Visible Communities is a wide-ranging programme of activities intended to increase the range of literature published in translation with a particular focus on diaspora, community and heritage languages in the UK. Visible Communities involves several partners across the country: the Stephen Spender Trust, Queen’s College Translation Exchange, British Centre for Literary Translation, New Writing North and the Poetry Translation Centre. The activity is supported by Arts Council England.

Through Visible Communities we are exploring:

  • Relationships that UK diaspora communities have with literatures written in their mother tongues
  • Barriers to access and representation for UK-based BAME and heritage language literary translators

With the aim of:

  • Diversifying access routes to literary translation
  • Strengthening links between the literary translation community and diaspora communities
  • Contributing to the debate around decolonising literary translation
  • Expanding the range of literature published in translation

One of our key aims is to help increase and diversify the funding sources for literary translation, particularly of diaspora and heritage language communities. We have identified a range of projects that are exploring and addressing different areas of development – from learning and participation through talent development to artistic excellence. There will be a strong evaluation element throughout, with the aim of building the case for further investment.

Creative Translation Ambassadors is a partnership with the Queen’s College Translation Exchange, Oxford, the British Centre for Literary Translation and the National Centre for Writing, training university students to run translation workshops in schools.

Mother Tongues and Translation is a partnership with the Stephen Spender Trust, New Writing North and the National Centre for Writing to extend the Trust’s Translators in Schools project to focus on community languages.

The Poetry Translation Centre is rolling out its workshop programme to other cities, including Norwich, Manchester and Sheffield, encouraging local communities to use their heritage languages for literary translation.

The National Centre for Writing is working with Literature Must Fall to set up and run a programme of multi-generational activities in Birmingham around Punjabi language, literature and translation, including workshops, a festival and a summer school. We will also explore whether this model could be used with other language communities.

We are collaborating with the award-winning Tilted Axis Press on a literary anthology exploring heritage language translation in the UK.

We are planning a number of public events throughout the programme and will end with a high-profile conference to share the findings of the Visible Communities programme.

Current opportunities

The National Centre for Writing is offering a range of opportunities to UK-based BAME literary translators, and translators working from diaspora and community languages.

2020-2021 Emerging Translators Mentoring Scheme

Our 2020-2021 Emerging Translators Mentoring Scheme will include the Visible Communities Mentorship for UK-based translators working from diaspora and community languages. We will open for applications in July 2020.

British Centre for Literary Translation & SOAS University of London Translation Summer Schools

We are offering two £1,000 bursaries to UK-based BAME translators to attend translation summer schools in July 2020.

The SOAS University of London Translation Summer School will run from 29 June – 17 July 2020 in London, and will focus on Decolonising Translation and Translation Studies. Please see the SOAS website for details. Deadline for applications is 30 April 2020.

The BCLT International Literary Translation and Creative Writing Summer School will run from 19 – 25 July in Norwich, offering a range of workshops, including multilingual prose, multilingual theatre and training the trainers. Please see the BCLT website for details. Deadline for applications is 13 April 2020.

 

Residencies

We are offering two week-long residencies at Dragon Hall, Norwich for a UK-based literary translator or translator-writer pair working with a diaspora or heritage language, with the support of the Francis W Reckitt Arts Trust. The deadline for applications is Friday 1 May 2020, and the successful applicant will be informed by the end of May 2020. The residencies will take place in August 2020. For further details, check out the residencies section of our website.

Interviews

We are carrying out interviews with UK-based BAME literary translators and heritage language literary translators in the UK to explore ways in which we can improve access to literary translation as a career. If you’re interested in being interviewed, please contact translation@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk