Monday, December 14, 2009

Online Certificate in Applied Literary Translation

I learned that Dalkey Archive Press, at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), will be offering an online certificate in Applied Literary Translation beginning in January 2010. Here is the information I received:


Beginning in January of 2010, Dalkey Archive Press at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign will initiate a new and ambitious certificate program designed to help translators at any point in their early careers, and that will result in the publication of their first book-length translation. This program represents a unique opportunity for young translators to gain invaluable experience as well as produce a translation that will aid them in gaining future work with Dalkey Archive and other publishers.

Program Goals

1. Provide practical, invaluable translation and editorial experience to beginning translators who have not yet published a book-length translation.
2. Result in one book-length translation per enrollee to be published by Dalkey Archive Press.
3. Gain broad-based experience in various areas of translation and publishing.

Who is this program intended for?

The program is intended for translators who are at a point in their careers where they are ready to undertake professional translation work but do not know where to go next, and especially for those who need a flexible schedule because of geographical limitations and other commitments.

Program Description

During the course of the yearlong program, translators will:

* Do sample translations of books that Dalkey should consider acquiring, and learn how to write readers’ reports, cover letters to editors, queries to publishers and agents, grant proposals, and other secondary documents necessary to professional translators.

* Have the opportunity to complete one book-length literary translation to be published by Dalkey Archive Press, with an emphasis on literary fiction; books to be translated will be selected by Dalkey Archive Press in consultation with the translator.

* Receive frequent and individualized feedback from Dalkey editors on translation work.

* Gain experience in editing translations.

* Will work directly with authors as well as other translators.

Editors at Dalkey Archive Press will be assigned to train applicants via email on a one-to-one basis. Occasional meetings at Dalkey Archive Press’s offices or videoconferences may also be organized.

The program is highly competitive and is intended for promising translators who are at an early point in their careers, but who have already achieved the skill level to undertake professional translation work. Ten students will be selected based on the strength of their application materials, and the relevance of their background to the kind of literature that Dalkey Archive publishes.

Application process

1) Translators interested in applying should send the following to as early as possible; though start-dates may be flexible, no more than ten students will be accepted:

* Curriculum Vitae, including employment history

* A letter of intent detailing:

- Qualifications, with an eye toward demonstrating that the applicant has the necessary translation skills to benefit from this program
- An in-depth knowledge of the historical roots of the literary aesthetic represented in Dalkey Archive book
- A brief list of the applicants favorite authors and authors most interested in translating
- Evidence of a substantial reading background in the applicants’ chosen language(s)

* 3 sample translations of fiction from the applicant’s language(s) of specialization (translations of poetry or nonfiction may not be included in place of a fiction sample)

2) Applicants should follow the guidelines below very carefully:

* Samples should consist of the first pages of a published novel or short story only.

* Samples should not be from books that have already been translated and published in English.

* Each sample should be 5 to 10 pages long.

* Do not include the original-language versions of your samples.

* Complete applications, including all abovementioned materials, should be sent via email as a single .pdf file only (no other formats will be read) labeled with the applicant’s name (i.e., lastnamefirstname.pdf).

* Within this file, application materials should be ordered as follows: CV, letter of intent, 3 samples, 3 letters of recommendation.

* Letters of intent should not be sent in the body of the email, but should be part of the application file. No substantial information should be included in the body of the email.

The admissions process will quite likely include an interview.

Emphasis will be placed on readiness to benefit from this online program rather than on academic experience or degrees.

Applicants who have in-depth knowledge of Dalkey Archive’s books and general aesthetic will be given preference.


$5,000 at the time of acceptance. This fee will be partially or fully offset by grants awarded by funding agencies for enrollees who complete a publishable translation.

Announcement of Results

Admissions announcements will be made within two weeks of receipt of applications.

Any questions or requests concerning the application process and program should be sent to Jeremy Davies at


Anonymous said...

For a small press, Dalkey Archive seem to be aiming at a high profile in the world of literary translation. I found this article by DAP's founder interesting - it's almost ideological in its fervor.

B.J. Epstein said...

Thanks for the link!

Best wishes,