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Spring 2023 Newsletter

Hello all, and welcome to our first issue of the not-so-new year. 

We're pleased to report that our society is thriving, and we owe it all to you! Membership has increased exponentially in the last few months—thanks in no small part to our new on-demand and for-credit webshop offerings. 

Both live and on demand, we've got a lot of great stuff coming your way in the next few months (scroll down). For now, mark your calendars for our Summer Picnic, on Sunday, 13 August, and our Annual International Translation Day Event (a one-day conference), on Saturday, 30 September. 

In this issue, you'll find:

  • Snapshots from the Northwest Literary Translators at this year's AWP Book Fair
  • An Ethics Panel: New on the NOTIS website!
  • Common T&I myths (submitted by NOTIS members and peers)
  • A poem by Joseph Brodsky, translated by Larissa Kulinich
  • Lately on the NW Linguist blog... 
  • Upcoming NOTIS events
  • And more...

In early March, NOTIS's Northwest Literary Translators group, alongside ALTA, put literary translation front and center at AWP's Annual Conference & Bookfair: "the nation’s largest marketplace for independent literary presses & journals, creative writing programs, writing conferences & centers, and literary arts organizations" (AWP)

This year's conference took place at the new Convention Center in Seattle, and, according to an article in the Seattle Times, drew "roughtly 9000 visitors" from in and out of state to this "book bonanza," this "Woodstock for writers." 

At the book fair, the NW Literary Translators talked up translation and signed copies of some of our recent translations. Dozens of covention-goers stopped by to ask about NOTIS and translation in general, and we suspect some of them may soon become NOTIS's newest members. We also hosted an off-site Translators Party, complete with readings of our literature in translation, delicious food, mixing, mingling, and even a song or two. A big thanks to our party co-sponsors: Seattle City of Literature and the Translation Studies Hub at the UW's Simpson Center.  

New on the NOTIS website:
Ethics Panel for Interpreters

NOTIS is excited to announce the creation of an Ethics Panel! Made up of subject-matter experts who are also working interpreters, this is an authoritative resource for anyone who has an ethical question related to the field. Whether you are a working community, medical, or court interpreter; an administrator, attorney, or agency — or anyone else who works with interpreters and translators — we welcome your conundrums.

Simply email your question to ethics@notisnet.org and you will receive an answer in writing. Responses will be sent directly to your email and then posted anonymously to a knowledge base at notisnet.org/Ethics-Panel for future reference (see page preview above). Response times will depend on the research needed to draft an answer.

Recently, on Facebook, we asked: "What's a common myth about translation/interpretation that makes you laugh?" The response was overwhelming. Here are some favorites

  • That we make tons of money...
  • That you can always translate word-for-word and the meaning will be preserved.
  • That "any bilingual" can do it 
  • The rush deadline: When the client just doesn't understand that poor planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on mine.
  • That we should interpret what the witness meant to say instead of what they did say...
  • That we're live-version dictionaries and never need to consult anything or hesitate at all. 
    • "I saw you cheating, looking up a word in Google."
  • You need a language services provider agency to succeed in this industry. You don't. You just need to be your hard-working, resilient, and disciplined self! 
  • That AI will erase us from the map... 
  • That you can interpret/translate correctly what you don’t understand and never need to prepare or look anything up — especially when dealing with ever-so-common subjects such as aeronautics, cellular technology, & so on.
  • That translating poetry is impossible...
Join our members-only FB group & connect with peers


Past jousting grounds and churches,

Past temples and bars,

Past opulent graveyards,

Past huge bazaars,

Past peace and grief,

Past Mecca and Rome,

Scorched by the sun,

Pilgrims are treading along.

They are maimed, with hunched backs,

They are hungry, half-covered by rags.

Their eyes are full of sunset.

Their hearts are full of sunrise.

Behind them, it’s the singing deserts that they hear,

And summer lights are flashing near.

Above them, the twinkling stars are playing,

And birds their message are conveying:

The world will remain unchanged –

Snowy in its splendor,

And dubiously tender.

The world will continue to lie,

Yet the world will never die,

It may be possible to understand,

But it’s impossible to see its end.

Which means man’s faith in himself and God

May not be worth a whole lot.

Which means it’s the illusion and the road that are left.

The sun will keep rising,

The sun will keep setting.

It’s a soldier’s lot to keep the earth a fertile space.

It’s a poet’s lot to make the earth a kinder place.

INTERTEXT by Larissa Kulinich

Joseph Brodsky, born in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) in 1940, was a Russian and American poet and essayist. He ran afoul of Soviet authorities and was “strongly advised” to emigrate from the Soviet Union in 1972. In 1987, Brodsky was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for "an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity.” He was appointed United States Poet Laureate in 1991, and he died in 1996.

Why this poem? Why now?  I translated a number of Brodsky's poems from Russian into English about 10-15 years ago at the request of my friend Sergei Zrazhevsky, who put those poems to music. I have chosen this particular poem for publication because it resonates with my sentiments concerning the current world situation. 


Larissa Kulinich holds a Ph.D. in English Philology with a background in teaching English at the University level. She is an ATA-Certified English - Russian translator and a WA State Court-Certified interpreter. Writing and translating poetry are a couple of her passions.

Larissa thanks Laura Friend for her help editing this translation. 

Visit our full events calendar

Lately on the NW Linguist Blog 📓

We’ve been busy blogging. Click the link below to catch up:

  • Warm Welcomes: Tim Gregory & Howard Chou join the Board
  • Fond Farewells to Zakiya Hanafi, Tarja Sahlstén, & Pinar Mertan
  • Changes to DSHS Medical Interpreter Certification

Read our latest blog posts at notisnet.org/Blog

Want to be published in a NOTIS blog or newsletter? We accept a wide variety of content — articles, anecdotes, comics, translations, recipes, miscellaneous announcements, etc. — on a rolling basis. 

To submit or inquire, contact our publications team today at social@notisnet.org 

Also of Note ✏️ 🗒️

This is where we publish your news or news you think will be of interest to your peers. Send us your calls for submissions/proposals;  your recent publications;  your upcoming events ➡️  social@notisnet.org

  • #ATA64, the American Translators Association's 64th Annual Conference, will take place October 25-28 in Miami, Florida. Click here for details.
  • There will also be an ATA Virtual Conference  Translating and Interpreting the Future: Empowering Professionals to Innovate and Thrive — on May 20 from 11am-5:30pm ET. More on their website
  • Free webinars for translators and interpreters — every second Wednesday — offered by Cross Cultural Communications & Blue Horizon. Info and registration for upcoming sessions here
  • Turkoslavia, a Translation Journal, is accepting submissions of prose and poetry translations from Turkic and Slavic languages through June 1. Submission info and links here
  • Kudos to NWxNE Lit Trans alum, Dr. Katie King, on the release of her translation of Someone Speaks Your Name by renowned Spanish author Luis García Montero. Get your copy today!
  • In-person event: NW literary translator Mia Spangenberg will be reading from and discussing her translation of Pirkko Saisio’s The Red Book of Farewells Thursday, May 4 at Third Place Books Ravenna at 7pm. Click here to register for this free event. 
  • Online event: same as above (Mia, Pirkko, reading and discussing, free), but online and hosted by Pilsen Community Books on April 25 at 5pm PST. Register here
  • Congrats to NW translator Zakiya Hanafi on her latest translation of political philosophy: The Livable and the Unlivable, by Judith Butler and Frédéric Worms. Published by Fordham University Press. Available here. 
  • The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is accepting submissions for the 5 major literary translation prizes through April 17. Visit their Submittable page to see what's what!


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