A New Prize for Young Translators from the German

So this is exciting: The Goethe-Institut in New York has received a donation in memory of Frederick and Grace Gutekunst (FG taught at CUNY’s Hunter College for many years) to establish a new prize for young translators from the German, the Gutekunst Prize. “Young” is defined as under 35 years of age as of April 30, 2011, and the competition is limited to those who have not yet published a book in translation. “Competition” is the right word, too, because unlike most prizes, competing for this one means translating a text provided by the Goethe Institut rather than submitting a sample of your own choosing. In other words, it isn’t a grant to support a project of your own, it’s a prize for demonstrating translation chops that can be applied to a work other than what you might be naturally drawn to. Really an interesting concept, and I’m very curious to see what text has been chosen for the competition and what the winning translation will look like. Note that the way this competition is set up, people who have never tried their hand at translation before are invited to apply. Bring on the competition! I think the point of the exercise is seduction: Translation is a beautiful, enjoyable, frustrating, maddening activity, and once you get hooked, you might well stay hooked for life. So why not try to get others hooked as well? Hey, it works for vampires, doesn’t it?

To request application materials, write to: GutekunstPrize@newyork.goethe.org.

P.S. I completely forgot to mention that the winner will receive a $2500 prize.

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