The mission of the American Literary Translators Association is to support the work of literary translators, advance the art of literary translation, and serve translators, and the students, teachers, publishers, and readers of literature in translation.
The American Literary Translators Association is a nonprofit arts membership association that provides resources, community, and professional affiliation to its members: individual translators, academic institutions, presses, and others working in literary translation. The annual ALTA conference, held in a different location each year, is the largest gathering of literary translators in the United States, and the only one of its kind. It brings together nearly 500 translators, writers, and editors for an intimate, intense, three-day conversation through panels, workshops, roundtables, and on- and off-site bilingual readings. The ALTA conference is structured around the creation of high-quality art.
ALTA administers awards to recognize excellence in translation, and provides fellowships and mentorships to support emerging translators. Four major prizes are awarded at the annual conference: the National Translation Award in Poetry and Prose, the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, and the Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA). We offer ALTA Travel Fellowships for emerging translators to attend the conference, including the Peter K. Jansen Memorial Travel Fellowship for an emerging translator of color or a translator working from an underrepresented diaspora or stateless language. ALTA's Emerging Translator Mentorship Program allows an emerging translator (someone who has published no more than one full-length work of translation) to begin a career as a literary translator with a more seasoned translator by their side, as they create a literary translation of high caliber.
The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) was co-founded by Rainer Schulte and A. Leslie Willson in 1978 at the University of Texas at Dallas, where it made its home until 2013. ALTA was founded to bridge cultural communication and understanding among countries and languages through the art and craft of literary translation. ALTA is the only organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to literary translation.
In 2013 ALTA began transitioning from its former home at the University of Texas at Dallas to become an independently run non-profit arts association. In January 2019, ALTA moved to Tucson and became affiliated with the College of Humanities at The University of Arizona. Today, ALTA is a non-profit, arts membership association that provides resources, community, support, advocacy, and professional affiliation to its members: individual translators, academic institutions, presses, and others working in literary translation.