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National Lists

An Appeal to Writers


Through literary translation national literatures become international and writing trapped in a single language can be released and read throughout the world across linguistic and cultural borders.

The Literary Translation Committee of the International Federation of Translators has issued a statement which is currently being circulated to those professionals concerned.

It is reproduced here in its entirety for the purposes of information, without necessarily implying that the views expressed therein are endorsed by UNESCO.
(If you would like to know more about our responsibility with regard to the contents of our website, click here).

The art of literary translators is a unique act of communication that demands a creative and scholarly knowledge of at least two languages and cultures and the ability to write in the language of translation in the voices of many different writers. It is an art, which requires proper time, remuneration and professional recognition.

Too often in the publishing industry, translation is seen in terms of keeping costs down or of marketing deadlines. This ignores the professional needs of translators if they are to produce translations of high quality.

In many countries translators translate novels or plays in too short a time, without proper contracts, copyright on their translations, royalties, or pay that gives a semblance of a living wage. 

It is in the interest of writers (and of their agents and publishers) to ensure translators have professional conditions to carry out their translations. Support for the art of translators helps them to create translations that carry over the qualities of the original. This is also in the interest of readers and will promote reading and literacy throughout the world.  In many countries, over fifty per cent of what is published is translated. The quality of these translations depends on the writing abilities of translators and their professional conditions.

We ask you as writers to support this declaration which will be presented at book fairs and cultural events and to governments throughout the world. 

- Professional contracts with copyright and proper remuneration for translators

- Deadlines which give translators the time to research and create their translations

- Writers - with agents and publishers - to do their best to enforce the above

I support the FIT Literary Translators' Declaration

First name : ______________________________
Name  : ________________________________
Address : ______________________________  
Place : _________________________________  
Country : _________________________________   
Email : _______________________________    

FIT  secretariat@fit-ift.org  http://www.fit-ift.org

Date of publication :  08 June 2004