From Iceland — Record Number Of Icelandic Books Being Translated

Record Number Of Icelandic Books Being Translated

Published November 9, 2020

Photo by
Alisa Kalyanova

This year has seen a record number of applications and grants towards translating Icelandic literature into other languages, RÚV reports.

The Icelandic Literature Center has provided grants for 111 translations from Icelandic into 28 languages, from 147 applications. Most grants were for translation into Danish, with thirteen grants being awarded. Nine grants were awarded for translation into English and eight for translation into German.

A total of 24 million ISK was allocated, which will go towards translations not only into the languages stated above, but also Arabic, Hebrew, Hungarian and Russian, among others. The grants are awarded twice a year, in February and September.

The most highly requested book among translators was On Time and Water by Andri Snaæ Magnason which has, throughout the year, been awarded grants to be translated into Arabic, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French, Italian, Korean, Croatian, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, Spanish, Czech and German. It has already been translated into more than 20 languages.

The website of the Icelandic Literature Center says that these record numbers could be attributed, in part, to Nordic efforts that were launched in the wake of the pandemic: “In response to this year‘s pandemic, NordLit – the organisation of literature centers of the Nordic countries – united to frame a common policy to raise translation grants in 2020 to cover 50% of costs. This step was taken in order to encourage publishers around the world to continue to translate and publish Nordic creative writing, scholarly works, general-interest books, and books for children and young readers, thus responding to the impact of the situation on publishing and on the work of authors and translators.“

For comparison, the previous record for applications was in 2017, when 119 applications were made. Of these, 21 were for translations into Nordic languages.

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