Thursday, 30 December 2010

New Books in German Emerging Translators Programme (14 January deadline)

A great-looking opportunity for aspiring literary translators from German to English:

New Books in German invites applications for its 2011 Emerging Translators Programme.

Six emerging German-English translators will take part in the project. Each translator will be commissioned to produce a sample translation of a book from the Spring 2011 issue of New Books in German. The translations will be commissioned at the beginning of February 2011, and completed by May 2011. Participants will be invited to a workshop in London in April, run by an experienced translator, where the group will work together on each sample translation.

Applicants are invited to send a short C.V. and a translation of the short story ‘Gran Partita’ from Andreas Neeser, Unsicherer Grund (reviewed in NBG 28), by January 14th.

Further Details

The Sample Translations:

The length of each sample is to be confirmed, but is likely to be in the region of 4,000 words. Each translator will be paid a fee for the sample, agreed in advance with New Books in German. An extract of each finished sample will be made available on the NBG website. English language publishers will then be able to request the full sample translation.

The Workshop:

To apply for the project you must be able to attend the workshop in London on Saturday 2 April 2011. Lunch and coffee/tea will be provided free of charge during the workshop. Limited travel grants for the workshop will be available for participants from outside London (likely to be in the region of £50). We regret that accommodation cannot be provided.

How to Apply:

Applications are invited from UK- and Ireland-based translators of German into English, who have not yet published (or been contracted to publish) a book-length literary translation. Applications should include a short C.V. and a translation into English of Andreas Neeser’s short story ‘Gran Partita’. Please email nbg at to request a copy of the story.

Both texts should be Microsoft Word documents, and emailed to: nbg at

The deadline for complete applications is 5pm on Friday 14 January.

Translation competitions (German-English, Russian-Italian, any-English)

Just came across this 'concorso per traduttori esordienti' from Russian to Italian. The website says that 'L'Associazione Premio Gorky dà il via al concorso rivolto ai giovani talenti della traduzione letteraria. Il concorso vuole diventare un buon auspicio per i traduttori emergenti'. See here for the Russian text to be translated (by the end of February) and here for the rules.

Readers in the US translating from German might be interested in this competition for aspiring German to English literary translators (deadline 28 February 2011).

Also, a deadline reminder for the Dryden Prize for unpublished literary translations from any language into English, jointly organised by the British Comparative Literature Association and the British Centre for Literary Translation. The deadline for 2011 is 14 February (postal entries only).

Review of Flaubert translated by Lydia Davis

A rich, interesting review by Julian Barnes in the London Review of Books of Lydia Davis's new translation of Flaubert's Madame Bovary. The review gets right into the nitty-gritty of the text.

For more by and on Davis as a translator of Flaubert, see here. On her previous translations see this exchange about her translation of Proust in the New York Review of Books. For a thought-provoking example of intertextuality in Davis's work not directly related to translation, see here.

CFP: Extratext, paratext and metatext in translation, Newcastle September 2011

An interesting CFP:

We are pleased to announce an International Conference to be held on 8th - 9th September 2011 at Newcastle University School of Modern Languages. This is one of a series of events which will be held to celebrate the centenary of Modern Languages at Newcastle University. The theme of the conference is

'Text, Extra-text, Meta-text, and Para-text in Translation and Interpreting'

For this ground-breaking conference we invite papers on the implications of the texts (including graphics) which surround and support translations and interpreting. We welcome contrastive, comparative, analytical and critical studies of any aspect of text, extra-text, meta-text, and para-text attached to or applied to translation and interpreting.  This includes preface, foreword, epilogue, postscript, footnotes, endnotes, bio-notes, internal and external illustration, blurb, review, and publicity, layout, book jackets, and illustrations which accompany and affect translation or interpreting. Any language pair will be considered, and any areas we have not thought of will be doubly welcome. We envisage four parallel panels: 1. Extra-text in Translation; 2. Meta-text in Translation; 3. Para-text in Translation; 4. Extra-text, Meta-text and Para-text in Interpreting.

Please send your abstract of not more than 250 words to Valerie.Pellatt at by March 31st 2011.
More information at

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

5 fellowships in translation research training: deadline 31 January 2011

This may be of interest to doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in Translation Studies:

TIME (Translation Research Training: An integrated and intersectoral model for Europe)  is offering 4 Early Stage Researcher (ESR) Fellowships (2011-2014) and 1 Experienced Researcher (ER) Fellowship (2011-2013)

Coordinator: Reine Meylaerts (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)

Partners: Yves Gambier (University of Turku, Finland), Anthony Pym (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain) and Christina Schaeffner (Aston University, UK)

Associated partners: Amnesty International Vlaanderen, Lionbridge International, Logoscript and Observatoire social européen


*   Subproject 1: Translation Technologies: For a Humanization of Efficiencies and Usability
*   Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, Spain)
*   Subproject 2: Multimedia and Multimodal Translation: Accessibility and Reception [a+b]
*   University of Turku (Finland)
*   Subproject 3: Translating for the Minorities: Linguistic Diversity and Integration in Europe
*   K.U.Leuven (Belgium)
*   Subproject 4: Transformation through Translation: Media Representation of Political Discourse in Europe
*   Aston University (UK)

Applications for one of the positions should consist of:

·         Reading carefully the criteria for eligibility (
·         Filling in the application form (
·         A letter of motivation
·         A curriculum vitae
·         A letter of recommendation and/or the name and contact details of at least two academic references

You can send your CV, letter of motivation, letter of recommendation and/or the names and contact details of at least two academic references by email to steven.dewallens at

Application deadline: 31 January 2011

Further information
·         are invited to visit and are asked to read carefully the criteria for eligibility;
·         can contact Reine Meylaerts (reine.meylaerts at, Yves Gambier (gambier at, Anthony Pym (anthony.pym at or Christina Schaeffner (c.schaeffner at for further information.

Translation taster, short course and summer school, London 2011

This just came round, and may be of interest. Research students may be able to apply for a subsidy to attend:

We are told that:

This is to announce a new research-training initiative, funded by the AHRC, the School of Advanced Study at the University of London [SAS] and the University of Westminster. It is a collaboration between the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies [IGRS], Westminster University and the Translators Association of the Society of Authors, UK.

The project offers training for native Anglophones who have an advanced knowledge of one or more other languages (research students and others) to develop their translation skills under the tutorship of professionals in the field: seven translators and an editor. The courses take three forms:

·         Online training, freely available on the SAS VLE, moodle ? these courses (Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish & Editing Skills) will be uploaded in spring 2011;
·         A Taster Event (8-9 April 2011) at the IGRS, London: classes in French, German, Russian & Spanish;
·         A Summer School (18-23 July 2011) at the IGRS, London: classes in Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish & Editing Skills.

