ALTA, American Literary Translators Association hosted a virtual reading with three translators who are completing their yearlong program as mentees of exprienced translators working in the field.
This recording offers a unique opportunity to get an early glimpse into stories that hopefully will eventually become books. Fiona Bell is working from Russian on translating Natalia Meshchaninova–a contemporary filmmaker who also published a book of autobiographical stories–in this excerpt, the narrator tells of her teenage experience of keeping a diary, the way she constructs her self on paper, based on examples from her reading more (in particular, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer — a novel that was spun off from the Twin Peaks series!).
Mirgul Kali, translating from Kazakh, reads an excerpt from Mukhtar Magauin’s novella Kokbalaq, that tells of a life of a traditional Kazakh musician in the Soviet Union, and from this excerpt we get to understand something of his relationship with his art. In the interview after the reading, Mirgul talks about learning from this book about her own culture and all the reading she needed to do to convey the musical terms into English. The more I learn about her project, the more impressed I am with the amount of scholarship and thought that has gone into this translation.
Jennifer Kellogg reads to us from Book of Excercises II by a modern Greek poet, Geogre Seferis who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963. This book was published postuhomsouly in 1976, and most of the poems in this volume have not been translated to English until now.
Please enjoy and if you feel inspired, donate to ALTA to support this fantastic fellowship program.