Online | Translation | Seminar

1-Day Online Translating Seminar: Getting Started as a Translator

This seminar is geared toward writers with little or no experience translating foreign-language literature into English, but would like to try or are just curious about translation in general. Students should have a basic or working knowledge of another language, but they definitely need not be fluent or even comfortable speakers.

In this intensive, students will get a sense of different approaches and theories around translation by comparing multiple translations of the same work. We’ll discuss the contemporary translation landscape in the US and how you can contribute to it; students also gain tips and resources on the practice of translation itself, and do an in-class translation exercise.

Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.


- Develop a complex understanding of what it means to translate

- Familiarize yourself with the debates around translation

- Gain tools and resources to begin translating on your own

- Feel encouraged and excited to continue translating after this class

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Students should be prepared to:

- Practice translation in-class & discuss the experience as a class

- Read and analyze translations in-class

- Engage in open conversations about your experiences with and perceptions around translation 


1:30–1:50 p.m. ET: Introductions; share which languages you want to translate from and why you are interested in translation

1:50–2:05 p.m. ET: Define “translation”

2:05–2:25 p.m. ET: The statistics, reputation, and influence of translation in the United States

2:25–2:30 p.m. ET: BREAK

2:30–2:55 p.m. ET: Read and discuss different translated versions of a work of literature

2:55–3:15 p.m. ET: Tips for translating

3:15–3:25 p.m. ET: BREAK

3:25–3:50 p.m. ET: In-class translation exercise

3:50–4:10 p.m. ET: Discussion

4:10–4:30 p.m. ET: Revisit definitions of “translation” and discuss next steps as a translator

Elisa Wouk Almino

Elisa Wouk Almino is a writer, editor, and literary translator from Portuguese. Currently the L.A. senior editor at Hyperallergic and editor of Harlequin creature's online translation platform, her writing and translations have appeared in Guernica, Paris Review Daily, The Millions, The Nation, Hyperallergic, and Words Without Borders, where she was formerly the book reviews editor. She has published Ana Martins Marques' translated poetry in the book This House, which Elisa also illustrated. She is the editor of a monograph on the artist Alice Trumbull Mason (forthcoming Spring 2020). 


"I absolutely loved Elisa's teaching style—she was professional, warm, approachable, informative, and helpful. Her syllabus and assigned readings were so thoughtful and really gave me a new insight into the field of translation. She goes above and beyond and I saw that she was totally invested in our progress and the class. I completely recommend her as a teacher and would love to work closely with her in the future."

former student

"I truly cannot say enough about Elisa as an editor. I am a freelance writer and work with many different editors at many different publications, and always feel that Elisa brings an exceptionally sharp mind and thoughtful perspective to my work. I trust her absolutely, and find that she has the dual ability to edit for content and tone, as well as grammar and the ever-needed typo-check! I am tremendously grateful to her for always strengthening my writing, and communicating about our shared work in a prompt, professional, conscientious, and positive way. She will be an asset to ANY organization. "

Sarah Rose Sharp freelance writer

"Elisa has been my editor for the past three years at Hyperallergic. Thanks to her guidance, my writing has remarkably improved. She excels at explaining the nuances of techniques in an approachable yet intelligible way, and because of her guidance I can now happily report that I am a staff writer there."

Zachary Small staff writer at Hyperallergic

"Elisa Wouk Almino was my first editor when I started freelancing at Hyperallergic three years ago, and I immediately enjoyed working with her. She approaches each piece with criticality and candor, and having her edit a piece is always an approachable lesson in strengthening and streamlining my writing. She also treats editing as a collaborative process, seeking real input from her writers, which in my experience is quite rare. It's something many editors don't seem to have the time or desire to do, and Elisa does it with care."

Monica Uszerowicz Hyperallergic contributor

"THIS HOUSE is a remarkable selection of work by Ana Martins Marques, tracking the day and the night, the light and the dark, in ways I feel a profound sympathy with. The excellent translations by Elisa Wouk Almino are a further offering to us, wonderful renditions."

Michael Palmer poet

"Faucet, fruit bowl, lantern, and clothesline undergo a reexamination in this colorful selection of poems from Brazilian author Ana Martins Marques’s three previous books. Brightened by intermittent illustrations, these poems invite readers into their own world. THIS HOUSE is a book driven by translation, personal in English and Portuguese alike and ready to take on new hues with each reading."

World Literature Today