To apply for the Taster Event and/or the Summer School, follow the url below. Please observe the deadlines as places are limited to 80, and UK student subsidies limited to 20, at each event.

Following completion of any of these courses, you may apply to take an examination and, if successful, be entered on a Database of Academic Translators & Editors [DATE], which will be set up in 2011-12.

For a copy of the project poster, email either igrs at or naomi.segal at

The editing skills initiative is a particularly good idea imho. 

Friday, 10 December 2010

Anthony Burgess Foundation PhD bursary (deadline 31 January 2011)

Have just seen a bursary announcement (details below) for future PhD researchers interested in the work of Anthony Burgess. Since Burgess was also a prolific translator from several languages, this may also be of interest to TS researchers:

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD bursary to support a student researching the literature or music of Anthony Burgess. The bursary, which is tenable anywhere in the world, will be awarded to a scholar who is beginning his or her studies in the academic year 2011-12.

Applicants should submit a detailed project proposal and two academic references (in English). To be eligible for the bursary, applicants should already have been offered a place on an accredited university PhD programme.

For further information, please write to
director at

The closing date for applications is 31 January 2011.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Maureen Freely on Pamuk, Harvill Secker book draw

Reading a very interesting blog post by Maureen Freely, translator of the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, who talks about the political and economic repercussions of her work. (And reveals that astonishingly, UK university research departments still don't seem to have solved the problem of how to acknowledge translation among other scholarly work. Sigh.)

On a more festive note, in the same blog post, Harvill Secker, one of the UK's most assiduous and best-respected translation publishers, is holding a book draw to celebrate its 100th birthday this year. HS is giving away a library of 50 books to a lucky reader. To enter the prize draw, 'email your favourite piece of translated writing – fiction or non‑fiction – to review at by Wednesday 1 December, putting "translation" in the subject field'.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

PhD fellowships: Text and Event in Early Modern Europe

Readers considering PhD study in translation may be interested in these Erasmus Mundus Fellowships for PhD projects in early modern studies. 

TEEME - Text and Event in Early Modern Europe - is an international doctoral programme in early modern studies funded by the European Union. It is structured around a unique collaboration between university-based researchers in the Humanities and the cultural and creative sector in four EU countries:

* The University of Kent [(United Kingdom) Coordinating institution
* Freie Universität Berlin (Germany)
* Universidade do Porto (Portugal)
* Univerzita Karlova v Praze (Czech Republic)

[1] Abraham Ortelius, world map (1570)
The need to make the past inform the present in new and substantially different ways is painfully evident in everyday public discourse. For instance, present debates about the ‘clash of cultures’ and the tensions between the local and the global dangerously ignore the experience of our early modern forbears who first ventured out beyond Europe to encounter other cultures, peoples, and religions. Close historical attention reveals that these early encounter stories cannot easily be reduced, as they often are in public perception, to any facile and clear-cut binaries such as the opposition between ‘colonizer’ and ‘colonized’, between Christians and ‘heathens’ (often actually Muslims, Hindus or Jews), or between mobile Europeans and static indigenous people. Instead, such historical encounters were frequently moments of exchange, interaction, and even mutual respect, in which both sides learned and benefited from each other. TEEME’s ambition is to rectify such historical distortions.

Through this central focus on the interface between past and present, the programme will both promote greater historical awareness of shared European origins, foster exchange among diverse European and non-European cultures, and offer a unique learning experience to both EU and international students. It will help control negative developments, such as violent nationalism or the radical distrust of foreign cultures, religions and peoples, that often emerge during economic crises and are exacerbated by the lack of nuanced historical understanding. At the same time the programme will enrich and improve current perceptions of European identities and their role in history, as well as engender the transformation of national cultural institutions through the input of knowledge and expertise from different cultures.

For the first edition of the programme, to be launched in September 2011, nine generously funded Fellowships are being offered for both EU and non-EU students. The deadline for applications is 16th January 2011. Further details about the programme and the Fellowships are available on the TEEME website:

CETRA translation research summer school

For anyone interested in doctoral research training in Translation Studies:
CETRA 2011

Twenty-third Research Summer School


Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium


22 August - 2 September 2011
CETRA Chair Professor:
Christina Schaeffner
Aston University

In 1989 José Lambert created a special research program in Translation Studies at the University of Leuven in order to promote research training in the study of translational phenomena and to stimulate high-level research into the cultural functions of translation. Since then, this unique program has attracted talented PhD students and young scholars who spend two weeks of research under the supervision of a team of prominent scholars, and under the supervision of the Chair Professor, an annually appointed expert in the field of Translation Studies. From 1989 on, the program has hosted participants from Austria to Australia, from Brazil to Burundi, and from China to the Czech Republic.

The list of CETRA professors may serve as an illustration of the program’s openness to the different currents in the international world of Translation Studies: Gideon Toury (Tel Aviv, 1989), Hans Vermeer (Heidelberg, 1990), Susan Bassnett (Warwick, 1991), Albrecht Neubert (Leipzig, 1992), Daniel Gile (Paris, 1993), Mary Snell-Hornby (Vienna, 1994), †André Lefevere (Austin, 1995), Anthony Pym (Tarragona, 1996), Yves Gambier (Turku, 1997), Lawrence Venuti (Philadelphia, 1998), Andrew Chesterman (Helsinki, 1999), Christiane Nord (Magdeburg, 2000), Mona Baker (Manchester, 2001), Maria Tymoczko (Amherst, Massachusetts, 2002), Ian Mason (Edinburgh, 2003), Michael Cronin (Dublin, 2004), †Daniel Simeoni (Toronto, 2005), Harish Trivedi (Delhi, 2006), Miriam Shlesinger (Tel Aviv, 2007), Kirsten Malmkjaer (London, 2008), Martha Cheung (Hong Kong, 2009), Sherry Simon (Montreal, 2010).

