Expectations were surpassed at the ALTA Conference in November. BY MARGARITA MILLAR

This was my first time at the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) conference, which took place in Pasadena in November of 2009. When I registered for the conference in July, I didn’t know what to expect. The program seemed really interesting and I could not make up my mind about the panels I wanted check out.  The topics were diverse, ranging from song translating to finding ways to publish literary translation. The pre-conference reception was auspicious. Held on the outdoor patio of the Pacific Asia Museum, it was the stage for the presentation in song of Vietnamese poetry performed by Lê Phanm Lê, a poet and resident of Oakland, and her translator Nancy Arbuthnot.  To be outdoors listening to poetry, with plenty of food and wine to go with it, was truly a magical moment. The festive evening set the mood for the rest of the conference for me. → continue reading


Association business, literary translation & business pointers are all covered at the September GM. BY NORMA KAMINSKY

Margarita Millar and Anne Appel on literary translation

Margarita Millar and Anne Appel on literary translation

The Fall NCTA General Meeting was held on September 12 at The Center. First on the agenda was the approval of an amendment to the NCTA By-laws, Article 11, covering Voting and Elections. The text in bold was added to the existing article: “Each member in good standing shall be entitled to one vote cast either at General Meetings of the Association, cast electronically or sent by surface mail in the pre-addressed envelope attached to the Notice of the Annual General Meeting. The Board shall decide which of these methods shall be used for voting. Proxies shall not be recognized in any voting.”
This change means that members will now be able to cast their votes electronically in NCTA elections. Fewer resources will be used and our voting system will be more environmentally friendly.
The proposed amendment was approved by a vote of 22 to 0 with 0 abstentions.
After the vote, we had interesting and varied feature presentations. In the first part, two translators shared some of their experience and insights into literary translation. → continue reading


A workshop directed by Karen Emmerich inspires translators to do what sometimes seems impossible: translate poetry. BY NORMA KAMINSKY AND OLIVIA SEARS

On the evening of Wednesday, May 13, several translators met at the Mechanics’ Institute to discuss an impossible thing: translating poetry. The Center for the Art of Translation (CAT) and the NCTA jointly hosted this workshop directed by Karen Emmerich, a translator of Greek poetry and prose. → continue reading


On October 7, the Center for the Art of Translation began its 2008-09 “Lit & Lunch” series with a reading by Katherine Silver. BY ANDREA BINDEREIF

Katherine Silver, a renowned translator of some of Latin America’s leading contemporary authors, read from her latest translation, Senselessness, a novel by Salvadoran writer Horacio Castellanos Moya. This is Moya’s first novel to appear in English. Silver received grants from the PEN translation fund and the National Endowment for the Arts to complete this translation and she has since been recognized with an NEA award for her outstanding work. → continue reading


On April 15, poet and translator W. S. Merwin was the featured speaker at the Center for the Art of Translation’s Lit & Lunch program.  BY ANNE MILANO APPEL

W. S. Merwin

In its announcement, CAT described W.S. Merwin as follows: “One of the most influential poets of the late-twentieth century, W. S. Merwin has won innumerable honors including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Well-known for his poetry since the 1960’s, he is also one of America’s most recognizable translators, working with Spanish, Latin, and French poetry [and I would add, Italian]. An environmental activist in Hawaii, where he lives, his recent work has been influenced by themes of environmental preservation and deep ecology.” → continue reading


Translators and poets met at our latest workshop in May to explore the topic of poetry translation and, perhaps, to dispute Robert Frost’s dictum that “Poetry is what gets lost in translation.”  BY NORMA KAMINSKY

Sidney Wade, professor of translation and creative writing at the University of Florida in Gainesville, a poet and translator of Turkish poetry, was the presenter at this workshop held at the Mechanics Institute. Under her guidance participants actively and enthusiastically explored a number of issues relevant to the art of translating poetry. Professor Wade began her presentation with the assertion that there is a great need, as well as an excellent reception, of poetry in translation. → continue reading