Emerging Translator Mentorships

Emerging Translator Mentorships

The ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program is designed to facilitate and establish a close working relationship between an experienced translator and an emerging translator on a project selected by the emerging translator. The mentorship duration is approximately one year. The emerging translator is expected to choose a project that can be completed in a year’s time, and they will only be advised on that particular project.

Program Structure

The mentor and mentee meet at the beginning of their mentorship at the annual ALTA conference, and continue their work during the rest of the mentorship year, either in person, over Skype, or by phone. A minimum of six meetings is expected for the course of the year. The mentorship will conclude with a presentation of the mentee’s work in a reading during National Translation Month (September) of the following year. A number of magazine editors have agreed to review submissions directly from mentees at the end of their mentorship year, and to work with them on potential future projects. The award covers travel to the ALTA conference at the beginning of the mentorship.


The program is open to emerging translators at no cost to them. An emerging translator is someone who has published no more than one full length work of translation. MFA and MA students in translation can apply, but priority may be given to those who do not have access to the kind of guidance already present in a translation degree program. Though English is the target language, the emerging translator need not live in the United States. The selected mentee’s proposed project will be worked on based on availability (applicants are not expected to secure rights for their proposal).

This program is distinct from the ALTA Travel Fellowships. Applicants may apply to both programs in the same year, but only may only receive one award. Previous years' Fellows are welcome to apply for the Mentorship Program.

2018-2019 Mentorships

Applications for the 2018-19 ALTA Mentorships will open on May 31, 2017. Languages offered in 2018-19 are subject to funding.

Past Mentorships

Previous years have included mentorships working from the following languages: 

  • Catalan, with mentors Mara Faye Lethem (2017-2018) and Ronald Puppo (2015-2016)
  • French, with mentors Emmanuelle Ertel (2016-2017) and Alyson Waters (2015-2016)
  • Korean, with mentors Sora Kim-Russell (prose, 2017-2018) and Don Mee Choi (poetry, 2017-2018)
  • Polish, with mentor Bill Johnston (2016-2017, 2015-2016)
  • Russian, with mentor Marian Schwartz (2016-2018)
  • A Singaporean national language (Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil), with mentor Jeremy Tiang (2016-2017) and applications judged by Alvin Pang
  • Non-language-specific mentorships, with mentors Bill Johnston (2017-2018) and Steven Bradbury (2017-2018) 

These mentorships were offered by ALTA in partnership with the Institut Ramon LlullThe French Embassy Books Office, the Literary Translation Institute of Korea, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, the Russian Federation Institute of Literary Translation, the National Arts Council of Singapore, AmazonCrossing and the Amazon Literary Partnership.