Basic activities and components of the Summer Session:
  1. Public Lectures by the CETRA Professor on key topics. A preliminary reading list will be furnished and all topics are to be further developed in discussions.
  2. Theoretical-methodological seminars given by the CETRA staff. Basic reading materials will be made available in advance.
  3. Tutorials: individual discussions of participants’ research with the CETRA Professor and the CETRA staff.
  4. Students’ papers: presentation of participants’ individual research projects followed by open discussion.
  5. Publication: each participant is invited to submit an article based on the presentation, to be refereed and published on the CETRA website.
For further information:
- please contact Reine Meylaerts: reine.meylaerts at
- please see our website:

Sibley Translation Prize (JP-EN)

Readers translating out of Japanese may be interested in the new Sibley Translation Prize. I was particularly interested to see that this includes the translation of literary scholarship as well as literary texts (see a previous post on translating research):

To honor their late colleague William F. Sibley, The Department of East Asian Languages & Civilizations and the Committee on Japanese Studies of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago have established the William F. Sibley Memorial Translation Prize in Japanese Literature and Literary Studies. The competition will be held annually and judged by members of the Committee on Japanese Studies.

In keeping with William Sibley’s lifelong devotion to translation and to the place of literature in the classroom, up to three awards of $2500 each will be given for the translation from Japanese into English of a work of fiction, poetry, or drama (including screenplays), or scholarship in literary studies, broadly understood. To encourage classroom use and comparative research, winning entries will be published on the Center for East Asian Studies website (

Submissions should be on the scale of short story rather than novel, on the one hand, but a body of poetry rather than single poems, on the other. Essays, reportage, and criticism are all genres for consideration. Retranslations of works previously translated, especially of premodern literature, may also be submitted. Translations of manga and anime will not be accepted, but scholarly essays about these genres will be considered. Translations of subtitles, no; scenarios, yes. Co-translations are acceptable.

The deadline for the first competition is December 1, 2010. For more information see the CEAS website.

Napoli 2010, 22-29 November: Translating (in) Europe

Readers near Naples might be interested in the festival "Translating (in) Europe", a week of talks, seminars and events covering many aspects of translation. According to the press release:

It will take place in Naples from the 22nd to the 29th November 2010. The Translation Festival is the last event of the E.S.T. Biennale ("Europe as a Space of Translation",, a project promoted by the European Union and led by Università degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale", Université Paris VIII and Universität Wien. You can download the programme of the Festival by clicking on this link: The english version of the programme is available at:

Friday, 19 November 2010

volunteer translation: Global Voices

Further to a conversation about volunteer translation today, some readers might be interested in the Global Voices project, which aims to open up the blogosphere across languages. Project Lingua 'amplifies Global Voices stories in languages other than English with the help of volunteer translators. It opens the line of communication with non-English speaking bloggers and readers of Global Voices by translating content into other languages.'
Further information available at

A few more hints and tips here (worth sifting through the spam in the comments too).

The image is borrowed from with appreciation.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

online public service interpreting course

Some of our readers may be interested in this online interpreting course: 

UMass Medical Interpreting Online
Spring semester 2011, University of Massachusetts Amherst

This message is to announce that registration has opened for Medical Interpreting Online (CompLit 552). 
Please be advised that the first 28 students to register will be admitted. The class is invariably full, so those registering early improve their chances of being admitted. Class begins on Jan 19, 2011. The class is all online all the time, so you may do the work anytime from anywhere as long as you have a computer and can connect to the Internet.
The one semester course covers consecutive interpreting, sight translation, and telephone interpreting. Course content includes ethics, standards of practice, terminology building (anatomy, pediatrics, dental, labor, internal, orthopedics, cardiology, AIDS, neurology), medical procedures, threaded discussions, consecutive interpreting, and sight translation. Texts are by Angelleli, Mikkelson, Chavez, plus selected journal articles.  The instructor is Edwin Gentzler, Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Certificate Program in Interpreting Studies, and the lab assistant is Rio Hernandez, a graduate student in the MA in Translation Studies program and an experienced interpreter.

The class is multilingual, with most of the major languages included. Students passing the course will receive a certificate in Medical Interpreting issued by the Translation Center and are eligible for either 3 hours of academic credit. The course serves as one of the trainings recognized by national certification organizations such as IMIA in the process of becoming certified. The class is open to interpreters, translators, bilingual health care providers, nurses, doctors, emergency room personnel, intake coordinators, community educators, counselors, therapists, social workers, community support services personnel, and anyone interested in improving the quality of bi-lingual health care.

The cost for the course $417 per credit plus a $45 registration fee, or a total of $1296
. To register call Continuing Education at (413) 545-3653 or register online at The course is listed under Comparative Literature. For more information, please see our website at

The last day to register is Jan 30, to drop is Jan. 31, to withdraw is 2/1. Please feel free to contact Edwin Gentzler at gentzler at if you have any questions.

Nida School of Translation Studies, Italy, May 2011

The Nida School of Translation Studies
Misano Adriatico (Rimini), Italy
May 16-28, 2011
Call for Participants

The Nida Institute announces the 2011 Nida School of Translation Studies that will meet May 16-28, 2011 in Misano Adriatico (Rimini), Italy. Two distinguished scholars, Martha Cheung (Hong Kong Baptist University) and Vicente Rafael (University of Washington, Seattle) serve as Nida Professors this year and will develop this year's theme, "Translation and Ideology" in three lectures each.

Deepening and broadening the School's work is a diverse and eminent set of visiting faculty and staff lecturers: Stefano Arduini (Urbino, School co-director), Annalisa Baicchi (Pavia), Roy Ciampa (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), Edwin Gentzler (UMass-Amherst), Valerie Henitiuk (East Anglia), James Maxey (Nida Institute), John Milton (San Paolo), Siri Nergaard (Bologna), Christiane Nord (Magdeburg), Phil Noss (Nida Institute), Martha Pulido (Medellín), Doug Robinson (Lingnam), Christo van der Merwe (Stellenbosch), Babli Moitra Saraf (Delhi), Paul Soukup S.J., (Santa Clara) Phil Towner (Nida Institute, School co-director) and Lourens de Vries (Amsterdam).

Successful applicants will have an earned Ph.D. (or, a nearly completed one), a strong record of research, and professional experience in translating or interpreting. The deadline for applications is March 1, 2011.

For information on how to apply for admission and a limited number of small bursaries, go to

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

in-house translation posts

In-house translation jobs advertised here and here.

On working as an in-house translator see this post on the Prospects website. 

