There is no doubt that literary translators deserve applause. They offer us greater access to authors, texts and cultures. We can enter into worlds through the translated text and better understand our global world. I would even add that they help to fight racism and xenophobia by allowing us to see the humanity of others who might initially seem so different from us.
As writers, you learn the intricacies of a text by working to translate it. You must consider so many aspects at once: rhythm, rhyme, word choice, voice, cultural knowledge and references, form, etc. If you speak another language, I encourage you to try your hand at translating a text or a section into English. Translation asks such flexibility of language that your own writing will naturally get a workout through this exercise.
Here are a few resources to help get you started in reading translated texts and becoming involved in the international translation community. I encourage you to add your own recommendations in the Comments section below.
American Literary Translators Association (ALTA)
ALTA’s list of resources
ALTA’s list of literary translation programs
American Translators Association (ATA)
PEN American Center : U.S. branch of the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization
Words Without Borders: online literary magazine
Renditions:Chinese-English translation magazine
Two Lines Literary Magazine
Two Lines Literary Magazine’s host organization, Center for the Art of Translation’s list of resources