2017 German Nonfiction Translation Competition Award Announced

Emma Rault

As I’m sure you read here a few months ago, the German Nonfiction Translation Competition Award, affectionately known as GINT (Geisteswissenschaften International Nonfiction Translation Prize), challenges emerging translators to compete with one another in the translation of the same passage (or choice of one of two passages) of a non-fiction text. This makes it easier for the judges to compare apples with apples (reading all the application blind, of course) in distinguishing the most effective translation. So this is a competition designed to encouraged emerging translators from the German while also drawing attention to all the wonderful nonfiction writing that still awaits translation. This year’s participants were asked to pick between excerpts from Ulrich Herbert’s (The History of Germany in the 20th Century) and Jakob Zollmann’s Koloniale Herrschaft und ihre Grenzen. Die Kolonialpolizei in Deutsch-Südwestafrika 1894-1915 (Colonial Rule and Its Limits: The Colonial Police in German South-West Africa, 1894-1915). And the winners are…

1st prize ($1,500): Emma Rault; 2nd prize ($1,000): Isabelle Chaize; and 3rd prize ($500): Sharon Howe.

All three translations have been posted for your consideration, along with more detailed information about the prize and its history, on the GINT website.

By the way, juror Shelley Frisch remarks: “As I’ve noted elsewhere in connection with the judging of this prize, every time such competitions are read blindly, women greatly outdo men in garnering the prizes. Of the three we awarded this time, and the three the last time we held this competition, every prize went to a woman. Similarly, the Gutekunst prize goes to women nearly every time. This pattern doesn’t hold when the translators are identified from the get-go.” Definitely something to keep in mind, especially given the much-talked-about gender disparity in the awarding of translation (and other literary) prizes.

And by the way number two: if you’re a publisher reading this and would like to publish a recent work of German nonfiction in English translation, you can apply for a grant to offset the translation costs through the “Geisteswissenschaften International” program (application information available in English, deadline for this year Jan. 31, 2017).

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