If you only contribute to one crowd-funded Yiddish translation this year, please make it Michael Wex's new Indiegogo campaign to fund his translation of one of the most important novels in the modern Yiddish canon: Joseph Opatoshu's In Poylishe Velder.
You can see Wex himself explain why In Poylishe Velder needs to be available to English speakers in a new, modern translation. Even Boing Boing thinks you should kick in.
The problem with translating Yiddish literature isn't so much that there aren't enough talented translators who speak Yiddish, but that going from Yiddish to English today requires cultural as much as linguistic translation. I wrote about this in 2006 (see below) when I reviewed Wex's (now classic) book about Yiddish culture, Born to Kvetch, along with his translation of Mendele Moykher Sforim's The Wishing Ring.
And while a non-fiction book like Born to Kvetch can be acquired by a trade publisher and do quite well, the same is not true for new translations of Yiddish literature. Many new translations come out of university presses, and/or depend on funding from individuals and family foundations to get published, as in the case of The Wishing Ring. With his Indiegogo campaign Wex is forging an important new path to the publication of Yiddish literature in translation.
Wex is not the only talented Yiddish writer and translator out there, but he is one of the only ones with a deep personal, literary and cultural connection to pre-war Jewish Polish life. Kick him some money and you'll be supporting the publication of an important piece of Jewish cultural history.
(excerpted from January- February 2006 Jewish Currents)