Literary and Professional Translation

KATHERINE E. YOUNG, a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellow, has translated the poetry and prose of numerous Russian and Russophone writers. In addition, Young has lectured on translation, translation theory, women in translation, and ethical translation practice at the Institut Perevoda (Moscow, Russia), the University of Oxford (United Kingdom), at gatherings of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP), the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA), and Split This Rock (2016 and 2018). In 2015 she was named a Hawthornden Fellow (Scotland).

Need a translator? Please scroll down for further information and general rates.

Young’s translations have been read at US and international venues that include Struga Poetry Evenings (Macedonia), the Treci Trg poetry festival (Serbia), the London Book Fair (UK), Pushkin House (London, UK), the American Embassy (Moscow, Russia), Meetings in Siberia International Documentary Film Festival (Novosibirsk, Russia), the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP), the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA), Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Prairie Lights Bookstore (Iowa, US), and KGB Bar (NY, NY), among others. In collaboration with AALWE Studio and Siberian filmmaker Pavel Golovkin, Young has produced two short film versions (in both Russian and English) of the work of Russian poet Inna Kabysh; additional video renderings of Young’s translations of Kabysh’s work were produced by Katherine McNamara for Two Poems (Artist’s Proof Editions). Young is a founding member and former co-director of the DC-Area Literary Translators Network (DC ALT). With DC-ALT members Nancy Naomi Carlson and Suzanne Zweizig, Young guest-edited a special translation issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly featuring translators from the Washington, DC, region.

National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship: Translation of Akram Aylisli

Katherine E. Young was named a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Translation Fellow for Farewell, Aylis, a trilogy of novellas by Akram Aylisli (Azerbaijan) that was published by Academic Studies Press in 2018.

Akram Aylisli in Ailis

Aylisli (b.1937) is an Azerbaijani writer, playwright, novelist, and former magazine editor-in-chief, press director, and member of the Azerbaijani National Assembly. His works have been translated into more than 20 languages. Following the 2012 publication of the second novella of this trilogy, Stone Dreams…Aylisli’s books were burned, his son and wife were fired from their jobs, and he received death threats. In 2014, supporters in Russia, the U.K, the U.S., and elsewhere nominated Aylisli for the Nobel Peace Prize. Aylisli, whose case has been championed by PEN and other international human rights organizations, currently lives under house arrest in Azerbaijan.

— National Endowment for the Arts citation (partial)
Akram Aylisli books burning in Ganja RFL RE photo

Learn more about Young’s work with Akram Aylisli here. See also Young’s “Art Talk” interview at the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Blog here and her essay about this project for Words Without Borders here.

See Katherine Young’s discussion with former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Kauzlarich at the launch of Farewell, Aylis (cosponsored by PEN America and Politics and Prose bookstore) here.

See Akram Aylisli break years of forced silence at a December 2020 event sponsored by Columbia University’s Harriman Institute and Institute for the Study of Human Rights and PEN America here.

Akram Aylisli’s books being burned in Ganja (photo: RFE/RL)

Translation of Anna Starobinets

tnw239-Starobinets-Posmotri-1000-premiya

Katherine E. Young’s translation of Look at Him by Russia’s Anna Starobinets was published by Three String Books in 2020. Journalist, scriptwriter, and novelist Anna Starobinets—often called “Russia’s Stephen King”—is best known for her work in horror and her writing for children. In her groundbreaking memoir Look at Him, Starobinets chronicles the devastating loss of her unborn son to a fatal birth defect. A finalist for the 2018 National Bestseller Prize, Look at Him ignited a firestorm in Russia, prompting both high praise and severe condemnation.

See author Anna Starobinets, translator Katherine E. Young, and scholar Muireann Maguire (University of Exeter, UK) discuss this groundbreaking book at the book release celebration sponsored by Punctured Lines here.

Translations of Russian and Russophone Poets

Many of Katherine E. Young’s translations of Russophone writers, as well as additional material relating to translation, can be found online.

Translations of Xenia Emelyanova

Katherine E. Young’s translations of Russian poet Xenia Emelyanova were longlisted for the 2014 PEN/International New Voices Award and won third prize in the 2014 Joseph Brodsky-Stephen Spender Prize competition. Of Young’s translations, the 2014 Brodsky-Spender judges wrote:

KEY and Xenia Emelyanova Moscow 2014

Xenia Emelyanova’s ‘Spring rain beats on broken branches’ was a clear and sinuous rendering of the Russian – no radical refashioning, but a good sense of how to cleave close to the Russian without compromising an English poetic line…. Inna Kabysh’s poem ‘If the Train’s Already Gone’ was rendered into English by Katherine Young with a dynamic and compelling rhythm and forward motion, which nicely countered the sentiment of the poem: ‘If the train’s already gone, we must somehow live / at the station: in the toilet, snackbar, under the dusty / ficus, the ticket window’.

