Thursday, 6 May 2010

Translation Competition Launched by Harvill Secker

Harvill Secker, publisher of some of the finest literary translation going in this hepped-up commercial world, has done a good turn for young translators.

It goes a little bit like this: Argentina is guest of honour at Frankfurt this October, so they picked an Argentinian writer, Matías Néspolo, whose work is to be translated for their inaugural competition. Journalist for El Mundo, poet and novelist, Néspolo is renowned for the versatility of his style and tone. Fellow blogger Juan Pomponi does a nice run-down of his most recent work (Sp) if you'd like to get a handle on the author.

The job at hand is to translate one of his short stories, and the prize? £1,000.

Harvill Secker editor and competition judge Briony Everroad is very excited about the competition, and we were keen to get her take on this new venture:

Harvill Secker specialises in publishing international writing, and in our centenary year we decided to launch a prize to celebrate the wonderful work of translators. Around half of our list is comprised of works written in languages other than English, and it would not be possible to publish these books without translators. It’s a terribly important art, and excellence in the field can often pass unnoticed. The aim of this prize is to encourage a new generation of talent, and I hope that it will provide a much-needed opportunity for young translators to gain wider recognition for their work.’

I don't know about you, but one word leaps out of this quote for me: ART. OK, so translation is Harvill Secker's stock and trade, but it's refreshing to see it recognised as a creative talent.

As for that 'new generation of talent', translators aged 16 to 34 are encouraged to send in their translations by 31 July 2010. All details, entry form and Spanish-language text available here.