Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Translators' Centres: One Down, One To Go

The news has been out for a while now but there's been surprisingly little fuss: due to cuts in public funding for culture under Germany's conservative-liberal coalition, there won't be a Translators' Centre at the next Frankfurt Book Fair. The cuts also affect the Goethe Institut's various translation funding programmes to the tune of 7%, so watch out for fewer books being translated out of German in the years to come.

The Translators' Centre was a wonderful invention, organised by Antje te Brake (who knows how to shake a leg on the dancefloor) in conjunction with the two professional organisations for translators in Germany, the BDÜ and the VdÜ. It was a place to meet colleagues and relax in a relatively calm atmosphere, it offered translators a stage of their own, it displayed a wonderful range of translated titles, it was a place where prizes were awarded and contacts were made. And although the Book Fair says translation-related events will still take place in the International Centre, I know I won't be the only person to miss it.

Bucking the trend though, London's come through this year: its new Literary Translation Centre will "bring together the publishing and translation communities to stimulate, inspire and raise the profile of literary translation in the UK," with a modest programme of events (but the London Book Fair is more modest than Frankfurt all round, and that's not all a bad thing). Top-notch movers and shakers like Anne McLean, David Constantine, Amanda Hopkinson and EJ Van Lanen will talk about the ins and outs of translation, bringing foreign literature to Britain and the US and why on earth it all matters.

I can't go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Katy
It's terrible, I agree, that they are closing the translation centre in Frankfurt - I only managed to witness it once, but it was an oasis. Perhaps it all has something to do with state versus private funding? I get the feeling that little state money will have gone into the London centre, and therefore it's probably safer - for the moment.