Archive for May 2014

2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize to Jonathan Wright

iffp_2014_logoThe 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize was announced last week in London, and the winning book is The Iraqi Christ, by Hassan Blasim, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright (Comma Press). Very pleased for Jonathan, especially after the rough time he had last year around the contract for another book he was to translate; I’m glad to see his work vindicated in this way. And congratulations to all the other shortlisted authors and translators as well, and particularly to Jamie Bulloch, the translator of The Mussel Feast by German writer Birgit Vanderbeke, which received an honorable mention. There are at least two firsts involved in this year’s award: It is the first time the prize has gone to a book originally written in Arabic, and the first time a collection of stories has won. All in all, a good year for this prize.

2014 Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize Shortlist / Oxford Translation Day

Poster-Oxford-Translation-Day-CROPPED1The Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize, an annual award given to a book-length literary translation into English from any living European language, aims to honor the craft of translation, and to recognize its cultural importance. This year’s shortlist has just been announced:

Anthea Bell for Eugen Ruge’s In Times of Fading Light (Faber)

Isabel Fargo Cole for Franz Fühmann’s The Jew Car (Seagull Books)

Susan Wicks for Valérie Rouzeau’s Talking Vrouz (Arc publications)

David Homel for Dany Laferrière’s The Enigma of the Return (MacLehose Press)

Peter Daniels for Vladislav Khodasevich’s Selected Poems (Angel Classics)

Alastair McEwen for Andrea Bajani’s Every Promise (Maclehose Press)

Edward Gauvin for Jean Ferry’s The Conductor and Other Tales (Wakefield Press)

Mira Rosenthal for Tomasz Ró?ycki, Colonies (Zephyr Press)

For the first time ever, the winner of this year’s prize will be announced as part of the newly established Oxford Translation Day, an in fact two-day celebration of the art of translation replete with workshops, discussions and readings to be held at St. Anne’s College, Oxford on June 13-14, 2014. All of these events are free and open to the public (preregistration requested). For a complete program, and to register, click here.

Translation on Tap in NYC May 26 – June 1

It’s going to be a pretty theater-heavy week in Translationland. Here’s what’s coming up:

Gertrud-Larsson-Photo-Dan-Hansson-bannerTuesday, May 27:

A Seminar on Literary Translation, a conversation on the rewards and challenges of international translation/adaptation of contemporary drama, with a focus on Sweden and the United States, including a discussion of funding opportunities available to literary translators as well as those commissioning and publishing translations from Swedish. With Gertrud Larsson, Swedish playwright; Caridad Svich, American playwright and translator; Rachel Willson-Broyles, translator; and Kate Loewald; founding producer of The Play Company. Moderator: Frank Hentschker, Executive Director of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, CUNY Graduate Center. More information here. Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 28:

For attendees of the New York book fair BEA (Book Expo America), there’ll be an entire day of translation programming as part of the Global Market Forum conference that accompanies the fair, this year running under the title: Books in Translation: Wanderlust for the Written Word. One hour conference sessions will be held in Room 1E11 in the Javits Center from 9:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (open to BEA attendees only). The 2:00 p.m panel includes Translationista as a speaker. More information here.

There will also be a number of additional translation events taking place at BEA from Thursday, May 29 through Saturday, May 31. You’ll find a full listing of the BEA translation events here. And in other news:

Thursday, May 29:

Pearl R. Hochstadt reads from her new translations of the Tales of La Fontaine, Brooklyn Heights Library, 280 Cadman Plaza West, 6:15 p.m.

Saturday, May 31:

Translating the Spoken Word: a Proper Challenge – translation slam at the 2014 HotINK at the Lark Festival, more information here. The Lark is at 311 West 43rd St., 5th Floor, and Translationista is one of the participants. 7:00 p.m.

