Loren Kleinmann & Claudia Serea











What is National Translation Month?





Loren Kleinmann: – What drives National Translation Month, and the idea of choosing one month out of the year to highlight the art of translation?


Claudia Serea: – The main goal of National Translation Month (NTM) is to encourage readers worldwide to read, share, and discover translation throughout the month of September. Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), we established NTM in 2013 and set out to bring awareness of the craft of literary translation and the work of translators and authors around the globe. To that end, NTM promotes works in translation from a variety of emerging, established, and never-before-translated into English international authors.

We featured classics such as Pablo Neruda, Osip Mandelshtam, Carmen Boullosa, or Karl Ove Knausgaard, alongside new hot names such as Nadia Anjuman, Xu Xiaobin, or Daniel Saldaña París, among many more. You can see our extensive list of contributors here. With the translators’ efforts, barriers in literary communication can be overcome to foster artistic unity across linguistic boundaries and expose international authors to a wider readership across the United States and beyond.

September 30 is celebrated worldwide as International Translation Day with the feast of Saint Jerome, the beloved patron saint of librarians and libraries, schoolchildren, students, Bible scholars, and translators, which is why we chose to celebrate NTM during this festive month!


LK: – What do you look for in translations you accept for publication?


CS: – Each year, we make a sustained effort to attract, publish, and promote less-known authors and translators working in languages less translated into English. It’s one of our goals to publish less-known texts and bring fresh voices to our audience. So far, NTM has published works from 35 countries, among them Syria, Iran, Afganistan, Nigeria, Faroe Islands, Nicaragua, Martinique, Greenland, Singapore, and many more.


We also look for excellence in the literary traanslations we publish. Our organization has featured work from acclaimed professionals such as award-winning translator Nicky Harman, scholar Diana Arterian, famed translator Cola Franzen, award-winning poet and translator Martín Espada, award-winning scholar and translator Sean Cotter, Hugo Award winner Ken Liu, or NPR’s Andrei Codrescu. With more than 7,000 supporters (based on our social following and newsletter subscribers), our efforts to bring awareness to authors of translated works have exceeded our highest expectations. The attention paid to our innovative translators has proven that there is an enthusiastic community of readers eager to participate in our campaigns.


LK: – What are the works you published that you are particularly excited about?


CS: – We had numerous premieres at NTM, works from languages and authors less translated and less represented. We’re really excited about all of the translations we published over the years, but here a few outstanding features: Excerpt from the Award-winning Novel Vis & I by Farideh Razi Translated from the Persian by Niloufar Talebi; Two Poems by S. Vijayalakshmi Translated From the Tamil by Thila Varghese; Singapore literature in translation curated by William Phuan and Dan Feng Tan from the Select Centre; new translations from the Hausa language: “Kitchen Song” by Laura M. Kaminski (Halima Ayuba) translated by Sada Malumfashi and “Republic of Poets” by Sada Malumfashi translated by the poet; and excerpts from the gorgeous, award-winning children’s book Una gallina en la cocina/Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini, published recently by Lantana Publishing. 


LK: – National Translation Month has been around over five years now. Has there been any discernible shift in the kinds of translated works you’ve received since then, and do you foresee any particular trends or shifts arising within the next five years?


CS: – Each year is better and richer in voices than the one before. We’ve seen an increase in submissions of exquisite translated works from all over the world; work from troubled spots like Syria, Afghanistan, and Iran; numerous translations done by women and of women authors; and a tremendous interest on social media from readers from India, China, and Singapore. These are the trends arising, and we hope to add to them works in translation from more countries in Africa and Asia.


LK: – What would you like to see more of in the submissions to National Translation Month, and what would you like to see less?


CS: – We’d love to see more excerpts of plays in translation, short film scripts, comics, children’s books, erotic poetry and fiction, YA and NA excerpts, flash fiction, non-fiction, old texts, more works from countries in Africa and Asia, more work translated and written by women, and more texts from indigenous people from everywhere in the world.


Poetry is always the most submitted, but we want to introduce our readers to writing in translation across all genres. Our tastes are eclectic and we’re interested in everything, from ancient texts to contemporary—if it’s translated and good, we want to see it.


LK: – What are your plans and hopes for the future of National Translation Month?


