Saturday, 9 May 2009

Bell vs. Hofmann for Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize

Two eminent translators from German are shortlisted for this year's Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize: Anthea Bell for Sasa Stanisic's How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, and Michael Hofmann for Fred Wander's The Seventh Well.

The other translators on the list are:
David Colmer for Gerbrand Bakker's The Twin
Sarah Death for Alexander Ahndoril's The Director
Christine Donougher for Sylvie Germain's Magnus
Marek Tomin for Emil Hakl's Of Kids and Parents.

Is it very churlish of me to say that Bell and Hofmann, while both excellent translators, already have a number of awards clogging up their mantlepieces? If you ask me, it would be great to honour a translator who doesn't yet have their own Wikipedia entry.

Update: A reader has kindly pointed out that this is a load of tosh. Of course the award should go to the best piece of work, regardless of who did it. May the best translator win!


fairness said...

If you ask me, it would be great to honour GOOD WORK. there is already enough politics and strategy in giving away these prizes anyway, so why not just act as stated by the rules and give it to the person who DESERVES it instead of person whose turn it is by some weird calculation.

kjd said...

Hm. Point taken. Good job I'm just bitter and twisted and don't have any say in these matters.

Anonymous said...

This is a contemporary trend that results from the notions of fairness and equality. A prime example is the Nobel Prize for Literature. This is a politically-correct award that is distributed evenly among women and non-European men. European men, it seems, had been awarded a disproportionate number of prizes in the past, so their time is now over.