Alison Leyland 2010

A commercial translator who turned her hand to fiction has won the 2010 Translation Challenge which was jointly organised this year by Translators' House Wales and Oxfam Cymru.

In a special ceremony at Tŷ Newydd National Writers' Centre in Llanystumdwy, Alison Layland from Llangynog in Montgomeryshire, was announced as the English winner of this year's challenge.

During the ceremony, held on Saturday September 4, 2010 as part of the centre's 21st anniversary celebrations,  Alison was presented with the 2010 Bardic Staff by the Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones AM.

She was one of thirty-six entrants for the competition to translate from French an extract from the short story, La folie était venue avec la pluie, by Haitian author, Yanick Lahens.

The judges for the competition were author and translator, Patrick McGuinness, and the dramatist and translator, Gareth Miles.

Alison, who is a professional commercial translator, says she was delighted but surprised to win a literary competition although she writes creatively herself.  She was drawn to the subject matter of Haiti and was inspired by the original author's writing: "I knew little about Yanick Lahens before I begun on the task but her work is wonderful - she writes about Haiti's problems so directly and honestly - her writing is atmospheric and her characters strong. Translating literature gives me the chance to enter worlds and situations unknown to me." In receiving her prize Alison said that it would inspire her to concentrate further on translating literature in her spare time.

The Welsh winner of the Challenge, Marged Haycock, was announced during the 2010 Blaenau Gwent National Eisteddfod in August. Competitors could choose to translate from the original French into either Welsh or English. As part of their prize both Alison and Marged will be commissioned to translate Yanick Lahen's story in its entirety - one to English and the other to Welsh.