CS: – NTM intends to develop a project with One Year Writing in the Margins, Writers in the Schools, and the Migrant Leaders Club to engage under-served bilingual migrant communities in an educational translation and creative writing program. We are also encouraging other potential partners to take advantage of our platform and develop with our help a robust educational offering for teaching translated works.


We also seek to develop our reading series on a global scale. So far, NTM partnered with grassroots organizers such as At the Inkwell, Great Weather for Media, and other community-oriented groups. Through these partnerships, NTM organized successful events in 17 locations such as Denver, London, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Richmond, and more. Their events featured Jack Hirschman, San Francisco Poet Laureate, and NPR’s Andrei Codrescu, among over 70 translators sharing their work to local audiences. In 2017, NTM partnered with Singapore Unbound, bringing literature in translation to their Asian audience, and held readings at Drew University and at Duchess County Community College.

We would like to expand the reading series and continue to grow our audience, offering more readings on college campuses and communities around the world, more visibility to foreign authors, increasing the prevalence of translated works in literary education and bringing more fresh voices to readers worldwide.


LK: – What does the rest of the year outside of September look like for National Translation Month and its staff? Are there any other projects you would like to let readers know about?


CS: – We are currently reading for September 2018 and we’re getting some exciting and beautiful new translations! We also solicit writing from translators and writers. The submissions close at the beginning of May. After that we edit and schedule out posts as well as line up guests for our reading events in September.

Anyone can promote an appreciation of literary works in translation, and we’ll advertise your next event—just let us know. 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. You don’t need our permission to celebrate, just as you don’t need anyone’s permission to celebrate Black History Month, or National Ice Cream Month in July. Every effort counts!

We’d love to hear from you! If you want to share a translation with us or think of a way to celebrate National Translation Month in 2018, email us at info@nationaltranslationmonth.org. We’re always open to reading new work and to any collaboration ideas. Find us on Twitter @TranslateMonth, tag us using #NTM2018 and #TranslateMonth2018, join our mailing list, submit a translation month event, or like our Facebook page. And, most importantly, celebrate your favorite authors in translation in September and all year round.










About NTM Founders



Claudia Serea is an award-winning poet, editor, and translator. She is the author of Angels & Beasts (Phoenicia Publishing, Canada, 2012), A Dirt Road Hangs From the Sky (8th House Publishing, Canada, 2013), To Part Is to Die a Little (Cervena Barva Press, 2015) and Nothing Important Happened Today (Broadstone Books, 2016). Together with Paul Doru Mugur and Adam J. Sorkin, Serea co-edited and co-translated The Vanishing Point That Whistles, an Anthology of Contemporary Romanian Poetry (Talisman House Publishing, 2011), for which she won a translation grant from the Romanian Cultural Institute. She also translated from the Romanian Adina Dabija’s Beautybeast (Northshore Press, Alaska, 2012). Find out more at cserea.tumblr.com and check out her latest poetry-photography collaboration project Twoxism.

Loren Kleinman is an American-born writer with roots in New Jersey. Her fourth poetry collection Stay with Me Awhile (Winter Goose Publishing) and her memoir The Woman with a Million Hearts (BlazeVOX) were released in April 2016. Her nonfiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Good HousekeepingSeventeenCosmopolitan, RedbookThe New York Times, Nimrod, ROAR, USA Today, BUST, Ploughshares, Open Minds Quarterly, Romperand  Woman’s DayWith co-editor Amye Archer (Fat Girl Skinny), Kleinman edited the collection of essays about the body, My Body, My Words (Big Table Publishing, 2018), which Bustle named as one of the “11 New Feminist Books That Could Totally Change Your Year.” My Body, My Words has also received media attention from Hello Giggles and BUST. More press listed at www.mybodymywords.com.






About NTM’s Partner At the Inkwell


Monique Antonette Lewis is an annual reader for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship and creator of the popular national and international reading series At the Inkwell. A former board member of the New York Writers Workshop, she taught fiction workshops in New York City. She was also the fiction editor for City Lit Rag. Her fiction and essays have appeared in the online journals PoetryBay and Fused Society. She has more than a decade of journalism experience and is an editor for Acuris, a global online financial news service. Her articles have appeared in Agence France-PresseFinancial TimesForbes, and HuffPost.







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