The company EV translations seems to be advertising in-house posts, freelance posts and internships for French, English and German native speakers at their offices in Germany, Nottingham and Atlanta.

post-doctoral fellowships in Berlin, deadline 10 January 2011

Some of our readers may be interested in these interdisciplinary opportunities for post-doctoral research, also open to TS researchers:

(Location Berlin / Deadline: 10 January 2011)

The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin invite scholars to apply for ten post-doctoral fellowships for the research program


This research program seeks to rethink key concepts and premises that link and divide Europe and the Middle East. The project draws on the international expertise of scholars in and outside of Germany and is embedded in university and extra-university research institutions in Berlin. 'Europe in the Middle East - The Middle East in Europe' supports historical-critical philology, rigorous engagement with the literatures of the Middle East and their histories, the social history of cities and the study of Middle Eastern political and philosophical thought (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular) as central fields of research not only for area or cultural studies, but also for European intellectual history and other  academic disciplines. For more information on the program please visit

The program explores modernity as a historical space and conceptual frame. The program puts forward three programmatic ideas:

1) supporting research that demonstrates the rich and complex historical legacies and entanglements between Europe and the Middle East;
2) reexamining genealogical notions of mythical 'beginnings', 'origins', and 'purity' in relation to culture and society; and
3) rethinking key concepts of a shared modernity in light of contemporary cultural, social, and political entanglements that supersede identity discourses as well as national, cultural or regional canons and epistemologies that were established in the nineteenth century.

The program 'Europe in the Middle East - The Middle East in Europe' supports and builds upon the following interconnected research fields:

This research group is directed by Ulrike Freitag and Nora Lafi, both of the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin. It contributes to the debate on plurality, citizenship and civil society from the historical experience of conviviality and socio-cultural, and religious differences in the cities around the Mediterranean;

ISLAMIC DISCOURSE CONTESTED: MIDDLE EASTERN AND EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVES This research group is directed by Gudrun Kraemer, Institute for Islamic Studies, Freie Universitaet Berlin. It analyzes modern Middle Eastern thought and discourses in the framework of theories of multiple or reflexive modernities;

PERSPECTIVES ON THE QUR'AN: NEGOTIATING DIFFERENT VIEWS OF A SHARED HISTORY This research group is directed by Angelika Neuwirth, Seminar for Arabic Studies, Freie Universitaet Berlin, and Stefan Wild, Universitaet Bonn. It situates the foundational text of Islam within the religious and literary landscape of late antiquity, early Islamic History and Arabic philology, and combines a historicization of its genesis with an analysis of its hermeneutics, its reception and perception in Europe and the Middle East;

TRAVELLING TRADITIONS: COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES ON NEAR EASTERN LITERATURES This research group is directed by Friederike Pannewick, Centrum fuer Nah- und Mitteloststudien, Philipps-Universitaet Marburg, and Samah Selim, Rutgers University. It reassesses literary entanglements and processes of canonization between Europe and the Middle East.

This is a special forum, directed by Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Ben Gurion University, that attempts to rethink
key concepts of modernity like secularity, tradition, or religion in the context of the experiences, interpretations, and critiques of Jews, Arabs, and Muslims in the Middle East and in Europe.


The fellowships are intended above all for scholars of art history, history, literature, philology, political philosophy, political science, religion and sociology who want to carry out their research projects in connection with the Berlin program. Fellows gain the opportunity to pursue research projects of their choice within the framework of one of the above-mentioned research fields and in relation to the program 'Europe in the Middle East - the Middle East in Europe'. In Berlin, they will be integrated into a university or non-university research institute. The working language of the research program is English. Fellows will receive a monthly stipend of 2.250. A copy of the call for applications can be found at

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Practical hints and tips for translators

Behold, some accumulated links to hints and tips from the translation profession which may be of interest to readers.

On responding to enquiries from potential clients, see here. Here's a post on what rates to charge with some good advice; it focuses on Japanese to English translation but advice is valid for other language pairs too. There is a simple, free translation price calculator gizmo for download here. You might also be interested in this very good blog post on translation rates. Corinne McKay's blog generally has useful thoughts on the translation industry (see also her post on how to be a better proofreader and her freelance best practices checklist). More hints and tips on marketing, quoting and other matters at the NakedTranslations blog here.

There's a lot of information out there to help translators who are starting out (too much, in fact); you can get a start from the careers in translation tag on this blog which lists job and placement opportunities as well as advice on good practice and links to practical hints and tips available on the web.

For anyone wondering whether they are too young or too old to make it as a translator, have a look at this. Judy and Dagmar Jenner at TranslationTimes have a nice post with advice for people wondering whether the translation profession is right for them. 

job links

Those of you looking for in-house translation jobs may find the sites, and of interest.

Freelancers, in-house staff and/or interns wanted by the German translation company Intraduct.

Translating and the Computer 32 conference, November 2010

Thanks to Stephen C. for suggesting this conference which may interest readers in the London area:


18-19 November 2010, De Vere West One (Oxford Circus) London

This will be the thirty-second conference in the series and is supported by BCS NLTSG, EAMT, ITI and TILP. The Aslib event draws together a diverse group of delegates, who will gain new insights and brainstorm ideas on the use of information technology for translation.

The keynote speakers this year are Olivier Pasteur, WTO, (Day One) and Phil Verghis, The Verghis Group (Day Two).

Day One Keynote:
Challenges at World Trade Organization: Evaluation and implementation of a Statistical Machine Translation System, Olivier Pasteur, World Trade Organization, Switzerland

Mr Pasteur will address the ongoing challenges of integrating statistical machine translation into the translation workflow of an organization such as his, in which significant requirements for technical correctness must be balanced against those for political sensitivity, while fending with such matters as talented but yet not computer-oriented professional translators, budget constraints and complex workflows, tight deadlines, high quality requirements as well as those dealing with translators' reluctance to accept the fundamental changes in their work that the integration of machine translation entails.

Day Two Keynote:
Implications of Culture on Support (and Translation), Phil Verghis, Verghis Group

You have your hands full as you bid for work across the world. Ever wonder what your customers are going through as they try to add globalization, virtual teams, multi-cultural relationships to the work they are already chartered to do? The good news is that once you understand the pressures support is under, and have a framework to better understand the differences between cultures, you can begin looking at your service from a people, process and technology perspective. You might be able to make modifications that aren't particularly expensive or difficult to implement and yet add better margins. This presentation will draw on research by cultural experts and cultural anthropologists to help you differentiate between a 'rules based' culture and a 'relationship based' culture, and the profound implications for people, process, technology and communication across languages in a service environment.

Full details, including the latest programme, registration fees and how to exhibit, can be found at: or contact Nicole Adamides at: conferences at

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Webinar on financial translation

For those of you who missed Javier Gil's seminar on financial translation at Portsmouth last spring, he's doing two webinars on the same topic over the next few weeks for ECPDwebinars.