— Sasha Dugdale

Katherine Young’s translation of ‘Spring rain beats on broken branches’ by Xenia Emelyanova is a quiet unshowy poem that simply couldn’t be left behind. Its cadence has both a forlorn heartbeat and a freedom like birdsong. The sad eye takes me with it and the voice records what’s left, too grave to be asked questions.

— Glyn Maxwell

Additional translations of poems by Xenia Emelyanova appear in AsymptoteWaxwing, From the Fishouse, National Translation Month, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, Words Without Borders, and Fish: Five Fishouse Translators.

Translations of Inna Kabysh

KY and IK, cropped

Katherine E. Young’s translations of poems by Inna Kabysh won third prize in the 2011 Joseph Brodsky-Stephen Spender Prize competition and were commended by the judges of the 2012 Brodsky-Spender Prize. Additional translations have been published in Atlanta ReviewBlue Lyra Review, Exchanges, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Loch Raven Review, Matter, The Notre Dame Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Subtropics, Trafika Europe, and Tupelo Quarterly.

Blue Birds and Red Horses, a chapbook of poems translated from Inna Kabysh’s acclaimed Detsky mir, is available from Toad Press. Two Poems, a dual-language iPad edition of Kabysh’s poetry that includes text, audio, and video is available from Artist’s Proof Editions on iTunes. In 2016 a full-length collection of Kabysh’s poetry, Cat and Mouse, was named a finalist for the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation.

With Inna Kabysh in 2014

Translations of Tatiana Daniliyants, Lyudmyla Khersonska, Iya Kiva, Vladimir Kornilov, and more

Katherine E. Young’s translations of poems by Tatiana Daniliyants have been published in FaultlineThe Notre Dame ReviewTreci Trg (Serbia), Tupelo Quarterly, and The White Review. Translations of Lyudmyla Khersonska appear in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poem (UK), Poetry International, Tupelo Quarterly, Words Without Borders, and Words for War: New Poems from Ukraine (Academic Studies Press, 2017). Translations of poems by Iya Kiva appear in Asymptote. Translations of poems by Vladimir Kornilov appear in Innisfree Poetry Journal, Translation Review, and The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Penguin Classics, 2015). Translations of 19 individual poems about Moscow (by Lermontov, Pavlova, Fet, Blok, Pasternak, Parnok, Tsvetaeva, Kabysh, Ermakova, and more) appear in 100 стихотворений о Москве. Антология (100 Poems about Moscow: an Anthology, OGI, 2017), winner of the 2017 Books of Russia award in Poetry.

A co-translation (with Olga Livshin) of Vladimir Druk’s “i go to the movies” appears at Anomaly (Anomalous Press).

Young has also translated the subtitles for two Russian documentary films: Dark Sky, White Clouds (2014) and Heritage: A Step into the Future (2016).

With Tatiana Daniliyants in 2014

Katherine Young on the Practice of Translation

TBR: Look at Him by Anna Starobinets. Translated from the Russian by Katherine E. Young interview about translation in To Be Read

“Making People Feel Uneasy: Joanna Chen in Conversation with Katherine Young” interview about writing and translation (LA Review of Books blog)

Katherine Young’s “Manuscripts Burn: On Translating Contemporary Russian-Language Works of Witness,” remarks delivered at Pushkin House, London (March 26, 2019), summarized by Cathy McAteer (RusTRANS Blog, University of Exeter, UK)

Katherine Young Interviewed by Marie McGrath (Subtropics)

“Art Talk with NEA Literature Translation Fellow Katherine E. Young” (National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Blog)

“Sound and Sense: A Poet Translates” (Loch Raven Review)

“Betrayal in Theory and Practice: What Are We Trying to Translate, Anyway?” Remarks delivered at ALTA 2014 with Barbara Goldberg, Keyne Cheshire, and Alexis Levitin (Katherine Young’s remarks start at 32:00 of the video).

Need a Translator?

For projects other than poetry, Katherine E. Young charges between $0.16 and $0.25 per ENGLISH word for translation; additional charges apply for handwritten, highly technical, legal, literary, medical, multilingual, and rush service. Please note that the ENGLISH word count is usually about 30% higher than the original RUSSIAN word count because of the differences in the two languages. If you’d like Katherine Young to look at your text and give you a more precise estimate, contact her using this form. Please be aware that rates vary widely among translators.

Poetry projects are priced on an individual basis. For an estimate, contact Katherine Young using this form.

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2 Comments

  1. Translator passion brings vibrant new voices to readers – Translation3point0
  2. Making People Feel Uneasy: Joanna Chen in Conversation with Katherine Young – Punctured Lines

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