LAJSA 2023: Translators Have More Fun!

The Latin American Jewish Studies Association serves as a network for scholars who are working on related themes but who are geographically distant from one another. I was honored to be asked to join a panel on challenges facing Jewish works from Latin America at this year’s conference of international scholars, which took place at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA at the beautiful and commodious Mandel Center for the Humanities.’

I had the honor of participating in a roundtable (“Translating Jewish-Latin American Texts: Issues and Practices”) with some truly extraordinary scholars and translators, including Darrell Lockhart (Univ. of Nevada, Reno), Suzanne Jill Levine (Univ. of California, Santa Barbara), Stephen Sadow (Northeastern Univ.),  Annette Prekker Levine (Ithaca College), and my fellow Angelina Muñiz-Huberman translator, Rebecca Marquis (Gonzaga Univ.). As often happens in such settings, I was the only “independent scholar” there, encouraged by my dear Daniel Simon, editor of World Literature in Translation, who is enthused about my translation of Muñiz-Huberman’s Arrhythmias (Literal Publishing & Hablemos, escritoras, 2022). Dan was good enough to publish a review of Arrhythmias by the fabulous Misha Klein (Univ. of Oklahoma), also a LAJSA member in attendance.

At some point, the video documentation of the conference will be available and I’ll share our panel with you. It was definitely the event with the most laughs, which only goes to prove my theory that translators have more fun—and we especially have fun when we get together. Probably the ALTA conference in Tucson this year, my first in-person, is going to be…an explosion. 

Of all the fascinating sessions I attended and conversations I had, I cannot choose a favorite, although listening to Steve Sadow belt out Oye cómo va was certainly memorable, as were my long and welcome chats with Jill Levine, a woman who has been translating world-famous authors since the Latin Boom and is currently writing her memoir, A Life in Translation, which I cannot wait to read. At last, I met the amazing Nora Glickman (CUNY), who in my opinion looks like a movie star and who has been very supportive of my work. It was also great to meet LAJSA’s incoming President who, as it turns out, is also a customer at my mother’s bookstore in Rosemont PA, Ariana Huberman (Haverford College).

Lo pasé de maravilla. Adank, mis nuevos amigos.

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