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Dutch-English Literary Translation Workshop (10–13 September 2012)

14 September 2012

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The Dutch Department at UCL recently hosted an extremely successful four-day intensive workshop focusing on literary translation from Dutch into English. It enabled undergraduate and graduate students as well as recent Dutch studies alumni from four British universities to work together with an acclaimed Flemish writer and three distinguished professional translators, while meeting also first-hand with a literary editor and a representative from the British Centre for Literary Translation.

The event took place under the aegis of Virtual Dutch, a collaborative framework linking UCL with the universities of Sheffield, Cambridge and Nottingham. All eleven students and alumni attending the workshop had taken part in online translation projects before, working across institutions to produce joint translations of texts by various Dutch writers-in-residence. The workshop took this experience a step further by introducing the participants to the world of professional literary translation. Apart form closely engaging with two short stories by the Flemish author Annelies Verbeke, who was present throughout the workshop, the students received guidance from translators Jonathan Reeder, Antoinette Fawcett and Paul Vincent. In addition, talks by Gesche Ipsen, a literary editor at Pushkin Press, about publishing translations in the UK, and by Sara Bower about the mentoring scheme for young translators at the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT), gave a broader sense of the professional and commercial context of literary translation today. The event was jointly sponsored by Virtual Dutch and the Dutch-Flemish Centre of Expertise in Literary Translation, which in turn is supported by the Dutch Language Union.

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The enthusiasm generated by the workshop will produce aftershocks. Individual participants are likely to apply for the BCLT’s mentoring scheme and may approach the Flemish and Dutch Literature Funds to seek inclusion in the Funds’ lists of approved translators. Collectively they agreed, with the author’s permission, to translate several more stories from Annelies Verbeke’s new collection Veronderstellingen in the coming months. The translations will be mentored by Jonathan Reeder and may well find their way into print. No doubt some of the workshop participants will, in the years to come, make a name for themselves among the new generation of literary translators from Dutch.

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Page last modified on 21 sep 12 11:52 by Ulrich Tiedau