Online | Translation | Fiction | Workshop

6-Week Intermediate-Advanced Translation Workshop: Japanese Literary Translation

Welcome to Japanese Literary Translation, an intermediate-advanced workshop where we will consider some of the more complex issues that come up when translating Japanese language literary texts into English.

This workshop is for those who have some prior experience in translating Japanese literary texts into English, and feel ready to tackle a substantial project of their own choosing. All students will receive detailed feedback on their project from both the instructor and their peers, as well as basic guidance and advice on how to pitch their project to publishers.

The problems we'll look at together in this workshop will require a high degree of cultural and linguistic nuance to solve—including ethical dilemmas we might confront as translators, issues of localization, or how to handle issues such as footnotes and italics. We'll also consider larger issues, such as how to choose projects that both align with our vision as translators but are also (hopefully) commercially viable; how to carve out a 'niche' for ourselves as a translator; and other topics frequently debated among professional translators.

You'll leave the course with a toolbox of solutions to handle some of the more thorny issues that can arise when translating Japanese language literary texts into English. You'll also leave with a substantial, polished draft of a project that you feel excited to continue working on, as well as concrete ideas on how and where to pitch them for publication.

If you are new to translating literary work from Japanese to English, please check out our introductory workshop, also taught by Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda, here.

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.

Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.  

COURSE TAKEAWAYS:

- Greater familiarity with the craft of literary translation, particularly in solving translation problems that require a high degree of sensitivity and nuance

- Substantial, personalized feedback (written and verbal) from peers and instructor on a translation project

- Personalized guidance on how to pitch a project to publishers

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes

COURSE EXPECTATIONS:

Students should expect to read about 5-10 pages of assigned reading material outside of class each week, and be ready to discuss the readings at the next session. They will also work on short in-class translation exercises each week with their peers. Finally, they will choose one project at the beginning of the course and work toward a polished draft that they will submit to the class at the end of the six weeks for workshop and feedback from the instructor.

COURSE SKELETON:

Day One

Class Introduction

"Short Talk" on How to Choose a Project

In-Class Exercise

Day Two

"Short Talk" on Translation Dilemma

In-Class Exercise

Workshop

Day Three

"Short Talk" on Translation Dilemma

In-Class Exercise

Workshop

Day Four

"Short Talk" on Translation Dilemma

In-Class Exercise

Workshop

Day Five

"Short Talk" on Translation Dilemma

In-Class Exercise

Workshop

Day Six

"Short Talk" on Pitching and Publishing

Workshop

Class Conclusion

Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda

Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda is a writer and translator from Japanese. Born in Tokyo, raised in Texas, she holds degrees from Wesleyan University and UC Berkeley. She is a two-time graduate of the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) Workshop, as well as a member of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) BIPOC Caucus. She is currently translating writing by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Minako Oba, Yuko Tsushima, and Yoko Tawada, and that work is forthcoming from New Directions, Strangers Press and Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG) in 2024-2025.

Testimonials

"The translation workshop that Lisa organized was a really special space. It felt so welcoming and ready to meet people where they were in their translation journeys, regardless of where that was. I particularly loved that we got to spend a large chunk of time in breakout rooms getting to know other participants and hear their perspectives. Also, I really appreciate that she sent out so many resources and ways for people to stay connected. This was such a great experience, and it really stood in contrast to other workshops without a focus on heritage translators and translators of color."

former student

"I loved working on the translations as a group, learning from other translators' solutions, being in a welcoming environment, and learning that there are other people in the world that perceive the world in a way that is similar to me."

former student