The 2013 Typographical Translation Award


UPDATE: Voting for the first round has closed.  Click HERE to cast your vote for one the eight finalists.

It all started when I asked a simple question on Twitter yesterday.  Why in the HELL do the GoodReads Choice Awards not have a category dedicated to allowing users to vote for their favorite literary translation of the year?  There are twenty categories.  TWENTY.  Yet translations are completely ignored.  Thus the first ever Typographical Translation Award is born.  Lovers of international fiction, this is your chance to speak up and be heard!  You tell us, what was the best translation published in 2013?  Here’s how it works:

I’ve started the ball rolling by officially nominating 20 titles that appeared in English translation in the United States for the first time in 2013.  Some of these we’ve reviewed on the site, others we have not.  While no list can ever be all encompassing, I’ve done my best to select quality works spanning a wide variety of publishers, languages, countries, and subject matter.  In the interest of fairness, I’ve linked each title below directly to its publisher’s informational page and NOT, where applicable, to our review.  I’ve also included an “other” field as part of the poll where you can write-in a vote for your favorite novel if it didn’t make the list.  Any write-ins that are received will automatically be added to the poll so that others can vote for them as well.  I reserve the right to remove a title if it doesn’t qualify as an original work that was published in 2013.  Confused about what’s eligible?  Three Percent’s translation database is a great resource.

Voting is limited to one per IP address.  The polls will close on the evening of November 28th at which time I’ll reveal the results and the top 8 titles will move on to a final round of voting, with your overall champion being crowned on December 19th.

I’d like to give the winning author, translator, and publishing house a little something from Typographical Era (emphasis on the word little since we’re a tiny independent website ourselves), but I’m not sure what.  I’m open to creative suggestions.  Let me know your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below!  Questions and concerns can go there as well.

Congratulations to all of the nominees which are listed below and be sure to cast your vote wisely as once it has been submitted it cannot be changed.

All Dogs Are Blue
By Rodrigo de Souza Leao
Translated from the Portuguese by Zoe Perry
And Other Stories
My Struggle: Book Two
By Karl Ove Knausgaard
Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett
Cold Sea Stories
By Pawel Huelle
Translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd Jones
Comma Press
Under This Terrible Sun
By Carlos Busqued
Translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
Frisch & Co.
The Whispering Muse
By Sjon
Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb
The Fall of the Stone City
By Ismail Kadare
Translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson
The President’s Hat
By Antoine Laurain
Translated from the French by Jane Aitken
Gallic Books
The Infatuations
By Javier Marias
Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
Seiobo There Below
By Laszlo Krasznahorkai
Translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet
New Directions
By Arnon Grunberg
Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett
Open Letter
The Dark
By Sergio Chejfec
Translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary
Open Letter
The Elixir of Immortality

By Gabi Gleichmann
Translated from the Norwegian by Michael Meigs
Other Press
A True Novel

By Minae Mizumura
Translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter
Other Press
Ten White Geese

By Gerbrand Bakker
Translated from the Dutch by David Colmer
The Devil’s Workshop

By Jachym Topol
Translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker
The Black Lake

By Hella Haasse
Translated from the Dutch by Ina Rilke
The Jew Car

By Franz Fuhmann
Translated from the German by Isabel Fargo Cole
Seagull Books
Kafka’s Hat

By Patrice Martin
Translated from the French by Chantal Bilodeau
The Fata Morgana Books

By Jonathan Littell
Translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell
Two Lines Press
Sandalwood Death

By Mo Yan
Translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt
University of Oklahoma Press

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Oh, and GoodReads’ official response to the matter?  Nice.  Thanks for setting them straight Scott!

Good luck to all of our nominees and happy voting!

About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.

  • Jim Hinks

    Hi Aron. Thanks for mentioning Cold Sea Stories. Incidentally, we publish ‘Instruction Manual for Swallowing’ by Adam Marek, which has protagonists. I’d happily send you a copy. (Jim from Comma).

  • Denise Magicamente Muir

    No Italian :-(

  • Emma @ Words And Peace

    thanks for doing that! I read lots of books in translation myself – actually I’m an English-translator too!

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