Each year, nearly 500 ALTA members, literary translators, writers, students, readers, teachers, publishers, and other professionals from all regions of the United States and abroad gather for a vibrant three days in continually changing venues across the country, and, occasionally, in Canada and Mexico. For forty years, the ALTA conference has provided the largest gathering dedicated exclusively to the work of literary translation.
Words are not simply containers for meaning. As translators, we know that we cannot separate the sense of words from their musicality, from the way they look on the page, from the way they are spoken or signed, or from the cultural and historical contexts in which they appear. The theme for ALTA42 allows us to attend to the visual, aural, oral, gestural, kinetic, and performative aspects of language and literature that shape translation practice. We invite panels, readings, roundtables, and workshops that address the theme “Sight and Sound,” broadly conceived.
Friday, November 8
Session Title: Art Omi Translation Lab 2019
Moderator(s): DW Gibson
Session Description: Join the writers and translators from Translation Lab 2019 as they share and discuss their work.
With Catalan author Marta Orriols and translator Mara Faye Lethem
Every fall, Art Omi: Writers, a residency program in New York's Hudson Valley, hosts four English language translators along with the writers whose work is being translated into English. Translators working on various types of text -- from fiction and nonfiction to theater and poetry -- enjoy a short, intensive residency that provides them with an integral stage of refinement and the chance to dialogue with writers about text-specific questions. Translation Lab also serve as an essential community-building environment for English language translators who are working to increase the amount of international literature available to English-language readers.
Saturday, November 9
Session Title: From Page to Stage: Readings of Dramatic Translations (Part II of II)
Moderator(s): Lauren Wolfe
Panelists: Taylor Gaines, H.J. Gardner
Session Description: Theater asks audiences to engage the realities of others; this is a familiar task to literary translators. Yet there is a dearth of dramatic translation in this country. We at ALTA hope to promote dramatic translation among both translators and theater practitioners by offering a venue where actors, directors, and translators can collaborate to present staged readings of new dramatic translations from around the world. In Part II we offer performances and discussions of scenes from One Day, Taylor Gaines’ translation from French of Gabrielle Chapdelaine’s 2018 play, and Against Fraternity, H.J. Gardner’s translation from Catalan of Esteve Soler’s 2017 play. Join us for a rousing round of theater-making!
Sunday, November 10
Session Title: Hearing the Translator First
Moderator(s): Matthew Smith
Panelists: Laura Vilardell, Rachel Galvin, Daniel Borzutzky, Kristin Dykstra, Aubrey Gabel
Session Description: Rather than asking how a translation fares in respect to its source text, this panel will begin by asking how the source text holds up to its translation. We will explore this question from a variety of angles. How and when do self-translations, for example, eclipse the original? Does the translation of testimony drown out or accentuate the voice of victims? And what are the political stakes of these practices? Looking at prose and poetry from Catalan, Spanish, French and English, we will discuss new theoretical models best suited to account for this shift in perspective, such as eco-translatology, and ask if older models can be productively repurposed to foreground the role of the translator.
Session Title: Translating Musical Texts
Moderator(s): Klaus Kaindl, Lucile Desblache
Panelists: Niloufar Talebi, James Wells, Marta Mateo Martinez-Bartolome, Hillary Gardner
Session Description: What makes texts such as opera libretti, song lyrics or musicals so challenging is that they to form a complex multimodal entity where music, voice and scenic action are interwoven. This panel will explore the internal relationships of the verbal text, the musical score and the vocal and scenic representation, provide an overview of the constraints and possibilities in the translator's work, and show the expectations and consequences such translations may meet, in both singing and nonsinging mode, on a practical and a cultural level.
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