ushered me about and I got to talk to lots of people; this was wonderful for me, as I tend to be a bit shy.

As the conference went on, and I met more conference attendees, this peculiar but pleasant feeling of recognition and identification kept emerging. These people had lives that looked like mine, and cared about the same things I cared about! Where else could I ever find such a bunch of world travellers with autodidactic tendencies and esoteric hobbies? Where else could I ever find people as devoted to human rights as they are to their crushes on Zadie Smith?

On that note of connection and identification, one thing I was struck by, and continue to be struck by as I learn more about the ALTA community and all their different organizations and ventures, is generosity—the willingness people have to give their time and share information and the feeling of genuine support and camaraderie. There seems to be a collective investment in the growth of literary translation and a sense that a victory for one is a victory for all. I have experience in other similarly underdog (or at least, underfunded) fields and have been frustrated by their territorial and competitive nature, an urgent hoarding of precious slim pickings taking place under a veneer of community. Not so at ALTA, apparently, where warm welcomes were immediately followed up by enthusiastic suggestions and shared ideas for funding, residencies, publication, etc.

During the opening reception, one of the elder members told the group of fellows that part of what makes the ALTA conference such a friendly place is that translators, by the very nature of their work, care about what other people have to say. Throughout the conference—and perhaps it was because of this year’s theme about politics—I got the sense that we all understand that we are part of a larger mission, and this mission is as much about outrage as it is about artistry, as much about building mutual understanding and hearing one another grieve as it is about wanting to share a great story. Before coming to ALTA I had certainly thought about that in regards to my own translation projects but I don’t think it had hit me how in so many ways so many of us are doing the same thing.

But alongside all of this—perhaps because I am a nerd—my favorite part of the conference was simply hearing all the literature in translation, at Declamacion and the bilingual readings. I have been left with so many exquisite sounds and images that, rather than fading into the haze of an amazing weekend, have stayed with me. I find myself thinking again and again of a line of blue yaks on a mountain ridge in Tibet; or a Persian emigree on a train in Europe, perfumed and naked lying under the sheets in her sleeper car; or the couple in an old Polish nursery rhyme, arguing over who should go and greet Death, who is knocking at the door…. And I could go on like this steadily until the next conference!

ALTA 2014 was an immersive and joyful experience, a true embarrassment of riches. It was an honor and pleasure to be part of it all and I want to take this opportunity to once again thank the organizers, my fellow fellows, and all the participants.

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Is There an Original Language: Poetry, Translation, Authorship

A series of readings sponsored by the New England Translators Association  

Is There an Original Language: Poetry, Translation, Authorship
with Alicia Borinsky and Regina Galasso

Sunday, February 22, 1:30-3 pm
Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Ave, Boston Room 522

Alicia Borinsky is a widely published  fiction writer, poet and novelist who writes both in Spanish and English.Her most recent books are, Frivolous Women and Other Sinners (poetry), published bilingually (Chicago: Swan Isle Press, 2011) and One Way Tickets: Writers and the Culture of Exile, literary criticism, written in English, (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2012). She is the recipient of several awards, including the Latino Literature Prize for Fiction and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and professor of Latin American and Comparative Literature at Boston University as well as Director of the Boston University Cultural Studies in Buenos Aires Program. Her forthcoming bilingual volume of poetry Las ciudades perdidas van al paraíso/Lost Cities go to Paradise (Chicago: Swan Isle Press, 2015) has been translated by Regina Galasso.

Regina Galasso is a writer, translator, editor, and teacher. She has also translated into English the work of Cuban writers Miguel Barnet and Jose Manuel Prieto, among others. Together with Carmen Boullosa, she is the editor of a special Nueva York issue of Translation Reviewfeaturing scholarly articles and literary translations associated with Hispanic New York. She writes about and teaches courses on Iberian and Latin American writers and artists and their contact with the United States. She is completing a book titled Translating New York: The City’s Languages in Iberian Literatures which reveals the ways in which New York—as both a real and imagined place—has played a fundamental role in the development of Iberian literatures. She is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


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Final Call for Papers: International Symposium on Eco-Translatology

Abstract submission deadline: February 18, 2015
The 5th International Symposium on Eco-Translatology
June 26-27, 2015, Department of Translation and Interpretation
Studies, Chang Jung Christian University, Tainan City, Taiwan

Invited speakers include:
Henry Liu (New Zealand), President, Federation of International Translation (FIT)
Anthony Pym (Spain), President, European Society for Translation Studies
Xu Jun (China), Chair, Advisory Panel, International Association for
Eco-Translatology Research
Juliane House (USA), President, International Association for Translation and
Intercultural Communication
Cay Dollerup (Denmark), Chair, Advisory Panel, International Association for
Eco-Translatology Research
Hu Gengshen (China), President, International Association for Eco-Translatology Research

