Institut Ramon LLull

Samantha Mateo, mentee, and Mara Faye Letham, mentor: ALTA Mentorship Program, the end of the road

Literature.  Tucson, AZ, 18/10/2022

Samantha Mateo was selected as the Catalan mentee for the seventh year of the ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program. For the last nine months, Samanha has worked alongside her mentor, established translator Mara Faye Lethem, on her translation from Catalan into English of Antònia Vicens’ award-winning novel 100 Degrees in the Shade. Mentors and mentees from ALTA's program will gather in Tucson, Arizona, ALTA'S hometown, at the beginning of November for a Professional Development Day, roundtable sessions presented by mentors, and a series of readings and events featuring their mentees' translations.  

The ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program is designed to establish and facilitate a close working relationship between an experienced translator and an emerging translator on a literary translation project selected by the emerging translator. The mentorship duration is approximately nine months. The emerging translator is expected to choose a project that can be completed in that time, and they will only be advised on that particular project. ALTA's Emerging Translator Mentorship Program was founded in 2015 by former ALTA Board member Allison M. Charette.

Institut Ramon Llull has been collaborating with The ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program since its very beginning, contributing a mentor-mentee pair every two years. The translation of Montserrat Roig's The Song of Youth by the 2020 ALTA mentee Tiago Miller was published by Fum d'Estampa Press, and shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousnes Prize 2022 and longlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize 2022. Mentor Mara Faye Lethem was awarded the 2022 Spain-USA Foundation Translation Award for her translation of The Adventures and Misadventures of the Extraordinary and Admirable Joan Orpí by Max Besora, published by Open Letter Press. 


Read the World: A Kaleidoscope of Translated Literature

Listen in as the ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program cohorts present readings of literature translated into English from around the world! The program pairs emerging translators with an established translator to work together on a book-length literary translation over the course of nine months, providing the next generation of translators of world literature with support and community as they hone their craft. These 14 mentees translate collectively from 10 different languages in multiple genres, sharing a wealth of writers, languages, and stories with a broad readership.


About the 2022 Catalan mentee

Samantha Mateo is a translator from Chicago. She received an M.A. in Humanities from the University of Chicago, specializing in Catalan and translation studies. She most recently joined a university press as an Editorial Associate. Her interests and work concern minoritized languages and literatures, diglossia, heritage languages, and immigrant narratives.

About the mentor

Mara Faye Lethem’s work as a translator has been recognized with two English PEN Awards, a National Translation Award nomination, a Warwick Prize for Women in Translation nomination, three Dublin Literary Award nominations, and a residency at Art Omi’s Translation Lab. Her recent translations include novels by Patricio Pron, Max Besora, Javier Calvo, Marta Orriols, Toni Sala, and Irene Solà. She is currently translating the complete short stories of Pere Calders.

Catalan Emerging Translator Mentorship is offered by ALTA in partnership with Institut Ramon Llull.

The 2022 Mentorship Program Weekend

November 4-6 in Tucson, Arizona

Read the World: A Kaleidoscope of Translated Literature. Saturday November 5, 10:00-11:30pm EST. Free. In-person and online event. Sign up here. Recording of the event will be available here


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