Fartaytsht un farbesert: Yiddish in Translation

A collection of interview highlights that illustrate many experiences of translating

Over the past decade, we have interviewed many translators of Yiddish works and many readers of Yiddish literature in translation. With this in mind, we have curated a collection of interview highlights that illustrate many experiences of translating. You’ll hear from the creators of a popular Yiddish comedy web series on writing jokes for Yiddishists, and from Goldie Morgentaler, daughter of writer Chava Rosenfarb, on how translating her mother’s works impacted their relationship. In other highlights, professional translators share their insights on the importance of translation and its central role in preserving memories of Jewish life.

Two Jews, Three Opinions (About Yiddish Grammar)

Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman, co-creators and stars of YidLife Crisis, talk about the complex process of translating their comedy web series into the right kind of Yiddish for their audience and what they have learned about Jewish culture along the way.

Translating Dr. Seuss into Yiddish

Zackary Sholem Berger—doctor by day, Yiddish translator, blogger, and activist by night—recounts how he and his wife came to publish Yiddish translations of Dr. Seuss and the Curious George books.

The Importance of Translation

Vivian Felsen, professional translator and granddaughter of Yiddish writer I. Medres, explains why she believes translation from Yiddish is important and what she fears will be lost if Yiddish works are not translated. She also shares what she thinks are important things to keep in mind when translating from Yiddish into English.

Translating the Shopkeepers of Vilna: Distant, Vibrant Customs in Colloquial Yiddish

Paul Azaroff, Hebrew and Judaic studies teacher and native of New York City, shares why he returned to Yiddish. He highlights what he learned about Eastern European Jewish customs by co-translating a Yiddish novella by Ayzik-Meyer Dik about shopkeepers in Vilna.

Translating my Mother's Work

Goldie Morgentaler, daughter of Yiddish writer Chava Rosenfarb, describes the experience of translating her mother’s works, including the fights that they had about translation and the positive impact that it had on her image of her mother and on their relationship.

Why Preserving Narratives of Jewish Life Matters

Mindle Crystel Gross, native speaker and translator of Yiddish, speaks about the cultural importance of translation in preserving memories of Jewish life in Europe. She also describes the deeply personal process of discovering these narratives through her translation work.