Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellowship: FAQ

What level of Yiddish is required for the fellowship?
Prospective candidates should possess at least a high intermediate command of Yiddish before applying to this program and should be able to read Yiddish literary texts in the original. While fellows may explore the nuances of Yiddish language, literature, and stylistics through their translation projects, no formal language instruction is provided. Rather, the program emphasizes the learning and development of skills and techniques related to creative writing and the art of literary translation.

What sort of project should I propose for this fellowship?
Prospective fellows should select a book-length work to translate with which they are deeply familiar and in which they have a passionate interest. Works can be from any literary genre, including prose, poetry, and drama. In a limited number of cases, other kinds of works of historical or cultural interest may also be considered if they are of significant literary merit.

I don’t have a graduate degree. Am I still eligible to apply?
Yes. While many (but not all) of our fellows have been graduate students or PhDs in Yiddish or related fields, we strongly encourage applicants from any background, age group, or profession as long as they meet the basic eligibility requirements. Fellows are selected based on the strength of their applications and their promise and talent in literary translation. You can find the full application here.

I was not selected for a fellowship in a previous year. May I apply again?
Yes. Due to the highly competitive nature of the program and the large number of applications we receive, we are unfortunately unable to accept every qualified candidate in a given year. We thus strongly encourage past candidates to reapply. Re-applicants require one new recommendation letter when submitting a new application.

I would like to apply for a fellowship together with another translator. Is this possible?
We welcome applications from pairs of translators who would like to work on a fellowship project together. Please contact us directly for revised application requirements in this case.

I keep Shabbos. Will I be able to participate in the Workshops-in-Residence at the Center?
Yes, the two-day Workshops-in-Residence at the Center are held on three Sunday-Mondays over the course of the fellowship year. Kosher food is also provided for all meals at the Center.

What is the schedule for the fellowship year?
The application season for the 2019 Translation Fellowship Program will begin in mid-September of 2018. The deadline to submit applications is November 14th. Fellows will be notified in January and the program begins soon thereafter. The three Workshops-in-Residence occur at regular intervals in the spring, summer, and winter of the fellowship year, scheduled for March 3-4th, July 7-8th, and November 3rd-4th. Final manuscripts will be due in March 2020.

I am translating to/from a language that is neither Yiddish nor English. Or, I am translating from English into Yiddish. Am I eligible for this program?
At present, the program only supports translators working from Yiddish into English.