Too young to translate?

I mean, you have to start somewhere, don’t you?

I was somewhat flabbergasted to discover that some publisher – unnamed – had withdrawn their book so that it wouldn’t be translated by someone new.

The Peirene Stevns Translation Prize 2019 has had to be postponed after the publisher of their intended book to be translated by those entering the competition, refused to agree. Not for beginners, apparently.

It’s a bit worrying, as older translators will be retiring or dying out, so younger ones do need to step into their shoes if you want books moving into other languages.

The prize is for unpublished translators. However, Peirene discovered that many people have translated things for free, just to get a foot in. This seems to be yet another case of unpaid work, because ‘you can.’

Just because you’re new doesn’t mean you are bad. Some new translators of fiction even get shortlisted for prestigious awards. In fact, I’d say that when you’re starting out, you possibly spend far longer on getting it right, because you feel you should, than you do later on, when everything’s become more routine.

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