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.
2016 Winner Announced · 26 Oct
The Academy congratulates Professor John Minford, winner of our inaugural Medal for Excellence in Translation, for his translation of I Ching (Yijing): The Book of Change, from Chinese to English.
The I Ching
– regarded for two millennia as the essential guide to the universe – is a foundational text for Chinese culture.
An Expert Panel of internationally recognised leaders in the field of translation, Brian Nelson FAHA (Chair), Mabel Lee FAHA and Peter Boyle, selected Minford’s translation from an impressive list of nominees, with works of literature and non-fiction across a vast time period, and a rich diversity of cultures and languages.
The Expert Panel considered that John Minford’s volume:
“Bids fair to become the definitive translation of this primary Chinese classic. An imposing example of the translator-scholar as cultural intermediary, it is both a tour de force of scholarship and a distinguished literary achievement. 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.”
Minford is Emeritus Professor of Chinese at the Australian National University. On receiving news of his win, Minford said: “I have always hoped that my new version of the ancient Chinese classic of divination the I Ching
might be a useful book for modern readers wishing to delve into its often startling depths, might enable them, in these troubled times, to benefit from the deep wisdom contained in its pages. It is, after all, as generations of Chinese commentators have insisted over the past two thousand years, not just a book, but a spirit. The recognition kindly accorded it by this medal of the Academy is therefore most welcome.”
Professor Minford will be presented with his Medal at an Academy ceremony in Melbourne on 18 November 2016.
Photo: © Lois Conner, 2008
Two other outstanding candidates were shortlisted for the prize – Stuart Robson for his translation of The Old Javanese Rāmāyana
and Phoebe Weston-Evans for her translation of Patrick Modiano’s Paris Nocturne