A Master Class with Michael Emmerich

English-language translators of Japanese literature based in NYC (or able and willing to travel) will be seriously in luck next week: The British Centre for Literary Translation is hosting a free-of-charge one-day workshop with the wonderful Michael Emmerich (translator of Kawabata Yasunari, Yoshimoto Banana, Takahashi Gen’ichirō, Akasaka Mari, Yamada Taichi, Matsuura Rieko, and Kawakami Hiromi) and editor Elmer Luke, who has an impressive resume as (among other things) an editor of literary translations from the Japanese. The two will come together to spend a long day (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) on Friday, May 3 with workshop participants at the Center for Fiction in NYC. The workshop’s impressive price point (free) is made possible by a grant from the Nippon Foundation.

Here’s the workshop description:

This day-long masterclass will be structured around close work on texts sent in advance to participants. Discussion will centre on the differences in approach evident in variant translations of the same texts. Participants should have a good working knowledge of Japanese, as well as some experience in literary translation, and will be invited to prepare their own translations of some of the texts under discussion. This masterclass will also focus on the next stage of translation – editing the English text. As Michael Emmerich puts it, participants will explore “what happens when the translator begins to detach the English text from the Japanese text, to look at the English text as an English text that has to go out and live its own life.”

If you would like to participate, you must apply ASAP: the closing date for applications is Friday, April 26. To apply, send a note to Sarah Bower (click here for e-mail) outlining your literary translation experience and explaining why you would like to attend, and attaching your CV. BCLT writes, “We recommend you make your application early as places are limited, and we will be asking successful applicants to prepare some brief translations for discussion during the class. Participants will be sent the texts for translation in advance, to be completed by 29th April.” As you see, you’ll need to get your applications in ASAP, which probably means today. Happy applying, and I hope you’ll have the chance to participate in this excellent workshop!

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