The Circle’s annual business meeting occurred virtually on January 26, 2022. Twenty-five members were in attendance. This was an opportunity to look back at the achievements of the prior year, discuss the Board’s plans for 2022 and to take questions and suggestions from our members.

Milena Savova, in her final year as Circle President, opened the meeting with an introduction of the current Board: Marcel Votlucka, Vice President; Matt Goldstein, Secretary; Alexia Klein, the incoming Program Director; and Sepideh Moussavi, Treasurer. Natalia Postrigan, our administrator, was also acknowledged for her pivotal role in the running of the organization, particularly as regards membership.

Looking back on 2021, Milena mentioned the Circle’s success in maintaining regular monthly meetings with extraordinary speakers in the midst of the pandemic. Two in-person meetings were also held at our new meeting venue at Hunter College. While in 2020 the annual central park summer picnic did not occur, in 2021 it took place with the Circle covering the expenses of the event. The December in person holiday event also was held successfully in December 2021 with over 30 people in attendance. Other important events included the redevelopment of the website and the increase in corporate memberships during the year.

Serene Su, the outgoing Program Director, reported on her two-year tenure in the position. Some of her outstanding achievements include her ability to attract prominent speakers from around the globe for our monthly meetings. The on-line nature of most of the meetings also helped to attract attendees from outside the tri-state area, many of whom then became members. The fact that Serene was able to achieve all this in the face of some serious personal challenges that she faced during the year was indeed remarkable. Milena acknowledged how Serene’s significant contributions to the Circle during her tenure had gone far beyond the call of duty.

Matt reported on his work to redevelop the website which now has much improved functionality for meeting announcements and payment of membership dues. He also reminded both new and old members to update their profiles on the site so as to increase their searchability. Matt also assisted Serene in the planning of the summer picnic which made use of his background in event planning.

Sepideh Moussavi then reported on the Circle’s financial condition. During 2021 progress was made on cutting expenses, including the cancellation of QuickBooks which had not been used for some time. The Circle has a substantial balance in its checking and savings accounts as well as a healthy amount in the CD that represents the proceeds of the Charles Stern bequest. Under the terms of the bequest, those funds are  earmarked to help to fund the professional development expenses of emerging translators. Due to the lack of onsite translation conferences during the pandemic, the funds have not been recently utilized but as Covid recedes it is expected that appropriate expenditures will be made from the fund.

Marcel spoke of the Circle’s initiative in January and February 2021 to contact U.S. senators about proposed legislation that would impact the status of language professionals as employees rather than sole proprietors and individual providers. The ATA has been active in that effort as well. He also reminded members that there is a social media page on the website. The Circle would like to find a member willing to take responsibility for increasing the organization’s visibility on social media outlets such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

Alexia Klein-Goldberg, the incoming Program Director and former Secretary of the Circle, spoke of her ideas for monthly meetings in 2022 which included tax planning, marketing, localization, technology and preparation for ATA certification exams. Member Jeffrey Tao also suggested copyright rules as a potential topic for a meeting. Happy hour events outside of the monthly meeting schedule could be reinstituted once the pandemic subsides. The possibility of combined online/in person meetings was also discussed but it appears that there are technology challenges at our Hunter venue that need to be addressed in order to proceed in that direction.

Members who belong both to the Circle and to the ATA were encouraged to check the box pertaining to rebates to local chapters when renewing their ATA memberships as that increases the flow of funds into the Circle’s coffers.

I, your Gotham editor, would like to remind members that I am always looking for original articles on translation and interpretation written by you for eventual publication in the Gotham. Even rough drafts of some special experience that you might have had in the course of your professional life would be welcome. I am happy to work with authors on the editing of rough drafts to get them ready for publication. Aside from providing interesting reading for our membership, such  articles increase the author’s visibility within the profession, potentially leading to increased business opportunities.

Members are always encouraged to submit any suggestions they might have to any member of the Board for their consideration.


Patricia Stumpp





On January 22, 2022, I attended an online seminar organized by the literary division of the ATA. Two seasoned literary translators, Shelley Fairweather-Vega and Mercedes Guhl, offered the attendees a primer on how to find material for translation, how to get it published and how to get hired as a literary translator. The discussion addressed the following topics:

Public domain texts: The definition of what texts are in the public domain varies from country to country, although a commonly used benchmark is 100 years after the death of the author. These texts present attractive possibilities for translation since the translator doesn’t have to deal with copyright issues or translation rights. However, over the years language and points of view change, which may present a challenge to today’s  translators. Lesser-known works by well-known authors could also be attractive targets for new translations. Digital libraries such as Project Gutenberg may help the translator to unearth hidden gems not yet translated.

New works by contemporary authors: Translators should read extensively in both source and target languages and follow online journals and book reviews which can help identify hot trends in source language literature. Social media platforms like Facebook can be used to contact authors, many of whom are flattered and happy to be contacted by translators for an eventual translation of their works.

Invitation by the author to translate a non-published work: While an offer from the author to translate a non-published work can be a good experience, there is always the possibility that the author will not like the translation. A good course of action may be to translate a sample chapter to see if your styles are compatible. You can ask the author to pay for your sample chapter.

Working with publishing houses: it is not easy to pitch to publishers with a translation project because they generally work only with vetted translators. However, there are possibilities for other kinds of work within publishing houses, such as proofreading, copyediting and writing reports for books. Since these opportunities generally come through agents or personal connections, the best way to uncover them is to make contact with publishers and agents at translation or publishing conferences.  It was also suggested to consider joining a freelance editor’s group in one’s local area.

Self-publishing: in this arena the translator will have to deal with securing the translation rights which are usually held by the author or the publisher. The point was made that book publishing is a team exercise with first drafts subject to corrections by editors and copyeditors. Many translators view editors antagonistically but editing can also improve a translation before it is published. The self-publishing translator could hire an editor or copywriter to review the work before publication.

Other possible venues for publication:

  • Calls for submissions by journals: some will pay, some will not.
  • Non-literary magazines which publish articles by distinguished scholars. The site was mentioned in this context.
  • Small independent publishers are sometimes open to hearing pitches from translators. The best way to have your pitch looked at is if you have developed a personal connection with the press.
  • University presses: could be a good opportunity if the targeted university has a center for cultural studies in the source language. However,  university presses often do not pay.
  • University professors who may have large translation projects and may be looking for translators
  • State-sponsored cultural institutes and embassies in the source language, if they exist in your locale.

The seminar was useful in spotlighting some overlooked areas of potential business but it was obvious from the discussion that the best road to translation publication is by fostering personal relationships with authors, agents and publishers.

Patricia Stumpp