Translation at Book Expo America 2014

BEA_logo_starburstThis year, literary translation is the master theme of BEA (Book Expo America), the U.S. book fair which has been growing in recent years, though it still hasn’t stretched to the size of a Frankfurt, a Guadalajara, a London or even a Leipzig. Usually it’s the literature of one particular country that provides the focus for what, in BEA lingo, is known as the Global Market Forum (a series of conference events that accompany the expo), but this year the Global Market Forum’s title is “Books In Translation: Wanderlust for the Written Word.” I’m just thrilled to see so much translation programming being presented to BEA’s primary audience of book industry professionals. If you’ll be attending BEA, why not check out some well-staffed panels at the Javits Center. All these events will be held in Room 1E11 on Wednesday, May 28. Here’s the lineup:

9:45 – 10:00 a.m.
Books In Translation: Wanderlust for the Written Word – an introduction to the day’s panels

10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
Mapping Translation Today: From Niche to Global Bestseller – with Carol Brown Janeway, Joel Dicker, Rüdiger Wischenbart, Susan Harris and Vladimir Grigoriev

11:00 – 11:50 a.m.
Discoverability – Finding Readers for Translated Works with Digital Marketing Innovations – with Holger Ehling, Javier Celaya, Michael Z. Wise and Susie Nicklin

12:00 – 12:50 p.m.
Case Studies: Successful Insight from Translators and Editors – with Esther Allen, Antony Shugaar, John Siciliano, Marcos Giralt Torrente and Maria Campbell

2:00 – 2:50 p.m.
What Editors Need to Know: Successful Translations into English – with Tina Weiner, Marleen Seegers, Riky Stock and Susan Bernofsky

3:00 – 3:50 p.m.
Making Translation Work – The Author, the Translator and the Editor – with Christopher Kenneally, Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Marco Malvaldi, Mariusz Szczygiel, Michael Reynolds and Sal Robinson

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Funding Programs: Supporting Successful Translation of Books – with Rüdiger Wischenbart, Yana Genova, Ana Pérez Galván, Bogdan Popescu, Elena Philips, Elisabeth Pyroth, Peter Kaufmann and Salim Omar Salim.

Full descriptions of each of these panels can be found on the BEA website.

During BEA there will also be a series of short “how to” sessions organized by the PEN Translation Committee, all on the East Side Stage (Translation Market):

Thursday, May 29:
10:00 – 10:30 a.m.
How to Find the Right Translator for Your Project with Margaret Carson

11:00 – 11:30 a.m.
How to Draw a Crowd for Translated Books with Alex Zucker

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
How to Market Your Translated Book with Michael Barron

Friday, May 30:
10:00 – 10:30 a.m.
How to Deal With Translation and Copyright with Skott Klebe

2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
How to Work with International Translation Grants and Grant Sponsors with Yana Genova

Saturday, May 31:
10:00 – 10:30 a.m.
How to Edit a Translation with Ann Goldstein


There will also be a number of other BEA translation events on Thursday, May 29 on the East Side Stage including:

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Romania: “Translation as an Icebreaker”

12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
Spain: Spanish literary fiction featuring Antón Mallick Wants to Be Happy by Nicolás Casariego

1:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Italy: Translations from Italy: “Voci dal sud” (Voices from the South)

2:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Germany: The German Translation Programs of the Goethe-Institut

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Russia: Read Russia – New Modes of International Translation Support


On Friday, May 30 in Room 1E15 there’ll be a panel on Polish author Marek Hlasko: Rediscovering a Literary Rebel featuring Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Ross Ufberg and Sal Robinson, 9:30 – 10:20 a.m.

Other events on Friday, May 30, held on the East Side Stage, include:

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.
USA: Amazon Crossing-Bestsellers Crossing Borders

11:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Austria: Austrian Cultural Forum New York- Translation Prize 2014

12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
Fostering Translation Between the Arab World and International by the Sharjah International Book FairFri. May 30

1:30 – 2:00 p.m.
The New International Congress of Literary Translators

3:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Hungary: Publishing Hungary

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
USA: Amazon Crossing: Author & Translator Q&A with author Erik Valeur and translator K.E. Semmel

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Romania: “How to Translate Eminescu – a Famous Romanian National Poet”


And there’ll be one last translation event held on the East Side Stage – after the last of the “how to” sessions – on Saturday, May 31:

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Japanese Literature in English

Detailed information on all the panels listed above, including full participant lists where not given here, can be found here.

