Winner of the 2018 Her Gyfieithu (Translation Challenge) Announced

Winner of the 2018 Her Gyfieithu (Translation Challenge) Announced

Llewelyn Hopwood has been proclaimed the winner of the 2018 Wales Literature Exchange and Wales PEN Cymru Her Gyfieithu (Welsh-language Translation Challenge).

Originally from Carmarthen, Llewelyn Hopwood currently eads modern languages at Jesus College, Oxford.  He will receives a £100 cash prize donated by Mercator International and a beautiful Her Gyfieithu staff, carved by Elis Gwyn Jones and and sponsored by Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru.  His winning translation will also be published by Welsh-language literary magazine, O’r Pedwar Gwynt.

This year, the chosen work for the challenge was a poem in Catalan by Laia Martinez i Lopez (or Laia Malo).  The untitled poem first appeared in November 2017 in the digital newspaper Vilaweb, one of a series by different poets under the title ‘Proclames de Llibertat’ (Freedom Proclamations) which registered their response to the situation in Catalunya.

Twelve entries came to hand and the adjudicator Ned Thomas commented:  “This was an interesting but very difficult competition to assess. Each of the top six entries excelled in some respect and I needed to take varying factors into consideration. Some translators had kept very close to the order of the original lines without disturbing the natural syntax of the Welsh language; others had taken greater risks, changing the form and order of the lines significantly while keeping the spirit and message of the original poem. Rhu Tywi’s translation was in this latter category. His adventurous but disciplined translation makes him this year’s very deserving winner.”

The Translation Challenge was set up in 2008 by Tŷ Cyfieithu; a partnership between Wales Literature Exchange and Tŷ Newydd, in order to promote and encourage creative translation in Wales. For the last few years it has been co-ordinated by Wales Literature Exchange in partnership with Wales PEN Cymru.

Sally Baker, Wales PEN Cymru Director: “Wales PEN Cymru is extremely glad to be working in partnership with Wales Literature Exchange on the Her Gyfieithu again this year. The poem by Laia Martinez i Lopez was chosen as the poem has relevance to a specific situation in the world regarding freedom of expression and linguistic rights, in line with the objectives of Wales PEN Cymru and PEN International."

Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones of Wales Literature Exchange said: "A core element of the Her Gyfieithu is to get an understanding of a poem in one language and communicate it in another. While very few individuals are able to speak Welsh and Catalan, it is a language derived from Latin, which made it possible for a number of translators to use their knowledge of more familiar languages such as French, Spanish and Italian when approaching the text.”

  • The winning translation by Llewelyn Hopwood can be read on O’r Pedwar Gwynt’s website, here;
  • Read Ned Thomas adjudication on the Wales PEN Cymru, here;

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