Javier Gil, former head of the Spanish Translation Services at KPMG Spain for around 5 years, now works as a self-employed translator with a number of international private companies and organisations. He has recently been selected as an External Translator for the European Central Bank and also has experience delivering workshops and seminars at universities in various countries.
Part 1 (11:30 - November 18th, 2010) 
Cost: £15
For further information and to register, CLICK HERE
Part 2 (11:30 - November 25th, 2010)
Cost: £15

For further information and to register, CLICK HERE

Recordings are available if you cannot attend on the day. Simply register and pay as normal and a link to the recording will be sent to you after the webinar has taken place. 

You can see a short interview with Javier on the occasion of his visit to Portsmouth here.

Literary translation events in London this winter

The British Centre for Literary Translation announces two forthcoming events on literary translation this winter in London: 


Sebald Lecture and Presentation of the 2010 Translation Prizes

Speaker: Ali Smith

7pm, Monday 31 January 2011
Kings Place, London

Tickets now on sale
The Sebald Lecture celebrates the best in contemporary translation, with readings and presentation of the annual Translation Prizes (administered by the Society of Authors). Prizes presented by Sir Peter Stothard, Editor of the Times Literary Supplement.

Translating Celan

23 November 2010

Goethe-Institut, London
Paul Celan, Europe's most compelling post-war poet, was a German-speaking, East European Jew. His writing exposes and illuminates the effects that Nazi destructiveness left on language. On the 90th anniversary of Paul Celan’s birth, translators and Celan experts discuss and debate his life, his poetry and approaches to translating his work. Speakers include Jean Boase-Beier, Ian Fairley, Charlotte Ryland and Wieland Hoban.
This event is organised by the Goethe-Institut and supported by BCLT.

For more information click here

Translated! An interactive festival of literary translation, Melbourne

Readers in Oz might be interested in TRANSLATED!: An Interactive Festival of Literary Translation

Monash University, School of Language, Cultures & Linguistics
February 7–12, 2011, The Wheeler Centre, Melbourne, Australia

The Interactive Festival of Literary Translation is aimed at early- to mid-career translators and will involve a week-long residential program of hands-on translation practice, as well as a number of public events such as talks and panel discussions addressing various aspects of the theory, practice and business of literary translation.
Hands-on practice will be offered in the form of daily language-specific workshops led by an expert translator and the author of the text to be translated. Each workshop group will comprise 10–15 participants and will be led by an expert translator with the involvement of the author of the text to be translated. The participants will be organised into three groups:
* French–English (mono-directional) with translator Jean Anderson and author Moetai Brotherson
* Spanish–English (mono-directional) with translator Peter Bush and author Jorge Carrion
* German–English AND English–German (bi-directional) with translator & author Heike Brand and author Elizabeth Honey
Translated! will provide a stimulating opportunity for translators and writers to work together and learn from one another as well as from literary professionals, creating a practical and coherent mechanism for improving the quantity, quality and dissemination of literature in translation published in Australia.

For more information visit:

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Translation lecture, London, 8 December

Selling the Book by its Cover: bindings and translated crime fiction
Carol O'Sullivan
Wednesday 8 December, 6.30 pm, City University, London

For readers of this blog in London, I will be giving a lecture at City University on the presentation of crime fiction in translation on 8 December. There has been a surge of interest in translated crime fiction with the recent worldwide success of authors such as Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson. This follows on from the successes of earlier novelists including Umberto Eco and Peter Høeg.

This lecture considers the translation of contemporary crime fiction into English from the perspective of what Keith Harvey has called the 'binding', or the cover images and text which frame the book for readers.

Bindings address themselves to a particular audience, and also guide readers' expectations and interpretations of a book's content. The lecture will consider some key elements of bindings in the selling of crime fiction, including issues of national stereotyping, branding and paratextual norms.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Scholarly translation and the enhancement of the humanities

Having recently been involved in the editing of a trilingual collection of essays on translation, I have been thinking about translation and its role in the internationalisation of disciplines. Researchers don't generally have budgets for translation, so if you don't speak a particular language, and a monograph or article has been written on that language in one of your research specialisms, then tough luck. This is a problem that was recently flagged up by the British Academy, which is, understandably, concerned that UK research will become insular as generations of researchers with limited foreign language skills set the agenda for what research should be doing. According to the British Academy's Language Matters position paper,  another likely outcome is that international research will be carried out by researchers from elsewhere, who can offer the language skills UK graduates are short of. This affects the employability and competitiveness of UK researchers.

Let's hope that more can be done to enhance the language skills of British researchers in all disciplines. Meanwhile, since researchers can't speak all languages, translation also has a role to play. Abstracts in lingua francas like English and French, already standard in many journals, help to indicate whether an article might be worth translating. Machine translation is unlikely to produce usable results, but the possibility of running an electronic copy of a publication through machine translation software to discover whether it is worth finding funding to get it translated, or worth commissioning a translation of it for a journal, is attractive.

I was interested to come across several different approaches to this problem recently. The Handbook of Translation Studies published by John Benjamins invites translations of its content, which should be submitted to the editors. Translations in Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, German, Portuguese, and Spanish of English language originals already uploaded online can be submitted for consideration and, upon acceptance, may be added to the online edition.

The Translation Committee of the SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies) instituted a Translation Gallery of film and media publications which SCMS members would like to see translated (the page seems to have disappeared in the recent revamp of the SCMS site but I'll post it if and when it reappears). 

The OAH (Organisation of American Historians) funds the David Thelen Award each year for articles published in the field in a language other than English. The prize-winning article is then translated and published in The Journal of American History. This seems a really good initiative, and one that could usefully be taken up by other scholarly associations as well. (It's just a pity that the published translation seem to be have been translated by magic - no translators are named, and no reference seems to be made in the journal to the translated status of the articles).

The European Society for Translation Studies (EST) has recently been discussing a grant initiative to promote translation within TS, and we'd be interested to hear comments on this too.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

translation seminars and workshops round the UK and the web

A big hello to old and new friends met at the translation conference yesterday - it was lovely to see you all there. For those of you in the UK who couldn't make the conference, a quick reminder that there's a really good choice of translation seminars to attend round the country this autumn. Seminar series that might interest you are running at Manchester, Roehampton and Imperial.

Those of you who can't make any of these might like to look up Anthony Pym's series of filmed lectures and interviews with prominent researchers in Translation Studies.

Resources and events with a more practical/professional emphasis include the recently updated 'talking with the translators' videos on the Translation at Portsmouth site, the ECPDwebinars launched by the Chartered Institute of Linguists, or the forthcoming 'Style Matters' workshop, led by Ros Schwartz and Chris Durban, in Cardiff on 21 November, organised by the Association of Welsh Translators and Interpreters.

