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 one year. 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. Since its inception, the program has supported 54 translators working from 18 languages.
At right: 2022 Mentor Katrina Dodson and Mentee Angelina Coronado
All mentors and mentees meet via video conference at the beginning of their mentorship in February, and continue their work through individual meetings either in person, over Skype, or by phone. A minimum of six meetings is expected in the first nine months of the program. The mentorship will feature a presentation of the mentee’s work in a reading at the annual ALTA conference in the fall. ALTA mentees also have the option to take part in our "First Look" program, which allows participating magazine and book publishers to be the first to read excerpts of the translations mentees have worked on throughout their mentorship, for possible publication. The $1500 travel stipend covers travel to the conference location and on-site accommodations. ALTA conference registration is also covered for both mentors and mentees. Please note that each of our program funders may have different stipulations regarding travel funding.
Click here to read about ALTA's current and former mentees.
Click here to read about the many accomplishments of ALTA's current and former mentees.
Click here to read an interview between 2021 mentor Mike Fu and mentee Jenna Tang.
The following 17 mentorships are available in 2024, offered by ALTA in partnership with our generous program funders. Applications for the 2024 program open on September 1, 2023 and close on November 30, 2023.
Bangla, with mentor Arunava Sinha
Catalan, with mentor Julia Sanches
Hindi, with mentor Daisy Rockwell
Japanese, with mentor Takami Nieda
Korean poetry, with mentor Jack Jung
Korean prose, with mentor Janet Hong
Malayalam, with mentor Jayasree Kalathil
Nepali, with mentor Manjushree Thapa
Non-language-specific, non-genre-specific BIPOC mentorship, with mentor Kareem James Abu-Zeid (open to translators who identify as Black, Indigenous and/or a Person of Color)
Panjabi, with mentor Anne Murphy
Poetry from a South Asian language, with mentor Khairani Barokka
Polish, with mentor Bill Johnston
Literature from Québec, with mentor Madeleine Stratford
Swedish, with mentor Rachel Willson-Broyles
Literature from Taiwan, with mentor Steve Bradbury
Tamil, with mentor N Kalyan Raman
Urdu, with mentor Musharraf Ali Farooqi
Applications for ALTA's Mentorship Program are accepted annually from September 1 - November 30.
Applications must be submitted online through our submission platform, and must include:
- A project proposal of no more than 1000 words. Projects must be literary in nature, and must be reasonably expected to be completed within the scope of the mentorship. Proposals should include information about the original author and importance of the source text, as well as how the emerging translator would benefit from mentorship.
- A sample translation of 8-10 pages from the proposed project (double-spaced if it is prose), along with the corresponding source text IN ONE DOCUMENT.
- Indication of your willingness to travel to Tucson for the ALTA conference in the fall.
If you have questions about the application process, please email Program Manager Kelsi Vanada after you have reviewed the program FAQ (click the button below).
The program is open to emerging literary translators at no cost to them. An emerging translator is someone who has published no more than one full-length work of literary translation. While ALTA’s Mentorship Program is open to all applicants, we especially encourage applications from translators of color, translators with disabilities, LGBTQ+ translators, and those who don't have an MA, an MFA, or some other equivalent type of training, such as a mentorship from the National Centre for Writing’s Emerging Translator Mentorships (UK). Though contemporary 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 (it's good practice to secure the rights before beginning a project, but applicants are not expected to secure rights in order to submit their proposal. We do encourage applicants to check on the status of the rights). We welcome applicants who were not accepted in previous years to reapply with the same project or a different one.
This program is distinct from the ALTA Travel Fellowships. Current mentees are not eligible to apply for an ALTA Travel Fellowship. Previous years' Fellows are welcome to apply for the Mentorship Program, however.
While applicants are encouraged to apply simultaneously to multiple mentorship programs (such as those offered by the National Centre for Writing, LTAC/QWF, etc), please note that successful applicants will only be allowed to pursue one mentorship at a given time. In other words, applicants selected for more than one mentorship will need to choose one to accept. This allows our programs to support the greatest number of emerging translators.
The eight mentorships funded by the South Asian Literature in Translation (SALT) Project include Bangla, Hindi, Malayalam, Nepali, Panjabi, Poetry from a South Asian language, Tamil, and Urdu. Recipients of these mentorships receive an additional $1,000 travel stipend to attend the London Bookfair from March 12-14, 2024. Receipt of travel stipends ($1,500 for the ALTA conference and $1,000 for the London Bookfair) is contingent upon travel to and participation in these events. Confirmation of your intention to travel will be due to ALTA in advance. (ALTA understands that actual travel plans may be subject to visa restrictions or other factors.)
The 2024 mentorships are offered by ALTA in partnership with the BIPOC Literary Translators Caucus, the Institut Ramon Llull, the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, the SALT Project, the Swedish Arts Council, the Taiwan Academy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles, Québec Édition, and the Yanai Initiative.
View our list of past funders on our Past Mentorships page.
This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
To discuss becoming a future Mentorship Program funder, please contact Program Manager Kelsi Vanada.