Open Letter Press Opens Doors for Sophomore Taylor McCabe

Open Letter Press – Think that just because you’re an underclassman the world of challenging, productive internships is out of reach? Think again. This summer, sophomore Taylor McCabe worked in the offices of the University’s Open Letter Press and led the effort to compile a new e-book to be published this week.

McCabe made plans to stay in Rochester for the summer after her freshman year and applied for the Open Letter internship when she saw that the work involved would compliment her knowledge and skill level. A French major, McCabe has been interested in the world of literary translation and publication.

Open Letter maintains a blog called Three Percent, regularly updated by Director Chad Post and other staff members. From the start of the internship in mid-May, McCabe was assigned the task of sifting through nearly 3,700 blog posts and choosing the ones that adequately and interestingly related to current issues in the publishing industry and the world of translation. The book is essentially a 394-page anthology of 69 articles, some created from single original posts and others being longer essays synthesized from several posts.

“It’s a rare opportunity for an undergrad to help put together a book for publication,” said Post, “Taylor really rose to the challenge though, and deserves a lot of praise for making this book what it is.”

McCabe says that the book will be a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the publishing industry and the complexities involved in publishing foreign literature in English.  While it is a comprehensive resource it is also full of jokes and anecdotes from within the industry.  “I would say it’s a good book to read if you’re going to have an interview at a publisher in a couple of weeks,” said McCabe.

“Now I have such a wealth of knowledge about publishing and international literature,”  she continued, explaining that her task this summer was both daunting and rewarding. McCabe is now intimately acquainted with all of the current issues in the translation and publication of foreign literature in America.  As a result she is considering a future career path into the world of publishing.

McCabe also found the Open Letter work environment stimulating but not intimidating or overly competitive. She and the other four interns had ample time to do research independently to familiarize themselves with the field. In addition to the Three Percent e-book, McCabe also read and reviewed two published books, read and wrote readers’ reports on two unpublished manuscripts, and copy edited one manuscript throughout the summer.

Having had this experience at such an early time in her undergraduate career, McCabe has decided to apply for the Translation Certificate and now views translators as super heroes.  “I’m definitely more impressed by translators that I was before,” she said, “After this internship I wound up reading more and more [international literature]. It gives you a good idea of the viewpoint and aesthetics of other cultures.”

Article written by Maya Dukmasova, a Take 5 Scholar at the University of Rochester and an intern at University Communications.  She majored in philosophy and religion and focused her Take 5 year on researching the way American media covers current events in the Muslim world.  An aspiring journalist, Dukmasova has freelanced for Rochester Magazine, the Phoenix New Times, and the Daily News Egypt in Cairo.  She also maintains two blogs, one devoted to culture and society in Russia (www.out-of-russia.com) and the other to photography (www.myorientalism.com).