28 September 12 | Chad W. Post

Couple more days of ALTA to preview, to help all of you decide which panels you might want to attend. Today we’ll highlight all of Friday’s events, cover Saturday on Monday, and then do all the special events and readings on Tuesday. It’s unbelievable that after a year of preparing for this conference, it’s finally almost here . . .

Friday, October 4th
9:00 – 10:15 am

Roundtable: The Routine of Translation: Strategies, Habits & Everyday Life

This roundtable brings together five or six ALTA members who have other professional commitments (teaching, editing, publishing), but still manage to remain productive as literary translators. The guiding question for the roundtable is a simple one: how do we make time for literary translation in the face of our other duties, especially when translation rarely pays well and often doesn’t “count” as scholarship at academic institutions? The panelists will speak about the practical aspects of planning their workday, and their insights will no doubt fascinate those of us who constantly scramble to make time for our own translation projects.

Jamie Olson | Sean Cotter | Sibelan Forrester | Bill Johnston | Erica Mena | Russell Valentino


Translating the Transition: History & Humor in Post-Communist Literature

This panel will explore the issues surrounding the translation of Eastern European literature written after 1989, and will especially focus on the themes of historical representation and humor. The panelists will refer to recently completed translations or to works in progress.

Magdalena Mullek: “East Meets West in the Backwoods of Slovakia: Culture Clashes in Lukáš Luk’s Považský Sokolec Tales

Julia Sherwood: “Deep in the Heart of Europe: The Debunking of Slovak Nationalism in the Works of Pavel Vilikovský and Daniela Kapitáňová“

Peter Sherwood: “Transylvania and Other Troubles: Diversions and Subversions in Noémi Szécsi’s The Finno-Ugrian Vampire

Alex Zucker: “Tradition Shmadition: Patrik Ouředník’s Attempts to Puncture Czech Provincialism.”

Janet Livingstone: “Socialism through a Child’s Eyes: Absurdistan Revealed”


10:45 am – 12:00 pm

Words on Music & the Music of Words

When the subject of poetry or fiction is musical experience, the writer is often moved to use special features to evoke that experience. Such features may include nomatopoeia, pacing, structural elements such as repetition, and patterns of rhythm or sound—all devices that can pose tough challenges for a translator. Of course, writers also use highly musical language for other purposes, such as the rendering of exceptionally lively speech or thought. The panelists will present examples of both types of writing and will discuss how they tackled the challenges these texts presented.

Carolyn Tipton: “Music in Alberti’s Chopin”
Stephen Kessler: “Luis Cernuda, Poet as Pianist”
Suzanne Jill Levine: “If Language Be Music, Play On”
Roger Greenwald: “The Peacock Dance and the Prince of Madrigals”


Humor & Its (Dis)Constraints

This roundtable will make a foray into the realm of translating texts that were written under constraint—and also happen to be funny. Despite translation guides that counsel against parsing humor (and translating it), the discussants will undertake to do just that. We will speak about translating humorous texts while replicating their constraints. After all, to paraphrase one translator, rendering a sonnet in free verse would be like sculpting the Venus de Milo in wet sand. We will also give particular emphasis to translating works written under Oulipian constraint.

Rachel Galvin | Camille Bloomfield | Jordan Stump | Pablo Martín Ruiz

And remember, you can download the entire schedule here.


Comments are disabled for this article.
Rambling Jack
Rambling Jack by Micheál Ó Conghaile
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“50 pages?”
“Including illustrations.”
“And this—what. . .

Read More >

The Things We Don't Do
The Things We Don't Do by Andrés Neuman
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .

Read More >

Private Life
Private Life by Josep Maria de Sagarra
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:

When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .

Read More >

Dinner by César Aira
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .

Read More >

We're Not Here to Disappear
We're Not Here to Disappear by Olivia Rosenthal
Reviewed by Megan C. Ferguson

Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .

Read More >

The Queen's Caprice
The Queen's Caprice by Jean Echenoz
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .

Read More >

French Concession
French Concession by Xiao Bai
Reviewed by Emily Goedde

Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .

Read More >

Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .

Read More >

The Cold Song
The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann
Reviewed by David Richardson

Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .

Read More >

This Life
This Life by Karel Schoeman
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .

Read More >

The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >