About

About

There is no land for two bodies in one, no exile for exile

in these small rooms, and exit is entry:

We sing between two chasms in vain…we should depart and clarify the path

—Mahmoud Darwish (translated by Fady Joudah)

لا أرضَ للجسدينِ في جسدٍ، ولا منفىً لمنفى

في هذه الغرفِ الصغيرةِ، والخروجُ هو الدخولُ

عبثاً نُغنّي بين هاويتينِ، فلنرحلْ...ليتضحٓ السبيلُ

MISSION

The Center for the Art of Translation champions literary translation.

We are dedicated to finding dazzling new, overlooked, and underrepresented voices, brought into English by the best translators, and to celebrating the art of translation. Our publications, events, and educational programming enrich the library of vital literary works, nurture and promote the work of translators, build audiences for literature in translation, and honor the incredible linguistic and cultural diversity of our schools and our world.

HISTORY

The Center for the Art of Translation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, was founded in 2000 by Olivia Sears, an Italian translator and editor who serves as the Center’s board president. In 1993, prior to forming the Center, Sears helped to establish the literary translation journal Two Lines: World Writing in Translation at a time when there were very few venues for translated literature in English, and those handful rarely paid much attention to the translator beyond a brief acknowledgment. Two Lines set out to challenge that trend—to make international literature more accessible to English-speaking audiences, to champion the unsung work of translators, and to create a forum for translators to discuss their craft. In this way, Two Lines serves as the Center’s cornerstone, and the journal’s spirit radiates through all of the Center’s work today.

Our Programs

  • Two Lines Press is an award-winning press committed to publishing outstanding literature in translation.

    With the rich publication history of Two Lines serving as its foundation, Two Lines Press specializes in exceptional new writing and overlooked classics that have not previously been translated into English. With books such as Naja Marie Aidt’s Baboon (translated by Denise Newman), which won the 2015 PEN Translation Prize, and Marie NDiaye’s Self-Portrait in Green (translated by Jordan Stump), which won the 2015 CLMP Firecracker Award, Two Lines Press seeks to publish daring and original voices in striking editions.

    The biannual journal Two Lines amplifies the aims of the press by capturing the most exciting work being done today by the world’s best translators—and by forging a space to celebrate the art of translation. Within our pages you’ll find work by writers such as Yuri Herrera, Kim Hyesoon, Christos Ikonomou, Rabee Jaber, Emmanuel Moses, Anne Parian, Chika Sagawa, Enrique Vila-Matas, and Jan Wagner—in translations by Lisa Dillman, Don Mee Choi, Karen Emmerich, Kareem Abu-Zeid, Marilyn Hacker, Emma Ramadan, Sawako Nakayasu, Margaret Jull Costa, and David Keplinger, respectively. You’ll also encounter arresting insights on language, literature, and translation from the point of view of writers such as Lydia Davis, Johannes Göransson, Wayne Miller, and Jeffrey Yang.

    Two Lines Press

  • The Two Voices event series hosts international writers and translators for original and provocative conversations about literature and language.

    Recent events include Yoshimasu Gozo in conversation with Forrest Gander, Best Translated Book Award-Winner Yuri Herrera in conversation with Daniel Alarcón, Eka Kurniawan in conversation with Annie Tucker, Horacio Castellanos Moya in conversation Katherine Silver, and Malena Mörling in conversation with Pulitzer Prize-Winner and former Poet Laureate Robert Hass.

    For our salon series we speak with superior translators, many of whom join us via Skype from far beyond the Bay Area, about their work. Recent conversations have featured Chris Andrews on César Aira, Bela Shayevich on Nobel Prize-Winner Svetlana Alexievich, Ottilie Mulzet on International Man Booker Prize-Winner László Krasznahorkai, Ann Goldstein and Michael Reynolds on the ineffable Elena Ferrante, and Valerie Miles on Enrique Vila-Matas.

    Whenever possible, we offer post-event audio online.

    Two Voices

  • Poetry Inside Out is a collaborative language arts curriculum that celebrates classroom diversity, builds literacy skills, improves critical thinking, and unlocks creativity by teaching students to translate great poetry from around the world.

    As a cross-cultural literacy program, Poetry Inside Out embraces—and relies upon—cultural and linguistic differences in classrooms in schools. It is also a world literature program that treats great poets as teachers and their work as models.

    Students who participate in Poetry Inside Out come to understand how close reading heightens comprehension, precise writing enhances communication, and attentive listening builds new knowledge. By practicing the art of translation, students become familiar with the building blocks of language and the full range of expression available to them as readers, writers, speakers, poets, thinkers, and world citizens. Student translations reflect profound responses to language, society, and one another’s personal experiences.

    Poetry Inside Out