Banff international literary translation residencies 2011

Literary translators out there may be interested in the 2011 Banff international literary translation residencies.

The Banff International Literary Translation Centre is open to literary translators from Canada, Mexico, and the United States translating from any language, and to international translators working on literature from the Americas. The annual BILTC residency program has places for 15 translators. Since the inaugural program in 2003, the program has hosted translators from 26 countries, translating work involving 36 languages.
Applicants must have published at least one book-length literary translation (or equivalent) and participants are selected on the basis of material submitted to the Advisory Council. Eligible projects include translations of works of fiction, literary essays and biography, poetry, oral tradition, children’s literature, and drama.
Priority is given to projects that have signed publishing contracts. Financial aid is available to cover costs.

The deadline for applications is 15 February 2011.

My favourite free thing on the web

I wanted to share my current favourite link. For anyone who spends a lot of time online, allow me to recommend Readability. In the words of its makers, it's 'a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you're reading'. It's free, it's easy to install and it makes a ginormous difference if you have to read long stretches of text on screen.

Monday, 1 November 2010

John Dryden Translation Competition 2011 (closing date 14 February)

Entries are invited for the 2011 John Dryden Translation Competition, a long-running literary translation prize jointly sponsored by the British Comparative Literature Association and the British Centre for Literary Translation.
Entries must be translations of (extracts from) literary works of any period and from any language into English. There are cash prizes and winning entries will be published. The existence of copyright in any work places no restriction on its translation but only, in some cases, on publication of a translation. Translations of work previously translated are acceptable.

Entries must be the original work of the translator and must be unpublished. Entries may be the collective work of any number of translators.

There are no limitations on entrants with respect to age, nationality, place of residence, or professional status. Submissions and judging are strictly anonymous.

The closing date for receipt of entries (which must be by post) is 14 February 2011.

Further details can be found on the website.  Good luck to any readers of this blog who decide to enter!

last chance to register for Portsmouth Translation Conference

Dear all,

Just a quick reminder to anyone who was thinking of coming to this year's conference that it's on Saturday, and late registration is possible but please do so asap. All details on the conference website. Reviews of previous conferences by Blogging Translator, Doc Byrne and Sarah Dillon may be of interest. I'm really looking forward to seeing folks there!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Translation Research Summer School 2011

Graduate students early in their PhD or thinking about doing a PhD might be interested in the 2011 Translation Research Summer School. Next year's summer school takes place from 27 June - 8 July 2011 at the University of Manchester:

The Translation Research Summer School (TRSS) is a joint initiative of three British universities and the Hong Kong Baptist University. Every year TRSS organizes summer schools in the UK and in Hong Kong, offering intensive research training in translation and intercultural studies for prospective researchers in the field.

Specialist theme for TRSS UK 2011: Agency in Translation and Interpreting

Other modules include:
* Theoretical Approaches to Translation Studies
* Research Methods in Translation Studies
* Research Design & Dynamics

The Summer School syllabus is delivered through lectures, seminars and small-group tutorials by core TRSS staff from the partner institutions (University of Manchester, University of Edinburgh, University College London and Hong Kong Baptist University) and invited colleages.

TRSS UK 2011 is delighted to announce that its guest lecture will be delivered by Professor Hélène Buzelin, University of Montreal. Professor Buzelin will also offer a research methodology seminar and tutorials.

Applicants to the Summer School should normally hold the degree of Master of Arts or equivalent, in a relevant subject, should be proficient in English and should either have started or be actively considering research in translation and/or intercultural studies.

Registration fees: 975 GBP for sponsored students, 680 GBP for self-funded students.
Early application deadline: 15 January 2011 (to facilitate funding/visa applications)
Second application deadline: 30 April 2011

More details on course content and application procedures can be found on the Translation Research Summer School website at

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Stephen Fry on language

An impassioned plea for more fun and less pedantry in language use, by the living national treasure Stephen Fry:

Something to bear in mind the next time you catch yourself tsk-ing over an apostrophe. Unless, of course, it's in one of your own translations...

Friday, 22 October 2010

Translation events in New York

Readers in New York may be interested in a couple of upcoming events at the Center for Translation Studies at Barnard.  There's a nice-looking conference on literature and music, and there's also this intriguing event:

Translation as Performance from Español into English: A multimedia demonstration

Thursday, November 18, 2010, 6-8 p.m.
James Room, 4th floor, Barnard Hall

A text is usually translated in isolation. At this event, however, two translators will encounter a text in performance — rendering it from Spanish into English in real-time, as it is projected on adjacent screens. The audience will thus be able to experience the act of translation at first hand, comparing the choices made by either translator in the “alchemical” transformation of a text from one language into another. Marko Miletich (Hunter College) will act as moderator. Refreshments will be served.

translation traineeships in the European institutions

Some of our readers may be interested in these paid translation traineeships in the European Parliament. There are also unpaid translation traineeships. Please note the eligibility conditions. This is a different scheme from the translation traineeships at the Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Jabbering wockily

Thanks again to Charlotte T. for this link to a wonderful site collecting translations of Lewis Carroll's 'Jabberwocky'. Why is it that impossible texts galvanise so many translators into having a go (some of them, like Henri Parisot, more than once)? Thoughts on any of these translations, or the many further translations which aren't included, or your own translations, should the humour take you, are very welcome in the comments...

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

words accepted and rejected

Just saw a nice piece in the Economist about the use of borrowed words and phrases from other languages: when to translate? When not to translate?

There's also a silly piece in the Telegraph about the words that didn't make it into the OED but sit, rejected, in a vault somewhere slowly sliding into obsolescence - or not? The 'nudenda' and the 'nonversation' may never make it out of the vault, but I'd like to put in a good word for 'freegans' and for 'earworms'. I got an earworm only just the other day. What did we call it, anyway, when we heard a song without noticing on the radio and then went around singing it all day? If anybody can think of a better word for it than earworm I will be very surprised.

North-West Translators Network

Readers in the north-west of England may be interested in the North-West Translators Network. The Network runs a series of training and other events for members. Membership is (I think) free for students.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

jobs with the United Nations (UNESCO, FAO, etc.)

This job at UNESCO might be of interest to readers translating from Arabic and French into English: Other jobs with translation are advertised at including this job in Washington for an experienced Spanish to English translator/project manager; this job for a French native speaker translator/reviser in Rome at the FAO; this post for Arabic field interpreters/translators in Jordan.

