Just a week to go before translators can submit their entries to The Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation. The opening date is Monday, 27th February. Full details on how to submit your translations will be published on the www.stephenspender.org website on that date. Translators of any age can apply, and they can translate any poem from any language.
If any of our translators or students has a favourite poem in their native language that deserves translation, here is your opportunity to do the translation and win recognition for your efforts! By translating your favourite poem into English you can bring the work to a wider audience and allow the poet’s writing to be appreciated outside of your home country.
The judges are to be Margaret Jull Costa, Sean O’Brien and Olivia McCannon. Advice from previous judges of the Poetry Translation prize includes:
Choosing your poem to translate:
“Translating poems that seem to be very straightforward and easily understandable in the source language all too often end up as banal in English. Translating the apparently simple is, in a different way, as tough as translating a very complex text, for the effect of simplicity is only achievable with considerable skill, and a translator needs comparable skills.” – Susan Bassnett
Form of the poem:
“I admire formal solutions that don’t necessarily reproduce the original’s form but stay true to the reasons for which form was chosen in the first place.” – Patrick McGuinness
The need to re-read and revise your poetry translation:
“A single jarring word can throw an entire piece out of kilter, emphasising the need, as in all literary endeavour, for constant editing and revision.” – Josephine Balmer
So to all our translators and future translators alike; why not choose a poem you love and see if you can transform it into English? You may want to work with someone who has the language skills to complement yours – if you’re a native Spanish speaker, work with an English native speaker, or vice versa. Let Accutranslate know how you get on!