30.11.2023 Events, Literature

ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program 2024 – Open Call

DEADLINE – Thursday, November 30, 2023, 11:59pm PT

The Polish Cultural Institute New York partnered once again this year with American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) on their staple Emerging Translator Mentorship Program with seven other partners supporting translation from their national languages into English.

A renowned American translator and Academic Bill Johnston will work in 2024 on a translation from Polish into English with a mentee chosen in an Open Call (Deadline November 30, 2023).   

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 one year. 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. Since its inception, the program has supported 54 translators working from 18 languages.

All mentors and mentees meet via video conference at the beginning of their mentorship in February, and continue their work through individual meetings either in person, over Skype, or by phone. A minimum of six meetings is expected during the first nine months of the mentorship. The mentorship will feature a presentation of the mentee’s work in a reading at the annual ALTA conference in the fall and conclude with the opportunity to submit work to our “First Look” program for possible publication. 

ALTA’s mentees also have the option to take part in our “First Look” program, which allows participating publishers to be the first to read excerpts of the translations mentees have worked on throughout their mentorship, for possible publication. The $1,500 travel stipend covers travel to the conference location and on-site accommodations. ALTA conference registration is also covered for both mentors and mentees.

Bill Johnston

Bill Johnston’s ( ALTA 2024 mentor) awards include the 2019 National Translation Award in Poetry for Adam Mickiewicz’s verse narrative Pan Tadeusz (Archipelago Books), a translation supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship; the 2017 Found in Translation Award for Tomasz Różycki’s mock epic poem Twelve Stations (Zephyr Press); the 2014 Transatlantyk Prize; and the 2012 PEN Translation Prize and Best Translated Book Award, both for Wiesław Myśliwski’s novel Stone Upon Stone (Archipelago Books). He has twice been on the faculty at the Bread Loaf Translators Conference, and has previously served five times as mentor for the ALTA mentorships. He teaches literary translation at Indiana University.                                                                                                        

Bill Johnston was a recent guest on our ENCOUNTERS WITH POLISH AND UKRAINIAN LITERATURE video series speaking about Polish writer Wiesław Myśliwski.

Bio image: Courtesy of Bill Johnston.

The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is a nonprofit arts membership association that provides resources, community, and professional affiliation to its members: individual translators, academic institutions, presses, and others working in literary translation. The annual ALTA conference, held in a different location each year, is the largest gathering of literary translators in the United States, and the only one of its kind. It brings together nearly 500 translators, writers, and editors for an intimate, intense, three-day conversation through panels, workshops, roundtables, and on- and off-site bilingual readings. The ALTA conference is structured around the creation of high-quality art.

ALTA administers awards to recognize excellence in translation, and provides fellowships and mentorships to support emerging translators. Six major prizes are awarded at the annual conference: the National Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose, the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, the Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA), and the Spain-USA Foundation Translation Award (SUFTA). We offer ALTA Travel Fellowships for emerging translators to attend the conference, including the Peter K. Jansen Memorial Travel Fellowship for an emerging translator of color or a translator working from an underrepresented diaspora or stateless language. ALTA’s Emerging Translator Mentorship Program allows an emerging translator (someone who has published no more than one full-length work of translation) to begin a career as a literary translator with a more seasoned translator by their side, as they create a literary translation of high caliber

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