What translation awards can translators receive?

Every year, many translation awards are given to talented translators to recognize outstanding work. These awards recognize the savoir-faire of translators –sometimes little known– and allow them to make a name for themselves in the translation world. In this article, Cultures Connection looks at various translation awards from around the world.

What are the translation awards in the US?

The United States –one of the first countries that valued translators– has the most translation awards. In fact, several American associations including the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) give out numerous translation awards each year. Here’s a list of the most famous ALTA awards:

    • The PEN Translation Prize is the first American award for literary translators. Since 1963, this award has been given yearly in order to honor a translator for a prose translation from any foreign language into English;
    •  The National Translation Award is given yearly to a literary translator for outstanding translation. Since 1998, many talented translators have won this award and in the process have made a name for themselves on the translation market;
    • The Lucian Stryk Asian Translation Prize, established in 2009, promotes an Asian book translated into English;
    • The Italian Prose in Translation Award recognizes the importance of Italian literature, and awards a translation from Italian into English.

There are many other translation awards in the United States, such as those given by the American Translators Association (ATA), primarily to members of the prestigious association:

    • The ATA Rising Star Award recognizes the work of a young translator at the beginning of their career;
    • The Student Translation Award provides a scholarship to a student or group of students in translation;
    • The ATA Dynamo Award recognizes an energetic translator whose work has benefited the association or the translation market.

What translation awards are given in France?

The translation market also plays a significant role in France. It should be noted that 20% of the works marketed in France are translated works. This is why translators are eligible for numerous translation prizes each year. Cultures Connection has compiled a list of the most famous French prizes for you:

    • The Translation Revelation Prize (Révélation de traduction) is awarded every year by the Société des Gens de Lettres (SGDL), since 2017, and rewards the translation of a book into French by a young translator;
    • The Baudelaire Prize, also created by the SGDL in 1980, to honor the best French translation of a work in English whose author is British;
    • INALCO, the prestigious Parisian school, has established the Inalco-Vo/Vf Translation Prize in 2019, which rewards a translation from one of the 103 languages taught in this institute into French;
    • The Pierre-François Caillé Prize, created in 1981 by the Société Française des Traducteurs (SFT) in memory of one of its founders, recognizes the talent of a French translator in translating a literary work.

What about other countries?

You can find here some examples of translation prizes from other countries, awarded to the best translators:

    • In Spain, for example, the Esther Benitez Translation Prize (Premio de Traducción Esther Benitez) has been awarded since 2006 to the author of the best translation of a work into Spanish, Catalan, Basque or Galician. The award is named after a woman who fought for the recognition of translators’ rights;
    • In Russia, the Read Russia Prize is awarded every two years to salute the best translation of a work of Russian literature;
    • In Norway, the Bastian Prize is awarded to the best Norwegian literary translator of the year by the Norwegian Association of Literary Translators.

Translators all over the world may one day receive a translation award, regardless of their language of expertise. Often associated with a stipend, such awards give a chance for new and sometimes unknown translators to demonstrate their talent. If you are a translator and aspire to one of these awards, all you have to do is register and take part in the competition!

Laura Le Galliot

Translated by Marilène Haroux & Laura Le Galliot