Jennifer Shyue, who will receive an MFA in literary translation from the University of Iowa this May, is the winner of a Fulbright Study/Research grant in Translation to Peru for 2019-20
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Award: 2019-20 Fulbright Study/Research grant in Translation to Peru
Degree: MFA literary translation
Could you give me a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?
I will be spending my grant year in Lima translating work by the Chinese-Peruvian writer Julia Wong Kcomt and learning about identity and language in Lima's Chinese-Peruvian community.
What drew you to this field of study?
I took a Spanish-to-English translation workshop as a sophomore and tumbled head-over-heels in love with the art of translation. I love that translation is both wordwork and puzzle; I get to spend long quiet hours thinking about words, and then I get to feel the satisfaction of snapping the right word into place in my translation. As a Taiwanese-American, I am interested in the Asian diasporas in Latin America because I am curious about possible parallels and divergences among experiences within the various global Asian diasporas.
How do you envision this will influence your future career?
I have been given the rare gift of a year dedicated to translating and learning, and I anticipate reaping the benefits of that gift for a long time to come. I see next year as an auspicious beginning to a lifelong project of translating and promoting literature I love and believe in. I hope to eventually publish the fruits of next year’s translation labor; I also hope to continue learning, thinking, and writing about diasporic experiences around the world.
What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright?
For me, it was important to start with a project I was truly excited about. With that starting point in mind, I was able to approach the application as an opportunity to read more about a topic I was interested in for its own sake; I knew I would get a lot out of the process even if I didn’t emerge from the other side with a Fulbright. Also, I highly recommend doing everything Karen Wachsmuth tells you to do! She is an amazing fount of knowledge, and she makes so much time to meet with students, so definitely seek her out.
Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?
I am grateful to Aron Aji for all the time he spent discussing my proposal with me, and for helping me grow enormously as a translator in these last two years. I am also grateful to Karen Wachsmuth and Kathleen Newman for their work making my application as strong as it could be. I feel incredibly lucky to have been supported by such dedicated and generous Fulbright advisers and mentors.
Students are encouraged to begin their funding searches and applications at least six months to one year in advance. Schedule an advising appointment with Karen Wachsmuth to discuss your interest in an international fellowship or begin an application (as a UI undergraduate student, graduate student, or alumna/us).