Eco-Translatology is an emerging eco-translation paradigm of Translation Studies from ecological perspectives. With metaphorical analogues between Natural eco-system and translational eco-system, conceptual transplants, and interdisciplinary studies as its methodology, Eco-Translatology probes into translational eco-environments, textual ecologies, and “translation community” ecologies, as well as their interrelationships and interplays. Regarding the scene of translation as a holistic eco-system, it describes and interprets translation activities in terms of ecological principles of Eco-holism, the Oriental traditional eco-wisdoms, and Translation as Adaptation and Selection. Within the eco-translation paradigm, “Translation as Eco-balance”, “Translation as Textual Transplants”, and “Translation as Adaptation and Selection” are taken as its core concepts.
2015 is the 15th year of Eco-Translatological studies, and the 5th anniversary of the founding of the International Association for Eco-Translatology Research (IAETR).
The previous symposiums have attracted several hundreds scholars from different countries and regions to present their papers on translation from ecological perspectives. With a number of internationally-claimed scholars to be invited, this 5th Symposium, sponsored by the International Association for Eco-Translatology Research and Chang Jung Christian University, will offer another opportunity for more experienced professionals and young scholars to discuss and share their research findings regarding the emerging paradigm.

Eco-Translatology: Oriental Wisdoms and Occidental Concepts

This symposium will include, but are not restricted to, the following topics:
?    Translation studies from ecological perspectives
?    Oriental wisdoms and occidental concepts in Translation Studies
?    Development of the discourse system of Eco-Translatology
?    Theoretical applications of Eco-Translatology
?    Eco-Translatology in relation to other translation approaches/ paradigms
?    Eco-Translatology in relation to global trends in ecology
?    Developmental research on Translation as Adaptation and Selection
?    Ecotranslatology-inspired MA/PhD dissertation
?    Translation modes, paradigms, and schools of thoughts: an  Eco-translatological perspective
?    Studies on eco-translation ethics, on translation history and on translation theory history, in the light of Eco-Translatology
?    Trans-disciplinary studies of eco-translation in the new era of eco-civilization, etc.

Each abstract should be no less than 500 words, including title, author, affiliation, research interests, country, telephone number and email address. Abstracts need to be submitted electronically as a WORD attachment to Miss CHEN Jia-yan at:dtis@mail.cjcu.edu.tw All abstracts are to be reviewed by the Paper Selection Committee. Authors will be notified of the acceptance of their abstracts by March 18, 2015, and at the same time, the official Letter of Invitation will be sent to those presenters whose abstract is accepted and who can submit his/her full text of paper.

The deadline for abstract submission is February 18, 2015.  For questions, please contact Hu Gengshen atstronghugs@ipm.edu.mo

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2015 BU Lecture Series in Literary Translation

2015 BU Translation Seminar poster

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Call for 119 Translations of The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams


In Meldrum Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a mural by Dave Loewenstein celebrates the astonishing diversity of a small city where more than 140 languages are currently spoken.

When viewing this artwork, conceived of first by children in the Whittier neighborhood, an interesting notion occurred to writer Ben Miller—a joyful way of extending the collaborative spirit the images embody, as well as connecting people across the nation to the Midwest of the current moment.

What if citizens stepped in front of the mural one morning, each proudly reciting, in turn, the same seminal American poem translated into a different language—showcasing the variety amid unity that is the genius of Democracy at its best?

(The 2013 creation of the Meldrum Park mural was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sioux Falls Arts Council and City of Sioux Falls.)

The collective undertaking of this massive reading is all about stretches—sounds of languages flowing one into the other—and people from many different countries and backgrounds joining to create an audio/visual mosaic that compliments and communicates with the Meldrum Park mural.

The poem picked for the project is “The Red Wheelbarrow”, by William Carlos Williams:

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

Currently 23 translations have been found or generated.

Here is a list of the languages to be done:

“Red Wheelbarrow” Translations Needed (119):

European: Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Estonian, Greek, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Serbian, Shqip or Albanian, Slavic or Ukrainian, Slovak.

African: Acholi, Afar, Afrikaans, Akan, Amharic, Anyuak, Arabic, Avokaya, Baki, Bari, Bassa, Bhojpuri, Burundi, Creole, Didinga, Dinka, Erapice, French, Fulani, Grego, Hausa, Hindi, Igbo or Ibo, Jur, Kabila, Kenyarwanda, Kikiyu, Kirundi or Rundi, Kisio, Kiswahili, Krahn, Krash, Kuku, Kunama, Lakoka, Lango, Lingala, Luganda, Madi, Mai Mai or Bantu, Mandinka, Mawo, Mondari, Moru, Murule, Ndogo, Nubiar, Nuer, Nyambara, Nyangwana, Oduk, Ogoni, Oromo, Pojulu, Rafica, Ruel, Rwanda, Shilluk, Sholuk, Somali, Swahili, Tigrinya, Toknath, Toposa, Turkish, Urdu, Wolof or Senegal, Zande, Zulu.