Monday, 18 October 2010

registration open for Portsmouth translation conference, 6 November

Dear all,

Registration is now open for the tenth international Portsmouth translation conference which will be held on Saturday 6 November in Park Building. This year's theme is 'Word, Image, Text...?' Translating Multimodalities'.

Translation is all about the written word, but in our media environment words carry only part of meaning. In comics, videogames, instruction manuals, films and on the web words interact with still and moving images, diagrams, music, typography and page layout. These meaning-making strategies are used for promotional, political, expressive and informative purposes which must be understood and accounted for by translators.
The tenth annual Portsmouth translation conference brings together scholars, translators and students for a day of talks and workshops. Workshop topics include videogame localisation, subtitling gestures, drama translation and comics.
For more information see our website at The conference is supported by the National Network for Translation, an initiative of Routes into Languages. Registration is free for teachers at Key Stages 3-4 and A-level and undergraduates. Do feel free to pass on this link to friends and colleagues who might be interested.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

job opportunities at thebigword

Some of you may be interested in in-house employment opportunities at thebigword, a large and growing translation service provider. More details of freelance opportunities with the company here.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

dodgy translations

The internet is chockers with snapshots of poorly translated signs, some of which we have turned into dinky translation exercises over at the Routes into Languages page. This one was so good I couldn't resist:

suckling room @ musashikoyama

(The image is copyright and thanks to TR4NSLATOR, aka Jed Schmidt, over on Flickr.)

So apparently accurate, and yet so tragically wrong...

volunteer translation/project management opportunity

Hi all,

For those of you looking for good volunteer translation opportunities, I have just been told about an organisation called the Rosetta Foundation, based in Ireland, who are looking for volunteer translators and project managers. The organisation's slogan is 'Relieve poverty, support healthcare, develop education and promote justice through access to information and knowledge across the languages of the world.' The CEO is a linguist and translator trainer who believes that
Access to information in my language is a human right that does not require a business case. As localisers and translators, it is our duty to ensure that this right is realized for all. We can no longer allow the localisation decision to be taken exclusively based on short-term financial return on investment. Access to information is as vital to people’s health, their freedom and their economic well-being as access to clean water, food and medicine.

PhD research funding, Hong Kong

Students seeking PhD research funding may be interested in the Hong Kong Fellowship Scheme. Translation is one of the subjects covered.

'The Research Grants Council of Hong Kong has launched a second round of the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme. The scheme aims to attract international research postgraduate students to Hong Kong’s best research institutions.
The fellowship provides a monthly stipend of US$2,600 and a conference and research related travel allowance of approximately US$1,300 per year for a period of three years. Study awards for 135 PhD students will commence in the 2011/12 academic year. The deadline to make your application is 1 December 2010.
More information about the Scheme can be found at
Ms Terry Chau, Education Partnerships Manager, British Council Hong Kong
terry.chau at
+852 2913 5113

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Mr Johnson's Dictionary

Many thanks to Isabella Z. for flagging up the presence on Google Books of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary - the first great English dictionary. It could be a valuable resource if you find yourself working with historical texts or with archaic vocabulary (or even just for pure delight in words). Google Books has the original 1766 edition and also later editions, including this one from the 1830s. They seem to be available to download as well.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Horse nonsense: Dante in Leicestershire

For all the recent research into translators' habitus, sociological approaches to translation and the like, I feel we have neglected a crucial area of the field (pre-emptive apologies are in order for a really awful pun). This was a bit of an epiphany, caused by reading a review in the Leicestershire Advertiser of 1 April 1854 of Ichabod C. Wright's translation of Dante, published by Henry Bohn. The review captivated me from line one:
We have often thought it strange that an acquaintance with Italian literature, either in the original or in translation, should be so extremely limited in Leicestershire.
The reviewer goes on to wonder at the neglect of Dante in the native county of the great (though unsung) translator I.C.Wright and attempts to remedy this by a deeply appreciative review of 'his exquisite translation' through which 'we first arrived at a full estimate of the force, and truth, and beauty of the Divina Comedia [sic]:
Mr. Wright has placed Dante in an English dress that is worthy of Italy's best and brightest bard. Rightly discarding that verbum pro verbo translation which Byron attempted in Pulci, Mr. Wright confines himself to a faithful transfusion of his author's spirit into his production; yet, so accurately is this accomplished, that we do not believe the whole volume contains a single passage in which violence is done to the sense of the original.
It is not until the footnotes of the review that we gain valuable insight into the translation context within which Wright elaborated his 'harmonious and consistent versification'. Here we are told that
the amiable and excellent translator of Dante is in the habit occasionally of recreating from his literary toils by joining the sports of the field. We well remember, shortly after the first appearance of his translation, in a run with the Quorn Hounds, he was for a time impounded in a quagmire, or ravine, when some wit - it might have been the late Lord Alvanley but we think it was Mr. Bruce C___pb_ll - perpetrated a triple pun on the subject:
There's Dante writin' Purgatorio!
There's Dante, right in Purgatorio!
There's 'Dante Wright' in Purgatorio!

The translator is further said to have a strong personal resemblance to the picture of the great Italian bard.
Perhaps it is worth thinking more deeply about the implications of the recent hunting ban for translation in the United Kingdom? 

Monday, 11 October 2010

2012 EU English-language translation competition

For those of you who have been living on Mars and have missed this summer's competition for English mother-tongue translators for the EU institutions, there is a rumour that there will be another similar competition in 2012.
If you are able to translate from at least two official EU languages into native-standard English and are interested in a varied, interesting, challenging and well-paid position as an EU institution translator, this may be of interest. You must also hold an EU passport to be eligible.

updated list of open access Translation Studies journals

I have updated the list of open access Translation Studies journals from a few months back with some new titles culled from the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

volunteer for Oxfam

From the website of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, an invitation to those of you with a keen eye for detail:

Oxfam GB - volunteer proofreaders.

If you are an experienced translator and would like to volunteer to proofread documents for publication around their programme and advocacy work, Oxfam would like to hear from you.

Languages required are: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic.

Please contact the translations team: translations at

Saturday, 9 October 2010

10:10:10: Translating by Numbers

In honour of the date that's in it, I have been thinking about the translation of numbers. We tend to think of numbers as invariant in a way which words aren't. In About Translation, Peter Newmark omits numbers from the set of phenomena which are culturally contingent, observing that 'figures, standard units, parts of the body, general features of nature, are universal', although 'many ecological features, as well as objects of common use, are culturally modified' (1991, p.115). Newmark is not alone; it even happens that agencies or clients ask for numbers to be deducted from the word count of a text on the basis that they don't need translation and therefore shouldn't be paid for. But are numbers really as easily transferable as all that? (Yes, that would be a rhetorical question).

