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Writing Workshops

Translating Between Voices & Cultures: A Translation Workshop with Jenna Tang


6 Sessions

Out of stock

Once a week Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT May 8 to June 12, 2024

Online via Zoom

In understanding a new culture through literature—especially through translation and languages—we want to read extensively and bring unique stories from different cultures to audiences who are yet to know what’s happening at other corners of the world. We may want to avoid stereotypes and excessive explanations of different cultures in our translations. What are the major topics in the world of translation we should be aware of? What techniques can we use as translators translating into English, to be in tune with the works that are meant to manifest their own meanings/stories, instead of educating the audiences? What can we do in our translations to bring in the positive “unexpectedness” and let our works shine?

In this six-week translation workshop, we’ll be reading from works of translations that are relevant to various topics, such as translating gender and queerness, understanding the tone of voices from the stories, bringing strange and surreal contents into another language, and more. Through discussing techniques to translate works from different genres, topics, and learning our patterns of translating, we’ll embark on a journey to grow together and publish our works as literary translators.

This workshop is meant to build a safe space for us to brainstorm creative ways to steer away from cultural stereotypes while engaging with our translation projects. Students are encouraged to share relevant perspectives, backgrounds, and processes. We will also focus on ways to highlight disappearing cultures and languages through translation, as well as meaningful politics that can potentially motivate us to let our voices stand alone––for our authors and for ourselves as translators.

Each student will get a chance to workshop up to 15 (double-spaced) pages of their translation, whether starting a new one or a work-in-progress. Students can come to class with a project already in progress or have been wanting to begin. We will also address ways to have conversation with the publishing field, especially about learning how to prepare a pitch packet for translation publishers, writing a pitch letter to literary magazines, and producing book reports/introductions for our works in translation.

This class welcomes translators of all levels, especially emerging translators. You’re welcome to join whichever genre(s) & language(s) you’re working on.

Course Outline
  • Session I: Introduction: What Literary Translation Means to Us
  • Session II: Translating Voices, Dialogues, Streams of Consciousness
  • Session III: Translating gender & queering translation
  • Session IV: Translating the Strange, the Weird, and the Radical
  • Session V: How to Write About Translations and the Stories We Care About
  • Session VI: Publishing Short & Book Length Translations
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Led by

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    Jenna Tang

    Jenna Tang

    Jenna Tang is a Taiwanese writer and translator who translates between Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, French, and English. She is a board member and chair of the Equity Advocates Committee at the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA). Her translations and essays are published in McSweeney’s, Latin American Literature Today, World Literature Today, Catapult, AAWW, Words Without Borders, the Paris Review, and elsewhere. Her book in translation, Lin Yi-Han’s novel, Fang Si-Chi’s First Love Paradise (HarperVia), will be out in May 2024.