Find a recap below (kindly submitted by Susan Mockler):
Introductions and General Notifications
Keith Cohen reported briefly on the November 2016 American Translators Association (ATA) national meeting in San Francisco, which he attended. According to Keith, ATA registration fees are very high ($500), but the networking opportunities are well worth it. For example, he spoke with a professor at UMass about developing a course on how to teach translation. Keith reminded DC-ALT members that the next ATA national meeting will be held in Washington in Nov. 2017. There was discussion of representing DC-ALT in some manner at the national meeting. Suggestions included a book exhibit or, at the very least, making brochures available for hand out.
Nancy Naomi Carlson reported on the upcoming Kensington Day of the Book (April 23, 2017), and that there will be a poetry tent where various groups will have 30 minutes for a presentation or reading. There was discussion on whether DC-ALT members would be interested in participating. Nancy is involved in the planning of the day’s events and noted that a reading would be a chance to “sell” translation. Anyone interested or wanting more info can contact Nancy firstname.lastname@example.org.
Main Program: “Translation 101”
The panelists for the discussion of “Translation 101” were Suzanne Zweizig (translation editor at Poet Lore and translator from the German) and Nancy Naomi Carlson (translation editor at Tupelo Quarterly and Blue Lyra Review and author of several collections in translation from the French), with Ting Wang as facilitator. Both panelists responded to questions posed by Ting.
What factors do you use to choose authors or projects?
Suzanne doesn’t translate for publication, so she looks for people whose work she wants to know and tries to keep up with German literature, the language, and women poets who win prizes.
Nancy seeks authors and projects who offer a boost to her life. She has found authors through Robert Bly’s The Winged Energy of Delight and Bigunet and Schulte’s The Craft of Translation.
In a translated work, do you want notes about the culture of the source work?
Suzanne does not want notes about cultural differences and prefers explanation to be incorporated in the translations themselves, although she sees them [notes] as necessary if cultural differences would make the poet or poem inaccessible. She would prefer not to see any necessary notes in a preface that explains a cultural context, but rather as notes at the end of the work.
Nancy: footnotes on the page ruin the flow of the text; she would rather leave a word in its original language than explain it.
How do you go about choosing a publisher to work with?
Nancy: sometimes the publisher comes to her; it is very helpful to meet publishers at venues such as AWP and to ask them straight out what type of work they are looking for. Conversations make publication happen, Nancy notes. Once you get into a relationship with a publisher, they may contact you asking you for more translations or possibly your own creative work. After making contact with a publisher at AWP or other book fairs, follow up with a note. She also suggested being on panels, which makes it easy for publishers or editors to approach you and ask you to submit.
Suzanne reported on her experience as translation editor of Poet Lore. The journal publishes a portfolio translation each year, and it is Suzanne’s job to actively seek out potential poets to feature. In order to do so, she has to know what other journals are publishing.
How and when do you contact the [original] author?
Suzanne: after you locate them on-line, try to get in contact with them. You have to be out there networking. She looks for unpublished or underrepresented cultures.
Nancy contacts the author after the poems are fully translated. Publishers want to see the whole book.
When do you show your translation to the author?
Nancy: this can be a challenge, as you have to convince them that you have the final say.
Suzanne relayed her experience of being asked to translate a Burmese novella. She did the translation work first (with the help of a co-translator), then met with the poet to work out any questions.
Should you show your entire translation to the original author before going to press?
Nancy: yes. It’s about the text and the poet. We (translators) are the vessel through which the art is coming through. She added that she wants the poet to be pleased. Diplomacy and tact are necessary.
During open question and discussion time, the use of a co-translator and how to acknowledge them was discussed. Two main suggestions emerged:
1) If your co-translator doesn’t want a by-line, pay them.
2) Or list their name along with yours, such as: Translated by __________ (name of translator) with _______________ (name of co-translator).