Winner of Translation Challenge 2017 announced at Hay Festival

Winner of Translation Challenge 2017 announced at Hay Festival

Dr Şebnem Susam-Saraeva, Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies at the University of Edinburgh, was announced the winner of this year's competition (English section) and of the prize of £250, at the Wales PEN Cymru event in Hay Festival this week.

The Translation Challenge is organized jointly by Wales PEN Cymru and Wales Literature Exchange, and is sponsored by Swansea University’s College of Arts and the Humanities.

The challenge this year was to translate a poem by the Turkish writer, küçük İskender, into English. The judge, Caroline Stockford, said: "İskender is a difficult poet to translate. Not only does he enjoy using wordplay and hidden meaning, it is not always easy to capture his spirit in the poems. However, the winning translation was a clear choice. It had a 'clean feel' to it. There was an ease to the language, its construction and layout which I think belied a lot of work underneath. The use of line breaks that differed from the original work made the poem more dramatic and easier to understand in English."

A poem in Turkish was chosen for the Translation Challenge 2017 because Wales PEN Cymru has focused much of its activity this year on Turkey and has been highlighting the current abuse of human and linguistic rights in that country. Wales PEN Cymru has been supporting Turkish writers and journalists who are currently suffering persecution and judge of the competition, Caroline Stockford, has been regularly visiting Turkey to be an observer at trials of Turkish journalists.

Sally Baker, Director of Wales PEN Cymru, said: " Our organisation has the support of language and linguistic rights at its core and so I am delighted that again this year we have been able to work alongside our partners, Wales Literature Exchange, to promote the important role of translators in helping to nurture international relations and to make literature travel, and to demonstrate the importance and difficulty of creative translation."

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