Medal for Excellence in Translation

The Australian Academy of the Humanities Medal for Excellence in Translation is a major national award that recognises outstanding achievement in translation and the vital role of translators and translation in Australian culture and scholarly discourse. It is awarded biennially for a book-length translation into English of a work of any genre (including scholarship), from any language and period.

The winner of the 2016 AAH Medal for Excellence in Translation will be announced on 26 October, and will be presented with their Medal at an Academy ceremony in Melbourne on 18 November 2016.

2016 Shortlist Announced 21 Sept

The Academy is delighted to announce the shortlist for its inaugural Medal for Excellence in Translation.

John Minford [Photo: Lois Connor]
Stuart Robson   Phoebe Weston-Evans
John Minford
  Stuart Robson
  Phoebe Weston-Evans

‘I Ching (Yijing): The Book of Change’
, translated from the Chinese with an introduction and commentary by John Minford, New York: Viking, 2014, 855 pp.

‘The Old Javanese Rāmāyana: A New English Translation with an Introduction and Notes’
, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 2015, 812 pp.
‘Paris Nocturne’
(original: Accident nocturne, 2003), translated by Phoebe Weston-Evans, Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2015, 160 pp.
The I Ching – regarded for two millennia as the essential guide to the universe – is a foundational text for Chinese culture. In his translation of this primary Chinese classic, John Minford adopts a thoughtful, original, flexible approach to the challenges of his task as translator, offering a significantly new interpretation of a piece of major world literature. Moreover, though the book embodies a remarkable depth of scholarly expertise, the translation is not intended for sinologists or scholars, but primarily for lay readers, for whom Minford succeeds in providing an eminently accessible work. The panel noted the work’s impressive size and scope.

  The Rāmāyana is an important epic poem, written in Old Javanese, dating back to the late-ninth–early-tenth centuries. It is the oldest extant literary work in Indonesia and in Southeast Asia. Old Javanese is no longer a spoken language, and Robson is among a small number of specialists able to read and appreciate this language. By bringing the text to life for the contemporary English reader, this translation represents an important landmark in world literary studies. The volume is of great scholarly value. The panel noted the impressive scale of the work.
Patrick Modiano won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2014 “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the Occupation”. Phoebe Weston-Evans’s elegant translation succeeds in capturing the compelling, haunting nature of Modiano’s exploration of the themes of memory, loss and identity, and the suggestive qualities of his subtle prose style.

The panel also noted the success of Text Publishing in securing the rights for both
Accident nocturne and La Petite Bijou as an important coup for Australian publishing and translation.

Shortlist Announced: Media Release

Download our media release: Shortlist Announced for new Translation Medal

Further Information

For further information on the Medal for Excellence in Translation please contact the Programme Manager or call the Academy on (02) 6125 9860.
The Medal for Excellence in Translation
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