National Yiddish Book Center
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Translating Yiddish Literature:
Mobilizing a New Generation

A Working Conference at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA
Saturday, November 12 – Sunday, November 13, 2011

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The Yiddish Book Center and the Fund for Translation of Jewish Literature are proud to announce a working conference entitled, “Translating Yiddish Literature: Mobilizing a New Generation.” The event will take place at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA on Saturday evening, November 12, and Sunday, November 13, 2011. Established and aspiring translators, publishers, students and scholars are invited to attend.

This conference comes at a moment of great urgency and promise. Less than two percent of Yiddish literature has been translated to date, and despite recent efforts (such as the New Yiddish Library), at the current rate it will be another 25,000 years before all Yiddish titles are accessible to English readers.

The goal of the conference, therefore, is to spark a concerted, all-out effort to translate the best of Yiddish literature into English. Panel discussions will explore a number of practical issues: 

  • What works should be translated? 
  • How can we make use of new media and online publishing?  
  • How do we train a new generation, and what resources do they need to succeed?

The conference will begin with dinner and an opening session after Shabbos on Saturday evening, and conclude by 3 PM Sunday. A complete schedule and list of panelists follows.

The subsidized fee for the conference, including kosher dinner and lunch at the Center, is $25 per person. We’ve arranged for discounts at local hotels. (You’ll need to make your own reservations.) Please direct inquiries to

Space is limited, so we suggest you register early. The deadline for registration is October 10.

Register Now 



5:45 - 7:00 PM

Registration and buffet dinner

7:00 - 7:15 PM

Welcoming remarks by Aaron Lansky, Founder and President of the Yiddish Book Center

7:15 - 8:00 PM

Keynote address, Lawrence Rosenwald, Wellesley College

8:15 - 9:30 PM

25,000 Titles to Go: The Current State of Yiddish Translation

  • Anita Norich, University of Michigan
  • Zachary Baker, Stanford University
9:00 - 10:30 AM

New Media, New Readers: Publication in the Digital Age

  • Chair: Ilan Stavans, Amherst College
  • Susan Harris, Words without Borders
  • Joshua Lambert, New York University, Tablet
10:45 - 12:15 PM

What Do New Yiddish Translators Need to Succeed?

  • Chair: Justin Cammy, Smith College
  • Rebecca Margolis, University of Ottawa
  • Barbara Harshav, Yale University; President, American Literary Translators Association
  • Solon Beinfeld, Washington University (ret.); editor-in-chief, Boston-Medem Yiddish-English Dictionary
12:30 - 1:30 PM


1:30 - 2:30 PM

Group Discussion: Next Steps

2:30 - 3:00 PM

Closing remarks / Plan of Action


Yiddish Book Center
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building · 1021 West Street · Amherst, MA 01002
Phone: 413-256-4900 · Fax: 413-256-4700

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