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Press release
Language.  16/08/2017

Second novice translators’ mentorship by the IRL and the American Literary Translators Association

The IRL and the ALTA (American Literary Translators Association) are to resume their collaboration for the second mentorship project (2017-2018), after the first pilot project in 2015-2016. The aim of the programme is to enable an experienced translator and a novice to work together on a common literary translation project from Catalan into English over one academic year.


Mentor Mara Faye Lethem (left) and Marlena Gittleman (right), the selected trans...

The ALTA mentorship project, entitled “Emerging Translator Mentorship Program”, will begin its second programme with a face-to-face meeting between the experienced translator and the novice during the association’s annual conference, which this year is to be held in Minneapolis (Minnesota) from 5th to 8th October 2017. From then on, the professional collaboration will continue online, with a minimum of six meetings between the translators planned. The end results of the joint work will be presented in September 2018.

This year, the mentor chosen by the ALTA is Mara Faye Lethem, the English translator of novels by Jaume Cabré, Albert Sánchez Piñol, Toni Sala, Marc Pastor and Eduard Márquez. Lethem also translates from Spanish, for example novels by David Trueba, Patricio Pron and Javier Calvo. Some of the aforementioned works have been included in the “Editor’s Pick” in The New York Times and Booklist, the “Best Books of the Year” in The Times, and “Readers’ Favourite Books” in The Financial Times.

From the applicants who entered the ALTA competition, Lethem chose Marlena Gittleman as the novice translator with whom she will do the mentoring. Gittleman is pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature (Spanish, Catalan, English and Portuguese) at the University of California, Berkeley, where last year she also took part in research projects. She has also worked as a translator in a voluntary capacity at the PEN American Center and for eL Paper Magazine, as a member of the editorial board in the latter.

The programme is part of one of the IRL’s chief objectives, namely facilitating translations of original works of literature and philosophy in Catalan into other languages. The IRL’s Department of Literature and Philosophy, moreover, supports literary translators from Catalan into other languages, especially in their on-going training and professionalization.

ALTA, an American not-for-profit association founded in 1978, is a very active and influential organization in the sphere of literary translation in the USA. Its mission is to consolidate the field of literary translation through the promotion and professional support of translators, bodies, academic institutions and other individuals associated with literary translation.

During the 2015-2016 programme, Ronald Puppo, a lecturer at the University of Vic, and the novice translator Scott Shanahan, a student on the Columbia University Graduate Writing Programme, worked together on the English translation of Viatges i flors (Travels and Flowers), by Mercè Rodoreda.

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The Institut Ramon Llull is a consortium that comprises the Generalitat (Government of Catalonia), Balearic Islands Government and the Barcelona City Council, and its mission is the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad.
Generalitat de Catalunya Govern de les Illes Balears Ajuntament de Barcelona
The IRL forms part of the Fundació Ramon Llull, which was established by the Government of Andorra, the Ramon Llull Institute, General Council of the Eastern Pyrenees, the city of Alghero, Balearic Islands Towns and Entities Network and the group of Valencian Cities, and has its central offices in Andorra.
Fundació Ramon Llull