Scales are certainly culturally bound, whether temperature (Fahrenheit, Centigrade/Celsius, Kelvin); weights (imperial and metric, tons and tonnes, ounces and grammes), measures (miles, kilometres, metres, furlongs, poles, perches, fathoms, yards, feet, inches, hands), areas (hectares, acres), currencies (guineas, pounds, shillings, groats, pence), volumes (pints, litres, gills, fluid ounces, gallons, quarts). Does one translate the numbers exactly or round them up or down? Well, it depends on what the number is doing. Here in Bon cop, bad cop a Québécois lab technician translates from metric, with due irony, for his colleague from Ontario, played by Colm Feore (click on the image to enlarge):

Some numbers have different cultural weight – compare 'sweet sixteen' and 'quinceañera'. Someone who is 'dressed up to the nines' in English could be 'tiré à quatre épingles' in French, or even 'sur son trente-et-un'. 'Otto giorni' and 'quindici giorni' in Italian are conventionally translated in English by 'a week' and 'a fortnight'. Even within a language, numbers may need translating – the first floor of a building in the UK is the second storey in the US. Some quarts are more equal than others. Sometimes it depends what end you count from: somebody who is in their twentieth year is in fact nineteen. An easy slip to make working from Italian to English is with centuries: the 'ottocento' [short for milleottocento] is the nineteenth century, not the eighteenth.

Numbers are formatted in different ways. The point which separates whole integers from fractions of an integer in English is a comma in languages such as Italian or Russian. The comma which separates thousands from hundreds in English is a point in Italian. Telephone numbers may be formatted in groups of two, three or more letters. Telephone numbers may need localising for a new environment, e.g. by adding or removing international dialling codes. For more on the translation of telephone numbers see this very good post on translationmusings.

Numbers may have a different rhetorical force: something that is 'tuppenny-ha'penny' or 'ten a penny' or 'two-bit' in English might be 'da quattro soldi' in Italian. The sound of the number may even be important. The fourth stanza of Rimbaud's poem 'Le bateau ivre' [The Drunken Boat] reads:
La tempête a béni mes éveils maritimes.
Plus léger qu'un bouchon j'ai dansé sur les flots
Qu'on appelle rouleurs éternels de victimes,
Dix nuits, sans regretter l'oeil niais des falots !
In Oliver Bernard's 1962 translation the verse reads:
The storm made bliss of my sea-borne awakenings.
Lighter than a cork, I danced on the waves
Which men call eternal rollers of victims,
For ten nights, without once missing the foolish eye of the harbor lights!
Samuel Beckett's translation of the verse, completed in Paris in 1932, reads:
I started awake to tempestuous hallowings.
Nine nights I danced like a cork on the billows, I danced
On the breakers, sacrificial, for ever and ever,
And the crass eye of the lanterns was expunged.
The poem has been translated many times and we could allow ourselves to be distracted by many different renderings, but let's just look at the 'dix nuits' in the fourth line. Bernard translates 'ten nights', as would most people. But sound is important in this poem (listen here for an audio recording of the French poem). For Beckett the assonance of 'dix nuits' can best be rendered by the serendipity of 'nine nights' – a decision in which he is followed by another Irishman, Derek Mahon, whose translation of the poem was published in 1991. 'Nine nights' gets two for the price of one: not only an assonance but also an alliteration. 'Ten nights' has neither. For more on Beckett's soundplay in this translation see Kathleen Shields' analysis here (warning for large file size).  Ironically, the fee Beckett received for the translation was also subject to a certain artistic licence; although he asked Edward Titus for a thousand (old) francs, the final fee was only seven hundred (Collected Poems, p.177). Plus ça change.

In Dezső Kosztolányi's 1933 vignette 'The Kleptomaniac Translator' an indigent kleptomaniac writer gets one last chance in the form of a commission to translate the pulp novel The Mysterious Castle of Count Vitsislav. Unfortunately, his kleptomania affects even unto his translation. The narrator is abruptly summoned by the outraged publisher. After a sleepless night poring over the manuscript and comparing it to the English original, he thinks he finally understands what happened. (Please note that I'm translating here from the French translation by Péter Adám and Maurice Regnault. Hungarian scholars kindly skip this bit):
The first line of the English original went like this: The old castle, which had survived so many storms, shone from all its thirty-six windows. The ballroom up on the first floor blazed with light from four crystal chandeliers… The Hungarian translation said: 'The old castle, which had survived so many storms, shone from all its twelve windows. The ballroom up on the first floor blazed with light from its two crystal chandeliers…' My eyes widened and I went on reading. On page three, the English novelist had written: 'Count Vitsislav smiled ironically, took out a fat wallet and threw them the requested amount, one thousand five hundred pounds sterling…' The Hungarian writer had translated as follows: 'Count Vitsislav took out his wallet and threw them the requested amount, one hundred and fifty pounds sterling…' I felt a touch of dread which, alas, over the next few minutes became a sad certainty. […] In the end I established that in his madness our comrade had, in the course of his translation, expropriated at the expense of the English original, wrongfully and without authorisation: 1,579,251 pounds sterling, 177 gold rings, 947 pearl necklaces, 181 fob watches, 309 pairs of earrings, 435 suitcases, not to mention houses, woodland and pastureland, ducal and baronial castles and other flotsam and jetsam, handkerchiefs, toothpicks and folderols which would be too long, and perhaps unproductive, to enumerate.
Kosztolányi's is a witty parable about the association between translation and loss. As the kleptomaniac translator proceeds through the text, "[m]ost of the time, unbeknownst to anyone, objects of value simply disappeared." Ironically, some of those objects of value seem to be an attempt to lend the pulp mystery story, described as "something fit only for the bin" a degree of distinction, but "[o]f the carpets, the chests and the silver destined to raise the literary tone of the English original, there was no trace in the Hungarian text. […] The worst thing, for me, that which confirmed his bad faith and cravenness, was the way in which he so often replaced precious stones and metals with base materials, rubbish, platinum with tinplate, gold with copper, diamonds with imitations or glass."

We know that if you want a good translation, you have to pay your translator properly. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys. The right translator will take care of both the pennies and the pounds in a text. 

One last question. If the population of Pottsville County is 1280, as Jim Thompson's 1964 novel sustains,

what happened to the other five in Marcel Duhamel's 1966 French translation?
(Thanks to Sam in Paris for this one). Answers on a postcard please.