The Recognition of Book Translations

The Best Translated Book Awards every year aims to celebrate and raise attention to the best international fiction available in the United States. It is an American award given to one book of poetry and another of fiction. Through winning these awards, Amazon’s Literary Partnership program awards $20,000 to the winning books which is split equally between the author and translator.

Who exactly are these award winning translators?

The 2016 winners for fiction is Signs Preceding the End of the World, written by Yuri Herrera and translated by Lisa Dillman. Herrera has now become the first Spanish author to receive this prestigious award. When talking to the Guardian newspaper, Herrera made a statement praising the work of the translator Lisa Dillman for the “near perfect artistic convergence of translator and author”. He agreed that translators need greater recognition for their work and better pay to reflect the challenging work.

Angélica Freitas’s Rilke Shake, translated from Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan won the best poetry work. Hilary Kaplan not only won a Best Translated Book Award but was also shortlisted for a PEN Award for poetry in translation. Her translations of Brazilian poetry have even been played on BBC Radio 4. What an incredible talent!

Translators, like Lisa Dillman and Hilary Kaplan, are continually increasing the amount of recognition and awareness surrounding translators. Their work is normally hidden in the background but now is the time to start celebrating their awesome talents and skill!

As we’ve mentioned before, books are currently being translated into over 91 languages, with French and Italian authors being the most popular in the UK. This growing popularity could be related to our growing desire to travel and explore new cultures.

So next time you pick a book to read, you should definitely consider choosing an international one as an alternative. Let’s keep increasing the awareness of international authors!

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