Asian: Armenian, Azeri or Azerbaijan, Bangla, Bhutanese, Cambodian, Cantonese, Chinese, Filipino, French, Gujarati, Hayaren of Armenia, Hindi, Indonesian, Kazakh, Khmer, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Lergdie, Malay, Nepali, Oriya, Pashtu, Tagala, Telugu, Urdu,.

Central and South American: Castellano of Chile, Kiche, Mam, Quichua of Ecuador.

North American: Ojibwe or Chippawa, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Navajo, Omaha, Ponca, Winnebago.

Translations donated are for the purposes of a one-time community event, and will not be published in print or on the Internet. The author retains all rights: use is strictly informal.

When you have finished the translation e-mail it, and a three-sentence biography (including your current place of residence), to Ben Miller at muralspeaks@gmail.com.

The biographical information will appear in the event program. If you would like to participate in the actual event in some fashion, please note so at this time. And we would love to know if you have ever visited South Dakota or have family or personal or business connections there.

As of now the project timeframe is this:

October 2014-August 2015: Translation Collecting/Generation

September 2015-April 2016: Signing Up Readers/Publicity

May 2016: Event Staging

To learn more about the Meldrum Park mural and Mural Speaks!—its genesis, history and organizers—follow these links:




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Call for Submissions: The Flexible Persona

This is a call for submissions from translators of fiction. The Flexible Persona (www.theflexiblepersona.com) is a biweekly literary journal that features fiction, nonfiction, and translated fiction in audio format and print through e-Publications.

We are most interested in engaging, character-driven stories that focus on relationships. Open to all genres except historical fiction. Maximum 1200 – 6500 words. Translators must be able to demonstrate that they have the rights and permissions for the work. This information should be included with the submission. The cover letter should also include a biography for both the translator and the original author.


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In Memoriam: Bruce P. Berlind, Poet and Translator of Hungarian Poetry

We are sad to bidberlind  farewell to Dr. Bruce Berlind, who was professor and former chair of the English department at Colgate University; veteran of both the Second World War and the Korean War; founder of the Colgate English department visiting writer series; and winner of the Hungarian PEN award for his extensive translations of Hungarian poetry in 1986. He passed away in his home in Madison, WI, on November 1, 2014.

Of translation, Berlind once stated, “the greatest challenge is to make as good an English-American poem of it as I can, at the same time staying as close to the original as possible.” A challenge indeed.

Berlind started translating from French and German, but was quickly drawn to Hungarian. He rather stumbled into it after being introduced to Hungarian poetry by a friend of his, the English poet Ted Hughes, who recommended that he try translating poetry by Ágnes Nemes Nagy. Though, like Hughes, he did not have a thorough grasp on the Hungarian language, he enlisted the help of a Hungarian neighbor who gave him literal translations.

The choice turned out to be fortuitous: Ágnes Nemes Nagy herself came to the States while he was translating, and her poetry made a splash. As a result, Berlind and his then-wife were invited to Hungary, where the feeling of translation leading to political intrigue was captivating. Of the experience in Budapest, he stated in an interview in Translation Review, “It wasn’t exactly a paparazzi bit, but guys would come in and shoot [pictures of] us. And when I gave a reading, it was reported. I felt more important [in Hungary] than I’d ever felt [in the United States].” Many of the poets he translated were political writers who wrote against communism, and ended up being kept from writing by order of the government.

As such, his work in translating Hungarian poetry was of special importance to get the literature out to the rest of the world, even if it couldn’t be publicized in the home country. “Translation—both into and out of Hungarian—is of major importance in Hungary. The language is isolated; it has no close relative in Europe; and it is spoken by only about ten and a half million people in Hungary, and perhaps another million abroad. Yet it has produced more important poets in proportion to its population, I’d guess, than any other culture. The desire to make its literature known in major languages has resulted in major efforts to recruit foreign poets to its cause, probably more English-speaking poets than others.”

After finishing his education at Princeton and Johns Hopkins Universities, Berlind taught at Colgate University for 34 years, and founded their visiting writers series. Following his retirement, he and his family regularly traveled to Hungary, where Berlind continued his work with Hungarian poets. He is survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren.

Berlind was also a longtime member of The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA). When asked about the most discouraging thing about translation, his answer was the lack of recognition of the craft. However, organizations like ALTA give hope: “I’m a member of the American Literary Translators Association. All of us are literary translators, and those of us who translate poetry are, for the most part, poets. So, the annual conference that I have been going to for about twenty years is an important event in my life because these are people who speak the same language as I do.”

Berlind’s family has asked that contributions in his memory may be made to the American Cancer Society.

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