Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Translation Industry Day at the Society of Authors

I spent yesterday at the Society of Authors in London for an Industry Day put on by the Translators' Association. My level of excitement and nerves about going child-free to a professional conference was probably rather daft, but it was an excellent event and I'd have been bang on time if I'd turned the right way on leaving Gloucester Road Tube station...

Gloucester Road Underground Station, London - - 1615552
Richard Rogerson [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Speakers included publishers, editors and translators, as well as people from the TA/SoA. There was encouragement about the state of literary translation in the UK. From Briony Everroad (Harvill Secker) we learnt that there were 102 entries for this year's Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize from 44 publishers; she also raised the tantalising possibility that the Stieg Larrson effect might help previously averse publishers to learn the ropes of commissioning translations - everyone wants their bit of Nordic Noir, and maybe this will spread to other genres.

Katherina Bielenberg (Maclehose Press), Bill Swainson (Bloomsbury) and Stefan Tobler (And Other Stories) were among those who talked about the processes and economics of publishing, and what it actually takes to get a beautiful book to the reader.

There was also useful stuff about contracts and negotiations, plenty of opportunity to meet and chat with other translators, put faces to names, do a bit of networking, discover useful resources and lovely-sounding books. And a very nice lunch!

In all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and useful day, which left me feeling inspired as well as much better informed. I'm going to have to make a point of getting to these things more often - Norwich really isn't a million miles from London, after all...

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