The 6th annual Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference is a week-long conference designed to provide training and community to beginning and experienced translators, as well as those who want to be more sophisticated readers of literary translation or want to incorporate it into the classroom.

Literary translation is the translation of a literary work such as a poem, essay, short story, or novel, out of its original language and into a new language. It is also the creative, complex, and writerly activity of making an equivalent literary text exist in English.

The Translators’ Conference aims to strengthen the visibility and access to high quality literary translations in the United States, and also to acknowledge that translators require the same training and skills as creative writers.

Overview

The conference incorporates the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference model of small, focused, genre-based workshops coupled with lectures and classes on the art of literary translation. Workshops are limited to ten participants so that each manuscript receives individual attention and careful critique. All participants also meet individually with their workshop leader to amplify and refine what was said in the workshop itself.

In addition to the workshops, lectures, classes, and readings, meetings with agents and editors take place during the afternoon. The workshop packet of student translations for the Translation Workshops and packet of readings for the Introductory Workshop are made available in the weeks leading up to the session in order to allow time to read and prepare before arrival.

Participants include translators who want to improve their craft; students who are mastering a foreign language and want to acquire translation skills; teachers interested in bringing the practice of literary translation into their classrooms; and anyone wanting to learn more about and participate in the ever-growing community of literary translators.

The 2020 Session

The 2020 Translators’ Conference will be held from June 10 to June 16 in Ripton, Vermont. Find out more about dates and fees.

Acclaimed and award-winning translators Kareem James Abu-Zeid, Jennifer Croft, Karen Emmerich, Jody Gladding, David Hinton, and Achy Obejas will constitute the faculty during this session. In addition to their literary accomplishments, our faculty has been specifically chosen for their skill at guiding developing translators in a given genre.

Other guests from the publishing, literary, and translating world will offer panels, discussions, or one-on-one meetings with conference participants. Find out more about faculty and guests.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is limited, but thanks to support from the Katharine Bakeless Nason Endowment, the Michael Collier Endowment, and Middlebury College, several $500, $1000, $1500, and $2450 awards will be given. Find out more about financial aid.

Apply

Applications are accepted between November 1 and February 15 until the spaces are filled. Acceptances are made on a rolling basis and applicants are notified approximately four to six weeks after they apply.

Applicants choose to apply to either the Introductory Workshop or the Translation Manuscript Workshop. Applicants can choose to apply as auditors. See Application and Acceptance Information.

What Past Participants Say:

  • “My editor/publishing meetings were very informative and addressed the questions I had. It was great to be able to connect with these publishing industry gurus who are interested in working with translators.”
    Xiaochuan Cao
    Shanghai, China

  • “The lectures, classes, and readings helped build a sense of community with other workshop groups, which in turn made for an excellent overall conference experience. All the lectures were especially useful, no matter what the language and/or topic. The faculty was first rate.”
    Gregory Divers
    St. Louis, MO

  • “The texts about translation were very helpful, and our workshop leader created an atmosphere of trust and camaraderie.  Attending this conference gave me a new big boost for my confidence as a translator.”
    Simone Kraus
    Darmstadt, Germany

  • “Maureen Freely’s experience as both a novelist and literary translator enriched our workshop conversations greatly! She was deft in getting at the core of what mattered in the text submitted by each participant and drawing out broader lessons on literary translation from each example.”
    Janice Jaffe
    Brunswick, ME