2.08.2023 - 28.08.2023 Events, Literature, News

National Centre for Writing Emerging Translator Mentorships 2023/2024

Are you a an aspiring literary translator or know someone who is? The National Centre for Writing's Emerging Translator Mentorship Programme is once again open for applications from budding early-career literary translators, including those from Polish to English.

Deadline for applications: 28th August 2023

The National Centre for Writing is seeking applications from translators into English for the 2023/24 NCW Emerging Translator Mentorship programme.

This year’s languages are:

  • Arabic (mentored by Sawad Hussain)
  • Italian (mentored by Elena Pala)
  • Japanese (mentored by Polly Barton)
  • Korean (mentored by Clare Richards)
  • 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 preference is given to applicants resident in the UK, Ireland or the Nordic Countries.
  • Languages of Singapore (mentored by Jeremy Tiang); this mentorship is open to literary translators working from either or various of the languages of Singapore (Malay, Singaporean Mandarin, Tamil, Kristang or other minority languages) into English.
  • Swiss German (mentored by Jamie Lee Searle)
  • Mentorship for a D/deaf, Disabled and/or Neurodivergent Translator (mentored by Khairani Barokka); this mentorship is open to UK-based literary translators who identify as either D/deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent working from any language into English

What selected mentees will receive

Mentees receive a £800 stipend to cover expenses associated with the mentorship, such as travel. The mentorship will include various online industry events with tailored training events and talks, a feature at International Translation Day and attendance of London Book Fair with a networking day at NCW’s headquarters at Dragon Hall in Norwich. The mentees’ work will also be celebrated in a concluding digital showcase, when a print and digital anthology with samples of the mentees’ translations will also be published, to further amplify the translators’ work.

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 2023 to March 2024, including an in-person meeting in Norwich and London from 11-14 March 2024. 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 D/deaf, disabled, neurodivergent 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 translation@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk  with the subject “ETM 23/24” and the language or mentorship strand for which you are applying. Queries can be sent to the email address above.

The deadline for entries is 11.59pm BST, Monday 28 August 2023.

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 is ideally taken from your sample book project, but can also be 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. 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 15 September 2023 and will be announced publicly at International Translation Day on Saturday 30 September 2023 with a short, pre-recorded video.

To read the full terms and conditions of application on the National Centre for Writing website, see the following link:

Apply for a mentorship – National Centre for Writing

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