The Yiddish Book Center takes a huge step in advancing Yiddish translation

Noting that an astounding 98% of Yiddish books have yet to be translated into English, and with the goal of creating new opportunities to encourage and facilitate translation, the Yiddish Book Center has announced the launch of the Center's groundbreaking translation website,, a working website for Yiddish translators. 
Commenting on the launch of Taytsh and what he sees for the future of Yiddish translation, Yiddish Book Center Founder and President, Aaron Lansky said, "The good news is that an ever-growing number of younger and non-native Yiddish speakers - both inside and outside the academy - are seeking out training and opportunities to translate Yiddish texts. And advances in technology - particularly with regard to collaborative translation and electronic publishing - have made feasible projects of unprecedented scope and ambition." 
A team of web developers and designers worked with Yiddish Book Center staff to create an interactive, community-enabled website that works to facilitate and encourage the translation of Yiddish literature into English for a new generation of readers. The site includes a "Workshop" that allows registered users to post their works in progress for commentary and annotation from colleagues around the world. In "Words and Phrases" users can debate the nuances of terms and idioms using the site's interactive lexical databases. Also on Taytsh, a "Bibliography" lists existing Yiddish-to-English translations. Users can submit citations to the "Bibliography." Additional features include forums, a news section, and a multitude of resources and tools. 
According to Sebastian Schulman, who heads up the Yiddish Book Center's translation initiatives, "An interactive, online venue like this could bring to light Yiddish literary works we never knew existed. Yiddish literature is truly transnational in scope, dealing with a range of places, characters, and stories. Translation of this literature to date, however, has only just begun to uncover these riches. Taytsh is thus more than just bringing translators together. In creating a resource for translators, we hope to make new discoveries, to tell old stories more deeply, and bring new aspects of the Jewish experience to an English-speaking audience for the first time."
Taytsh, named for the centuries-old practice of bringing liturgical texts into the readable vernacular, is made possible through the generous support of the Righteous Persons Foundation with additional support from the Gold Family Foundation. 
Lisa Newman January 17, 2014