Emerging Translator Mentorships

Applications for the Emerging Translator Mentorship programme 2019 are now closed. Be the first to hear about future opportunities by signing up to our e-newsletter.

Founded by Daniel Hahn in 2010, our translation mentoring programme aims to develop successive new cohorts of literary translators into English, particularly for languages whose literature is currently under-represented in English translation.

The scheme matches up experienced translators with emerging translators for a six-month period during which they work together on practical translation projects, developing their craft through working on a chosen text or texts. The mentor acts as an adviser to the mentee on aspects of life as a professional translator, such as time management, meeting deadlines, managing finances and understanding contracts, and as an advocate for their mentee with publishers in search of literary translators. The mentor will be a professional literary translator but may not translate from the language supported in the mentorship.

“As soon as publishers hear that I am an NCW programme mentee they take me and my work seriously. 

The NCW programme is a kind of quality label… Definitely improved professional networks, met publishers, other translators, found out about other opportunities to grow my career.”

– Erika, 2017/8 (Lithuanian with Shaun Whiteside)

The evidence to date suggests that participation in the scheme represents, in itself, a significant professional development for mentees, with publishers seeing the mentoring cohort as a reliable source of high quality emerging translators.

Mentees receive a £500 bursary, split into two payments over the course of the mentorship, and reasonable travel expenses associated with the mentorship, agreed in advance with The National Centre for Writing. The mentorship will include an Industry Day, specially tailored to the needs of emerging translators, as well as access to London Book Fair.

The National Centre for Writing will facilitate an initial meeting between successful applicants and their mentors to agree the nature of working together (project scope and regularity of meetings) with work continuing for a six-month period, either in person, by Skype or by telephone as appropriate. A minimum of four meetings is expected during the period.

Supported by Arts Council England, The Harvill Secker Young Translators Prize, Institut Francais, The Literary Translation Institute of Korea, The Polish Cultural Institute, The Royal Norwegian Embassy, NORLA, The Russian Institute for Literary Translation, The Italian Cultural Institute, Pro-Helvetia and Tilted Axis.

“For me, the Emerging Translators Mentorship did just what the name suggests: it helped me ’emerge’. No translator, be they the reincarnation of St Jerome himself, will get published ex nihilo – there’s editors who need convincing.

Luckily, I got to be mentored by someone who singlehandedly managed to jump that hurdle herself (with The Vegetarian). The absolute trailblazer she continues to be, Deborah’s advice was nothing short of crucial as I began navigating the wondrous world of publishing.”

Mattho, 2018/19 (Korean with Deborah Smith)

Arts Council England logo      Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize

Institut Francais logo      Literature Translation Institute of Korea   Polish Cultural Institute London

Royal Norwegian Embassy   NORLA logo   The Russian Institute for Literary Translation logo

The Italian Cultural Institute   Pro-Helvetia   Tilted Axis