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What makes a Good Literary Translator ?

Just what makes a good literary translator ? Its a question which has pursed the lips of many a wannabe literary translator.


During recent interview with Ted Hodkinson of British Council, Daniel Kahan waxed lyrical on the subject and provided some wonderful introspectives.  For example can a translator add to the original ?  Or perhaps is it a good time to be a translator ? 

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Norwegian challenge for Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize

Norwegian challenge for Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize. Norwegian has been chosen as the language of the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize 2016.

The prize, launched in 2010, is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 34 and aims to recognise the achievements of young translators at the start of their careers. It is awarded annually, focusing each year on a different language; last year's chosen language was Polish. 

This year, entrants will be asked to translate a short story by Merethe Lindstrøm called 'Svømme under vann' (which translates as ‘Swimming Under Water’) from her collection of the same name.

It will be judged by translator Don Bartlett, who translated Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series into English, and Harvill Secker editor Ellie Steel, with two more judges to be announced at a later date.

Harvill Secker formed a new partnership with the Royal Norwegian Embassy this year and will be continuing its partnership with Writers’ Centre Norwich. The winner will take part in a Writers’ Centre Norwich Emerging Translator Mentorship with Bartlett, who is an acclaimed translator on the judges panel, and will also be invited to participate in the Crossing Border festival in November 2016.

The deadline for entries is 5th August 2016, and the winner will be announced on 30th September.

The short story and entry guidelines can be found online


The British Centre For Literary Translation Introduces the Work of Literary Translators.

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Is Translated Fiction By Women a Minority?


The new Man Booker International prize is the most exciting thing to happen to literary translators since Asterix was resuscitated in 2005. With its high profile and equal shares of cash for writers and translators – a split of the £50,000 prize – it promises to make translated fiction hit the headlines at last.

Translated novels by female writers are the palomino unicorns of the publishing world. But a glance at the longlist announced on Thursday reveals the same old pattern: only four out of 13 titles were originally written by women.


Eight out of the 14 translators are women; but while achieving gender balance in this field is a real achievement, I’m hardly bowled over.  Read More


Author Sanaz Fotouhi looks at Iranian fiction in English, and chooses four favourites

When I was at university studying English literature, I took an interest in diasporic and migrant writings. Authors from India, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean all told the same kind of stories of exile and resettlement. Their books raised a shared set of concerns, reflecting homelessness, loss and attempts to reconstruct identity.

As someone who is part of the Iranian diaspora, my heart connected to these stories, but at the same time I felt something was missing. Read More


Translators to be eligible for Man Booker Prize

For too long now literary translators were just consigned to a credit on the inside page of  a foreign fiction bestseller. Whilst the writer would bask in the glory of winning prizes and deservedly so, it nevertheless felt that the humble translator with the difficult task of making the words accessible to new international markets never quite got the recognition they deserve.  That could all be about to change. Now translators can expect a slice of the recognition pie. 
                                                                                                                               


UK Translator of Korean Literature Wins Award


Literary Translator Deborah Smith was awarded the £10,000 Literary Translation fellowship by guest of honour author Sebastian Faulks. The runners up for the Literary Translation Award, Ruth Ahmedzai-Kemp, Sophie Hughes and Rosalind Harvey, each received £1000.

As the UK’s only published translator of Korean Literature into English, Deborah Smith is both unique and prolific in her field. Her most recent translation of South Korean author Han Kang’s Human Acts (Portobello Books 2016) is out now and was described as ‘a rare and astonishing book, sensitively translated by Deborah Smith’ by The Observer, with the FT highlighting her ‘spare, lyrical prose’. These are just a sample of the many reviews that have lauded her talent.

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Amazon Commits $10 Million to Translations, Prompting Questions


AmazonCrossing, Amazon Publishing’s five year old literary translation imprint, has announced a $10 million commitment over the next five years to increase both the number and diversity of its books in translation.

With 77 titles from 15 countries and 12 languages being published in the U.S. in 2015, AmazonCrossing has become one of the largest publishers of translated literature in the States. The announced investment will go towards fees paid to translators over the next five years, as well as to increasing the countries and languages represented on the AmazonCrossing list, which, since 2010, has included more than 200 titles by authors from 29 countries writing in 19 languages. Read More

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