Friday, November 20, 2009

Online Certification with Dalkey Archive

Beginning in January of 2010, Dalkey Archive Press at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign will initiate a new and ambitious certificate program designed to help translators at any point in their early careers, and that will result in the publication of their first book-length translation. This program represents a unique opportunity for young translators to gain invaluable experience as well as produce a translation that will aid them in gaining future work with Dalkey Archive and other publishers.

The program is intended for translators who are at a point in their careers where they are ready to undertake professional translation work but do not know where to go next, and especially for those who need a flexible schedule because of geographical limitations and other commitments.

During the course of the yearlong program, translators will have the opportunity to complete one book-length literary translation to be published by Dalkey Archive Press, with an emphasis on literary fiction; books to be translated will be selected by Dalkey Archive Press in consultation with the translator. Editors at Dalkey Archive Press will be assigned to train applicants via email on a one-to-one basis. Occasional meetings at Dalkey Archive Press’s offices or videoconferences may also be organized.

The program is highly competitive and is intended for promising translators who are at an early point in their careers, but who have already achieved the skill level to undertake professional translation work. Ten students will be selected based on the strength of their application materials, and the relevance of their background to the kind of literature that Dalkey Archive publishes.

Translators interested in applying should send the following materials to as early as possible: a CV, including employment history; a letter of intent detailing qualifications, knowledge of the historical roots of the literary aesthetic represented in Dalkey Archive book, a list of the applicant's favorite authors and those authors the applicant is most interested in translating, and evidence of a substantial reading background in the applicants’ chosen language(s); and 3 sample translations of fiction from the applicant’s language(s) of specialization.

Samples should consist of the first pages of a published novel or short story only, and should not be from books that have already been translated and published in English. Each sample should be 5 to 10 pages long. Do not include the original-language versions of your samples.

Complete applications, including all abovementioned materials, should be sent via email as a single .pdf file only (no other formats will be read) labeled with the applicant’s name (i.e., lastnamefirstname.pdf). Within this file, application materials should be ordered as follows: CV, letter of intent, 3 samples, 3 letters of recommendation. Letters of intent should not be sent in the body of the email, but should be part of the application file. No substantial information should be included in the body of the email.

Emphasis will be placed on readiness to benefit from this online program rather than on academic experience or degrees. Applicants who have in-depth knowledge of Dalkey Archive’s books and general aesthetic will be given preference. A $5,000 will be required at the time of acceptance. This fee will be partially or fully offset by grants awarded by funding agencies for enrollees who complete a publishable translation.

Admissions announcements will be made within two weeks of receipt of applications. Any questions or requests concerning the application process and program should be sent to Jeremy Davies at

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Found in Translation" reading at UMass

The public is invited to attend "Found in Translation," a program of staged readings by the graduate students of Harley Erdman's graduate workshop in theater translation with a discussion led by Jean Graham-Jones (CUNY) on Friday, Dec. 4, at 8 pm.

Jean Graham-Jones is a professor in the graduate program at CUNY, author of Exorcising History: Argentine Theater under Dictatorship, and editor/translator of Reason Obscured: Nine Plays by Ricardo Monti, one of Artentina's greatest living playwrights.

The reading will take place in the Rand Theater, in the UMass Amhert Fine Arts Center, 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA. 01003 (click here for directions). The event is made possible by a Visioning Mini-Grant from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. A reception will follow. For more information, please contact Penny Remsen at

Monday, November 16, 2009

Demand for niche translation growing (as is the risk for gaffes)

During a March meeting in Geneva, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presented a gag gift to her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. It was a red button with a word written in Russian that State Department translators thought meant "reset." The idea was to remind Russia of America's hopes for resetting the nations' tense relations. But when Lavrov opened the box and peered inside, he told Clinton the word on the button, peregruzka, translated to "overcharge" -- not the message the U.S. wanted to send.
-- the best part of an article in the Los Angeles Times about the growing demand for niche translators with unusually specializaed technical knowledge