The National Centre for Writing is seeking applications from translators into English for the 2022/23 NCW Emerging Translator Mentorship programme.
This year’s languages are:
Arabic (mentored by Sawad Hussain)
Danish (mentored by Paul Russell Garrett)
Hindi – The Saroj Lal mentorship (mentored by Daisy Rockwell)
Indonesian – Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize (mentored by Khairani Barokka)
Italian (mentored by Howard Curtis)
Japanese (mentored by Juliet Winters Carpenter)
Korean (mentored by Anton Hur)
Norwegian (mentored by Rosie Hedger)
Polish (mentored by Sean Gasper Bye)
Québec French or First Nations languages (mentored by Sarah Ardizzone); this mentorship is open to literary translators working from either one or more of the following languages: Québec French, Algonquin, Atikamekw, Cree, Innu, Inuktitut, Micmac, Mohawk and Naskapi
Swedish (mentored by Nichola Smalley)
Ukrainian (mentored by Nina Murray)
Visible Communities Mentorship (mentored by Meena Kandasamy); this mentorship is open to UK-based literary translators who are either Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse or are working from heritage, diaspora and community languages of the UK
About the programme
Celebrating its thirteenth anniversary in 2022, the Emerging Translator Mentorship programme was founded by Daniel Hahn in 2010 with the aim of developing successive new cohorts of literary translators into English, particularly for languages whose literature is currently under-represented in English translation.
The scheme matches up experienced translators with emerging translators for a six-month period during which they work together on practical translation projects, developing their craft through working on a chosen text or texts. The mentor acts as an adviser to the mentee on aspects of life as a professional translator, such as time management, meeting deadlines, managing finances and understanding contracts, and as an advocate for their mentee with publishers in search of literary translators.
The evidence to date suggests that participation in the scheme represents, in itself, a significant professional development for mentees, with publishers seeing the mentoring cohort as a reliable source of high-quality emerging translators.
What you will receive
Mentees receive a £500 bursary and reasonable travel expenses associated with the mentorship, which vary according to the relative geographical locations of the mentoring pair. The mentorship will include an online Industry Week with tailored training events and talks, access to UK industry events such as International Translation Day and attendance of the London Book Fair with a day-trip to NCW’s headquarters at Dragon Hall in Norwich, and a concluding digital showcase to amplify the translators’ work to wider audiences. Samples of mentees’ work will also be published in a print and digital anthology.
National Centre for Writing will facilitate an initial planning meeting between successful applicants and their mentors to agree on the scope of their project and how they will work together. The mentoring period lasts for six months, from October 2022 to March 2023, with an additional in-person meeting in Norwich and London from 17-20 April 2023. During this time, the mentoring pair will meet at least four times, either in person, by virtual media or by phone as appropriate and agreed between them. In between meetings, they will exchange work and comments via email.
Who can apply?
The programme is open to emerging translators at no cost to them. An emerging translator is someone who has published no more than one full-length work of literary translation. MFA and MA students in translation can apply, but priority may be given to those who do not have access to the kind of guidance already present in a translation degree programme. Though English is the target language, the emerging translator need not live in the UK (with the exception of the Visible Communities mentorship). We particularly welcome applications for all mentorships from those groups which are currently under-represented in the literary translation community.
How to apply
Applications should be uploaded via the Google Form here. Please note, you will need a Google account (which can be created easily and linked to a non-google email address) to upload your application documents.
If uploading your application is inconvenient or inaccessible for you, or you require assistance to make the application process more accessible for you, please email email@example.com with the subject ‘ETM 22/23’ and the language or mentorship strand for which you are applying. Any other queries can be sent to the email address above.
Please note that applications for the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize 2022 in Indonesian should be directed straight to Harvill Secker here. Please also note that applicants for the prize are asked to translate a specific source text sample.
The deadline for receipt of entries is 11.59pm BST on Wednesday, 31 August 2022.
Your application must include the following:
A covering letter stating why you believe you would benefit from a mentorship, and what you can bring to the mentor and mentorship
Your CV: with a focus on your translation work and experience
A one-page sample book proposal: this should demonstrate your understanding of the text, author and source culture, but also of the English language market for the translation and its target readership
A sample translation of up to 2,000 words of prose or up to 100 lines poetry or dramatic text: this can be from your sample book project, or a different text or texts
The source text that corresponds to your sample translation
Please also complete the brief survey on equality, diversity and inclusion, which is included in the Google Forms link above. For each question, there is an option to select ‘Prefer not to say’ and all answers will be treated anonymously.
Applications will be assessed by the relevant mentor; applications to the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize will be assessed by a jury (see more information on the Harvill Secker website). Their assessment will be based on the following criteria:
strength of the sample proposal: how well the applicant demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the text, author, language and possible issues; how original and relevant the text and author are for a translation project into English; the applicant’s awareness of the source language market, and target language market and audience in English
strength of the translation: the applicant’s technical competence in handling the grammatical, syntactical and stylistic features of the source text; how well written, creative and enjoyable the translation is; and
the mentor’s own suitability to best support an applicant.
Successful applicants will be informed by Friday 16 September 2022 and will be announced publicly at International Translation Day on Friday 30 September with a short, pre-recorded video.
Supported by Arts Council England, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, the Danish Arts Foundation, The Saroj Lal Mentorship, Harvill Secker, the Italian Cultural Institute, Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities at UCLA and Waseda University, the Literary Translation Institute of Korea, The Royal Norwegian Embassy, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Québec Government Office in London, the Swedish Arts Council, the British Centre for Literary Translation, the British Council and the Visible Communities programme.