John Nathan is the translator of Japanese works written by celebrated authors such as Yukio Mishima and Kenzaburo Oe. Nathan is also an Emmy-award winning producer, writer and director of many films about Japanese culture and society and American business. He studied at University of Tokyo. He is presently the Takashima Professor of Japanese Cultural Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. John Nathan’s fields include Japanese culture, Japanese literature, Japanese cinema, the theory and practice of translation, and the sociology of business culture. The first American to be admitted as a regular student to the University of Tokyo, he spent many years living and studying in Japan. He is the author of a definitive biography of novelist Yukio Mishima and he has also translated novels by Mishima and by Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe.

Keynote Speakers 2009
Keynote Speakers | Conference Programs

At the 2009 ALTA Annual Conference, entitled “Continental Drift,” the Plenary Lectures were given by John Nathan, Ilán Stavans, and Michael Henry Heim. All three speakers gave inspiring speeches that were designed to encourage as well as inform.


“Translating Style: Conveying the Author’s Voice”


“The Future of Language”


“How do you know when you’re ready to translate from another language?”

Ilán Stavans teaches at Amherst College where he is the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture. His books include The Hispanic Condition (Harper Collins) and Tropical Synagogues (Holmes and Meier). He is currently editing The Oxford Book of Latin American Essays. The stories included are from his collection The One-Handed Pianist (University of New Mexico Press). In 1997, Stavans was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and has been the recipient of international prizes and honors, including the Latino Literature Prize, Chile’s Presidential Medal, and the Rubén Darío Distinction.


Michael Henry Heim is a Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at UCLA. He translates from Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Russian, and Serbian/Croatian. He has received a Fulbright Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, several translation prizes, and served on translation juries for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the PEN American Center, and the Goethe-Institut.