ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorships

Accepting applications for emerging translators working from French into English.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Applications will be accepted until May 31, 2016. The selected mentees will be announced in July.

The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) 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, and the emerging translator is expected to choose a project that can be completed in a year’s time and will only be advised on that particular project.

The mentor and mentee will 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 as appropriate. 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 corresponding with National Translation Month. A number of magazine editors have agreed to review submissions directly from the mentee 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).

The 2016-2017 French translation mentor will be Emmanuelle Ertel. She is an Associate Professor of contemporary French literature and translation at New York University and has been running New York University’s M.A. program in Literary Translation: French to English for the past five years. She is also a professional translator. Among her translations of American novels into French are Louis Begley’s The Man Who Was Late and As Max Saw It, Rick Moody’s The Black Veil, and Tom Perrotta’s Little Children and The Leftovers. She is currently translating Hanyah Yanagihara’s Little Life, which was shortlisted for both the National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize this past year.

The mentorship is being offered by ALTA in partnership with the French Embassy Books Office.

Applications must be submitted online through our submission platform (March 18 - April 22, 2016), and must include:


--A project proposal of no more than 1000 words. Projects must be reasonably expected to be completed within the scop or the 1-year mentorship. Proposals should include information about the original author and importance of the source text, as well as how the emergin translator would benefit from mentorship. One round of judging will be blind, so the translator's name should NOT appear anywhere on this document.

--A sample translation of 8-10 pages double spaced (prose or poetry), along with the corresponding source text. One round of juding will be blind, so the translator's name should NOT appear anywhere on this document.

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.

If you have any questions, please contact Allison Charette, Program Committee chair, at: allisoncharette[at]

Also accepting applications for emerging translators from Polish, Russian, and any Singaporean language. See the ALTA website for more information.

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