Q: What is National Translation Month (NTM)?
A: National Translation Month (NTM) is a celebration of literary translations throughout the month of September. Each year, we publish award-winning authors and translators on our web site; we hold numerous readings across the U.S., London and other cities in collaboration with At the Inkwell and other organizations; and we celebrate accomplished translators through social media campaigns and interview series. Since its creation, National Translation Month has built a large following of 5,000+ fans on social media, bringing awareness and promoting literature in translation each September.
Q: Who started it?
A: Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), and Academy of American Poets’ National Poetry Month (April), National Translation Month was founded in 2013 by poet, author, educator, and journalist Loren Kleinman and by Romanian-born poet, editor, and translator Claudia Serea. Along the way, we partnered with numerous organizations, literary journals, publishers, presses, and organizers, most notably At the Inkwell, our events and readings organizer led by Monique Antonette Lewis. You can see our list of partners here.
Q: Why was September chosen for National Translation Month?
A: September 30 is already celebrated worldwide as International Translation Day with the feast of Saint Jerome, the beloved patron of librarians and libraries, schoolchildren, students, Bible scholars, and translators. It seemed only fitting to launch a month-long celebration in September—in an ultimate effort to encourage literary translation readership year-round.
Q: What are the goals of National Translation Month?
A: The goals of National Translation Month are to:
- promote the work of translators and highlight their craft
- encourage the reading of literature in translation
- encourage increased publication and distribution of works in translation, and
- encourage support for literary translators, authors, and presses from around the world.
Q: Shouldn’t we celebrate literary translations all year-round, not just in September?
A: Yes, of course! We encourage reading and sharing works by your favorite authors in translation year-round. Join our mailing list or follow us on social media (Twitter and Facebook) to receive news and updates about translators, awards, authors, and new translated books getting published or recognized all year long.
Q: Do organizations need permission to participate?
A: No. You don’t need our permission to celebrate, just as you don’t need anyone’s permission to celebrate Black History Month, Women’s History Month, National Poetry Month, or National Ice Cream Month in July. We encourage you to use our badge, which can be downloaded here.
Q: What can I do to celebrate NTM?
A: There are thousands of ways to celebrate. We’ve developed this list of 30 ways to celebrate NTM to get you started, but we’re open to suggestions and encourage you to find your own way to celebrate. Every effort counts!
Q: I live in the U.S, but I am not a translator. Can I participate?
A: You don’t have to be a translator to enjoy translations or celebrate with us. If you are a writer or a poet living in the U.S., you could attend one of our events if they are held in your area; help organize a reading of your favorite translated authors (for instance, we held an event celebrating the poetry of Pablo Neruda and Federico Garcia Lorca in New York City—but you could pick any author(s) in translation you like); or simply share a favorite translated poem on social media tweeting them to @TranslateMonth using #TranslationMonth.
Q: I live outside the U.S. and I don’t write in or translate from English. Can I participate?
A: Glad you asked! Everyone from around the world can participate by reading and sharing literary translations from any language into any language. If you can organize a reading with translators in your area—great! If not, you could just gather some friends and read works by any international authors you could find in your local bookstore or library. Make sure you drop us a line and send us pictures to document and promote your event.
Q: I am an organizer. How can I participate?
A: Organizers and participants can create their own event to celebrate NTM the way they wish. We are not dictating any terms or themes, and you don’t have to be a translator, poet, or writer—just to enjoy reading and sharing works in translation. E-mail us the details of your event and we’ll list it on our events page and help promote it on social media. Take photos or videos from the event and e-mail us to feature on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!
Q: How can teachers and students participate?
A: You could hold a reading at your school, celebrating literature in translation; read works by a Nobel Prize for Literature winner from another country; or, for younger students, research how to say “Hello,” “Love,” or “Friend” in 20 languages and make a poster with the words. Send us photos or videos and we’ll post them on our social media and bring more awareness about works in translation.
Q: How can librarians participate?
A: You could make a book display at your library, featuring authors in translation; you could start a book club or share a reading list of books by foreign authors in your library. If you’re a librarian with a success story you’d like to share, e-mail us and we’ll post your story on social media.
Q: How can I support National Translation Month?
A: If you’re able to support our efforts, please consider making a donation here. Your contribution means a lot and will help us find the resources to reach out to thousands more translators, writers, poets, editors, students, teachers, librarians, publishers, event organizers, cultural and translation centers—and an ever-growing audience for literature in translation next September.