Looking to offer enhanced services and boost the demand for literature in translation, a group of nine translators have banded together to launch Cedilla & Co., a collective designed to offer a new model for translation.
Elisabeth Jaquette, a founding member of Cedilla & Co. and a translator of Arabic, described the collective as a new model for publishers and for translators. “We’re a one-stop shop for publishers looking for translation services," she said. "And our translators are able to pool their expertise and advocate for each other’s projects.”
Allison Markin Powell, another founding member of the collective and a Japanese translator, said the collective hopes to "fundamentally change how literature in translation is published."
Jaquette said the collective is comprised of nine translators who can translate across 10 languages. In addition, the collective also offers publishers a variety of expertise on foreign markets. Cedilla translators, Jaquette said, can provide “market knowledge and information on literary trends and prizes in [foreign] countries, as well as information on new authors.”
Cedilla & Co. founding members include Alta Price, who translates Italian and German; Heather Cleary, who translates Spanish; Jeffrey Zuckerman, a translator of French; and Marshall Yarbrough, who translates German.
Translation, Jaquette explained, is an inherently unstable and poorly paid profession. Because American houses publish so few works in translation, work is hard to come by. It's also, she noted, not that well paid, since most translated editions are published under tight profit margins. Cedilla & Co., its member hope, will provide a bit more stability and security to its members.
Pay rates for translations, Jaquette said, are so low that translators generally do not have agents to represent them. “[The low pay] makes it hard to pay part of the fee to an agent,” she added.
Cedilla & Co. is launching with a reception April 2 at the KGB Bar in New York City. The event will feature Cedilla & Co. members reading from works they have translated.
“By pooling our experiences and expertise, resources, and contacts, we offer a wholly different approach for publishers across all markets,” Powell said. “Our collective model presents integrated support for one another, ensuring best practices for translators and translated literature.”