The Yiddish Book Center announces recipients of the 1st annual Yiddish Book Center Translation Grant

PRESS RELEASE - For Immediate Release
Date: August 2, 2011
Contact: Lisa Newman 413-256-4900 ext. 114

Amherst, MA - The Yiddish Book Center has announced the winners of their 1st Annual Translation Grant. The recipients of this year’s grants are Shulamis Lynn Dion and Ben Sadock.

The Translation Grant Program, a new initiative to encourage and support Yiddish translation, was launched in March 2011. Applicants submitted proposals for previously untranslated works in a range of genres including short stories, novels, poetry, memoir, and literary criticism. The submissions were judged by Justin Cammy, professor of modern Jewish literature at Smith College, and Catherine Madsen, bibliographer at the Yiddish Book Center.

Shulamis Lynn Dion
of City College New York will translate selected essays of Yiddish poet and memoirist Yankev Glatshteyn. Dion will be translating literary essays from Glatshteyn’s collection In tokh genumen (Sum and Substance) and lighter cultural essays from In der velt mit Yidish (In the World with Yiddish). Dion points out that “Glatshteyn’s poetry and prose memoir works have received a great deal of attention from translators, in multiple versions, for many years. His critical and cultural essays remain virtually untouched.”

Ben Sadock of New York City will translate Isaac Meir Dik’s novella Der melamed (The Schoolteacher). Dik was the best selling Yiddish writer of the nineteenth century, but is virtually untranslated and thus almost unknown to English readers. His popular moral tales used humor and satire to bring shtetl readers a unique mix of tradition and enlightenment.

The Yiddish Book Center will publish the translations in a future issue of its magazine, Pakn Treger.

According to Aaron Lansky, president and founder of the Yiddish Book Center, “less than 2% of Yiddish titles have been translated into English. Most of Yiddish literature is still inaccessible to English readers. The only answer is to train and mobilize a new generation of translators.” The Yiddish Book Center has undertaken several translation initiatives, including the translation grant program, a translation conference (November 12 - 13, 2011), translation workshops, and new Web translation resources.

The Yiddish Book Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing and distributing Yiddish books and opening their contents to the world. Its headquarters in Amherst, MA, houses exhibitions about Jewish literature, art, film, and music, and other resources for visitors.


Lisa Newman August 1, 2011