In 2010 Turkish and German governments made history by creating an award for literary translation between the countries. Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Germany’s Federal Foreign Ministry decided to create the Tarabya Translation Prize in an effort to encourage more translations of important literary works from both cultures.
According to a spokesperson from the German Federal Foreign Ministry, the award recognises the influence of German and Turkish translation services on intellectual and cultural relations and promotes communication between the two cultures. Since its launch, the award has proved to be hugely successful in promoting German and Turkish cultures and has done its part to ease tensions between the two factions in Germany. But it’s not just these two countries that the award has benefited The scheme’s success has had a far wider reach, with more and more countries creating translation awards and promoting translation between different cultures present in their country.
At this year’s National Translation Awards in Malaysia, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the launch of a RM1 million scheme designed to encourage the translation of works in a number of fields, including religion, management, science, technology and literature. In his speech the Deputy Prime Minister cited the example of the German/Turkish awards as a major influence on his government’s decision to give more funding to translation services. He explained that an increase in available translated texts would enable students to gain a wider knowledge, which in turn would have many economic benefits for the country.
Muhyiddin went on to say that increased funding for translation services would lead to a ‘wider dissemination of knowledge…and raise the status of the national language as a language of knowledge’.
The Turkish/German Translation award is now an internationally respected accolade. In 2010 Ahmet Cemal and Ingrid Iren were crowned the winners for their services highlighting the essential role that literary translators play in promoting understanding and dialogue between cultures. Today, more and more countries are following the example set by the success of the Tarabya Translation Prize and looking at ways to promote translation services in their respective countries.