As hard-working professional translators, it can sometimes be easy to get bogged down in the day to day workload of translating documents forget to reflect upon the value that translation as a whole provides to the world. In the UK, a movement is afoot to ensure that that value is not forgotten.
Since October 2015, national UK newspaper the Guardian has been highlighted the work of translators through its Translation Tuesday initiative. Every Tuesday, a short translation is presented to readers. So far these have included poems, short stories and excerpts from novels.
Translation Tuesdays celebrate the role of translation in sharing and promoting some of the world’s best literature. The literary offering is followed by a biography not just of the author but also of the translator, without whom it never would have reached an English-speaking audience.
The value of the translation industry has also been highlighted in the UK recently by the 2016 Close Approximations Contest from Asymptote. The competition is open to translators of poetry, fiction and non-fiction from around the world. Despite running for only its second year, the Close Approximations contest attracted a staggering 391 submissions, which the judges finally managed to whittle down to three winners and three runners up:
• Poetry winner: Marie Silkeberg and co-translator Kelsi Vanada for their translation of Silkeberg’s “The Cities” from Swedish
• Fiction winner: Ruth Diver for her translation of Sophie Pujas’s Street Rounds in Paris from French
• Non-fiction winner: Sean Gasper Bye for his translation of Filip Springer’s Miedzianka: The History of a Disappearance from the Polish
• Poetry runner-up: Sophie Seita for her translation of Uljana Wolf’s “Subsisters” from German
• Fiction runner-up: Jason Woodruff for his translation of Kim Kyung-uk’s “Spray” from Korean
• Non-fiction runner-up: Ona Bantjes-Ràfols for her translation of Albert Casals’s The World on Wheels from Catalan
Every day, translation enables the sharing of world-class literature like the examples cited above. It also allows the business world to function more smoothly, brings together medical professionals for knowledge sharing, builds diplomatic relations between nations and achieves a whole host of other fantastic outcomes. So take a minute to reflect on your contribution to the translation industry and be proud in the achievements of your sector. It’s a great industry to be part of.
How does your country celebrate the role of translation? And what more could be done to highlight it? Share your thoughts via the comments.