Translating for the Stage

hotink-banner-2Theater translation is obviously a slightly different enterprise than translating for the printed page, just as writing for actors is a bit different from writing for readers. The words have to sound right when spoken aloud, and not merely that: they must be speakable for an actor, with no tongue-twisters or unpronounceable combinations. A certain clarity is needed – any meandering should be paratactic rather than hypotactic – unless of course the point is to tie the listener’s brain in a knot, in which case the takeaway is more likely to be knottiness itself rather than what got said in there. German in particular is a language and literary tradition strongly given to the labyrinthine sentence; and perhaps it’s no coincidence that some of its most enthusiastic practitioners of the long, involuted utterance (e.g. Thomas Mann and Walter Benjamin) never became playwrights. I had my first shot at translating for the stage with the commission to translate new book scenes for a production of The Magic Flute opening in St. Louis tonight, and my second shot when I was invited to translate a short play by Thomas Arzt for the HotINK Festival of International Plays at the Lark Performance Space. HotINK brings lesser-known (in English) foreign-language playwrights to New York, commissions translations of their work and presents it to audiences. And for the first time ever this year, HotINK will include a translation slam: Short plays by the featured playwrights were assigned to two translators each, one an experienced translator for the stage, the other not. And I am participating as one of the translators without extensive stage experience. The slam will be presented as a panel (“Translating the Spoken Word: a Proper Challenge”), co-sponsored by the PEN Translation Committee, in which the translations will be compared and discussed, and I am very curious to see what my more experienced counterpart Claudia Wilsch Case did with the Arzt play and what moderator Judith Miller and the other panelists have to say about it. Arzt’s play Meine Jugend, eine Armut (my English title: My Youth, an Impoverishment, CWC’s My Youth/A Kind of Poverty) is a monologue: an apparently prosperous or at least comfortable man addressing a homeless woman begging on the street. And it has lots of stuttery moments that take the speaker from amusement to indignation to sympathy to what sounds rather like rage and despair. How will the translations work on stage? There’ll be an actor reading both of them, and I can’t wait to hear what they’ll sound like. Even if my attempt at creating a speakable translation falls flat, what better opportunity to learn about how to write for actors. The other two translator pairs in the slam are Mariana Carreño King and Margaret Carson (Spanish) and Jolie Hale and Tess Lewis (French). Should be very interesting! Hope to see you there. For a full description of the event, including bios of all the panelists, as well as for information on the rest of the festival, see the HotINK website. Saturday, May 31 at the Lark: 311 West 43rd St., 5th Floor, 7:00 p.m.

2014 Gutekunst Prize to Elisabeth Lauffer

12844979-STANDARDThe Gutekunst Prize has been around for four years now, and it’s quite a competition for younger (35 and under) translators from the German. A single German text is chosen, and all the applicants must translate the same sample from it, putting the judges in the unusual position of comparing apples and apples. This year there were twenty submissions, from Veit Heinichen’s novel, Gib jedem seinen eigenen Tod (To each his own death), and this year’s jury consisted of Shelley Frisch, Tess Lewis and Peter Blackstock. The Goethe Institut has just announced that the jury selected Elisabeth Lauffer for the 2014 prize. The prize ceremony, to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 9 and open to the public, will feature Ross Ufberg, co-founder of New Vessel Press, speaking about his new initiative for translators,

2014 French-American Foundation Translation Prizes Announced

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 9.36.38 AMAt a ceremony at the Century Association in New York last night, the 2014 French-American Foundation Translation Prizes were awarded. Nicholas Elliott and Alison Dundy were awarded the prize in non-fiction for their translation of The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami Shaman by Davi Kopenawa and Bruce Albert. Adriana Hunter was awarded the prize in fiction for her translation of Eléctrico by Hervé Le Tellier. The prizes were announced at an awards ceremony including a panel discussion on the role of small presses in publishing works in translation, featuring Esther Allen, Judith Gurewich and Karen Phillips, moderated by Charles Kolb.


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