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Otávio Banffy

Tips for aspiring literary translators

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Growing our article coverage a little bit, I wanted to give you guys something on a field that we haven't spoken much of yet. I'm talking about literary translations. Plenty of people have shown interest in it before, but we haven't had seen many examples of people specializing on that.

So today I'm sharing a blog post from Susan Bernofsky. She's a writer, translator and blogger, and from what she tells us in this post her tagline has been "literary translator" for quite some time now. She has various tips to give you when it comes to entering the world of literary translations.


I do get a lot of notes asking basically the same thing: If I’m interested in breaking into the field of literary translation, how do I start? How do I get published? Here’s the sort of advice I tend to give out, starting with the question: You do understand that being a literary translator is probably not a way to make a living without a day job, right? If that’s all right with you, keep reading.

That's probably not the most encouraging thing you'd like to hear right now, but keep in mind that this is true for most translation niches. Hell, even translation itself when starting out. She has quite a more promising paragraph at the end of the post on this matter.

Susan develops the post by talking about where you should publish your translations, she handles you a list of groups who might be potentially interesting in taking a look at your work, she mentions networking opportunities, how to connect with cultural institutes, and various other details worth checking out.

There are various words-of-warning, simple advice that go a long way in helping you assert your path, and I recommend you go take a look at it yourself.

I might add that plenty of her advice are also useful for people wanting to get into other fields, such as the game localization field.
I was surprised to notice that a town not too far away from my own here in Brazil had a translation contest a few months ago. Very obscure and I only came to hear it by word of mouth, but it was interesting to see something so distinct going around here.

Are you working within this field already? Share your stories! I believe @Aleksandra works with literary translations, yes?
Also, do tell us how these tips helped you out on your business. :)

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