International Translation Day is this Saturday, September 30! If you’re wondering how to celebrate, look no further than this list, in which the WWB team recommends seven ways to promote translators and international literature this ITD and all year round.
1. Get your translated lit from your local bookstore
Some of translated literature’s biggest advocates are booksellers. This International Translation Day, we’re proud to partner with several stores around the country that celebrate work in translation all year round. On Saturday, they’ll have displays of recent books by WWB contributors at the ready. Check out their displays in store and online, and ask them for recommendations!
2. Ask your library to order specific titles in translation
Your local library branch is another great place to learn about and support literature in translation. Request books on your #TBR list, then head to the library to pick them up. And if they don’t have the book that you’re looking for, they’d love to hear about it! For New Yorkers, you can find information about how to recommend a book for the library’s collection here on the NYPL site. A great way to boost interest in emerging writers and translators, women in translation, translated lit from small presses, and global kids’ lit is by recommending them to your local library. The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative has more information.
3. Name the translator
Ever since Jennifer Croft called attention to the lack of credit given to translators, there’s been a redoubling of efforts to #NameTheTranslator. But we still have a long way to go—when Milan Kundera passed away earlier this year, many outlets neglected to name his longtime English translator Michael Henry Heim. That’s where you come in. Study PEN America Translation Committee’s 2023 Manifesto. Read these pieces on our site about the impact of naming (or forgetting) the translator, one by Lucas Klein and one roundtable with Yilin Wang, Stefan Tobler, Sawad Hussain, and Nicholas Glastonbury. Learn more about contemporary translators by browsing our site and subscribing to our newsletter, where we regularly share translator spotlights. And name-drop the translators of the books, stories, and poems you’re reading—credit them on social media, in your Goodreads or Storygraph reviews, in your book clubs, and in casual conversation.
4. Follow presses that specialize in translated lit on social
Who’s on our list? Archipelago Books, Bellevue Literary Press, Biblioasis, Coach House Books, Coffee House Press, Comma Press, Charco Press, Deep Vellum Publishing, Europa Editions, The Feminist Press, Fitzcarraldo Editions, Graywolf Press, House of Anansi, New Vessel Press, New York Review Books, Open Letter Books, Other Press, And Other Stories, Oneworld, Sandorf Passage, Seagull Books, Seven Stories Press, Tilted Axis Press, Transit Books, Two Lines Press, Ugly Duckling Press, Unnamed Press, Verso Books… and many more! Subscribe to all their newsletters, and check out their upcoming events.
5. Sign up for magazine newsletters that specialize in translated lit
Stay up to date with new voices in international literature—and opportunities for translators—by subscribing to newsletters from publications including ArabLit, Asymptote Journal, The Common, Granta, Guernica, Latin American Literature Today, and World Literature Today.
6. Join, follow, or start a translation collective or organization
Translators are some of the warmest, friendliest people you’ll ever meet, and they’re eager to talk to you about all things translation! Subscribe to ALTA’s newsletter and follow them on social media, then check out their list of translation collectives from around the globe.
7. Attend virtual and in-person translation-focused events
WWB hosts several events a year, including our upcoming 20th Anniversary Gala at the Edison Ballroom and our Virtual Gala one week later. You can learn more about those events and RSVP here. And you can find many of our past virtual event recordings on our YouTube channel. But we’re far from the only organization hosting events that uplift global literature. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of upcoming events to check out:
- Boston: Subscribe to the newsletter for the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith, and don’t miss an event tonight with WWB contributor Marilyn Hacker.
- DC: Looking for a good book club? Check out Lost City’s In Translation Book Club, where they’re currently reading Macunaíma by Mário de Andrade, translated from Portuguese by Katrina Dodson.
- Los Angeles: This Saturday morning, join a community-based translation workshop focused on Issei poetry.
- New York: This Sunday, 10/1 at 2pm, attend a conversation with Astrid Roemer, Carlos Fonseca, and Norman Erikson Pasaribu as part of the Brooklyn Book Festival. (The Center for the Art of Translation has more great events, both virtual and in person, coming up.)
- New York and online:
- Books Are Magic is hosting Bora Chung in conversation with Anton Hur on 11/2, and it’ll be livestreamed.
- The Center for Fiction often hosts translators and translation-focused events that are in person and livestreamed, such as this 10/7 conversation with Jenny Erpenbeck (Kairos, translated by Michael Hofmann), a reading group on contemporary French autobiographies, and a workshop with WWB contributor Bruna Dantas Lobato on how to publish translation.
- Pittsburgh and online: All of City of Asylum’s programs are livestreamed, which means you can attend this year’s edition of the Pittsburgh International LitFest from anywhere. Don’t miss a conversation with Leila Aboulela and WWB contributor Raina Mamoun, a WWB-sponsored panel on translating Indigenous writing, a discussion on women in translation with Ebru Ojen, Yu Miri, and Marit Kapla, and a reading with 2023 WWB Gala literary host Novuyo Rosa Tshuma.
- Mark your calendars—you won’t want to miss WWB contributor Anton Hur at the University of Washington next April!
- On 10/16, Third Place Books (Ravenna) will host Anne Berest, author of The Postcard (translated from French by Tina Kover).
- Online only: You don’t have to leave home to feel connected to the world of international literature!
- Watch the readings on the Translators Aloud YouTube channel.
- Join the Portuguese in Translation book club.
- Check out the UK’s National Centre for Writing’s upcoming translation events.
- On 10/5, learn about translating poetry with Salma Harland, Isabel del Rio and DL William (presented by the Society of Authors, the Poetry and Spoken Word Group, and the Translators Association).
- On 10/7, celebrate The Long Form by Kate Briggs and The New Animals by Pip Adam, out soon from Dorothy, a Publishing Project (event co-hosted by Third Place Books, Community Bookstore, and other partners).
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