Join us for ATA’s 57th Annual Conference!

[Update: Registration is now open! Click here to join us.]

The American Translators Association will be hosting its 57th annual conference for translators, interpreters, and agencies from November 2 through November 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California. Join colleagues in several days of learning, networking, and other business opportunities. Registration opens soon!

To learn more about the conference, click here.

Accommodation information is available here.

You can also follow the fun on Facebook or Twitter using the conference’s special hashtag, #ata57.

À Propos: Book Review – Rien ne s’oppose à la nuit

ata-fld-newsletter-logoDelphine de Vigan’s Rien ne s’oppose à la nuit (Nothing Holds Back The Night) begins with its heartbreaking end: the suicide of her mother, Lucile. With suspense set aside, de Vigan instead sets to the task of “writing her mother” by uncovering and unraveling her life in a story that is part memoir and part novel.

Lucile was one of nine children in a chaotic, spirited but close-knit family. By the age of seven, she was working as a fashion model, which garnered her attention from those within her immediate circle as well as those who recognized her from her posters throughout Paris. Doted on by so many, she claims to have “paid the price for her beauty.” Though, even as she laments the attention, she is acutely aware that her changing body prevents her from continuing the work and she must stand aside while her younger sisters take her place. As she navigates her youth and adolescence, her family suffers more than its share of tragedy, the impact of which stays with Lucile as she emerges into adulthood. As she steadily grows older, her mental state also becomes increasingly unstable with frequent episodes of mania, depression, and delusion, setting the uneven rhythm for the rest of her life. Her tenuous grasp on reality, of course, also punctuates the lives of her two daughters, who survive her mother’s vacillations, but not unscathed.

While telling of the story of her mother, de Vigan interweaves her own journey to discover her and reach her in some way that she perhaps couldn’t as a child. She culls through letters and notes written by Lucile at various points in her life and during varying degrees of lucidity; a documentary video of the family recorded by a local TV station; nearly 50 hours of audio recordings from her grandfather; and interviews with as many members of her family as are willing to participate. The second half of the book shifts in tone and in speaker as de Vigan explores her own memories and intertwines them with everyone else’s allowing the reader to become a witness to a private exploration of suffering. She is aware that telling her mother’s story is a flawed and beautifully imperfect undertaking and she seems to prefer it that way. It is, after all, not unlike her mother.

Catherine Savino

Catherine Savino is a FR-EN translator, project manager, and writer originally from Detroit and currently living in sunny San Diego.

À Propos: Book Review – La Nuit Sacrée

ata-fld-newsletter-logoLa Nuit Sacrée, by Tahar Ben Jelloun, is not for the faint of heart. The story begins, “Ce qui importe c’est la vérité,” and the author maintains this principle from beginning to end. Drawing from his experience as a professor of philosophy, the Moroccan writer takes a direct look at the issue of gender inequality from all directions. Naturally, themes of violence, jealousy, love, and hate surface quickly.

Although this is a sequel to his first major success, L’Enfant de Sable, La Nuit Sacrée can be enjoyed on its own. How could you not be drawn into a novel whose premise is a woman’s struggle with her identity after her father, who raised her as a male, dies? Particularly in a country where only men could inherit a family’s wealth, the difficulties are overwhelming and numerous.

In this case, our protagonist (formerly known as Ahmed) leaves home. She never really receives a new name, which forces you to consider the character as simply a person, rather than belonging to a particular gender camp. Although she refers to herself as a woman, she is unlike any of the women around her. She struggles with the various types of captivity femaleness brings, after what could only be described as a childhood of imprisonment within a lie. Ben Jelloun does not flinch from this conundrum, and the protagonist seems to emerge from everything stronger than your average person.

Dream-like situations and dream scenes recur often, building the emotional environment brilliantly. After such a bouleversement of one’s identity, anyone would feel as if they were in a dream (or nightmare). Scenes from reality interrupt introspection with petty fights, jealousy, and acts of senseless violence, adding to the sense of ungrounded confusion. Sometimes the real violence is so severe as to be unreal. But the protagonist embraces every experience as something previously out of her reach, saying, “Je n’avais pas envie de fuir, ni meme de résister… Je n’étais pas indifférente. J’étais curieuse.

For all the darkness and chaos, La Nuit Sacrée is a compelling and magical tale. Everyone can relate to the struggles in some way—for who has never had an identity crisis? As you read through the harsh realities, you are pulled along, forced to practice a difficult characteristic: courage. By the last page, you will feel as if you’ve accomplished something important. You will have persevered alongside the protagonist. You will have prevailed.

Carolyn Yohn

Carolyn Yohn translates French and Hungarian legal and academic texts into English from her office in Northern California.