The Medal for Excellence in Translation is a major national award that recognises outstanding achievement in translation. This award celebrates the vital role of translators and translation in Australian culture and scholarly discourse. It adds to the growing recognition of work in this field which recognises lifetime achievement.

The Medal is awarded biennially for a book-length translation into English of a work of any genre (including scholarship) from any language and period.

“Translation is the lifeblood of intercultural communication in Australia and throughout the world” said Emeritus Professor Brian Nelson FAHA, Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel for the Medal for Excellence in Translation. “Uniquely, this award aims to heighten appreciation of the role of Australian translators across a range of texts from creative literature to scientific and scholarly works, all of which are eligible for consideration.”

The winner of the Medal for Excellence in Translation receives a medal, certificate and monetary prize of $1000.

The inaugural medal was awarded in 2016. The Academy wishes to acknowledge the generous support for this award by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, Monash University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Western Australia.

Julie Rose’s (2018 Medal recipient) translation of Philippe Paquet’s acclaimed biography, ‘Simon Leys: Navigator Between Worlds’, is a massive achievement chiefly because of the exceptional skill of the translation. Rose’s task was not simply to translate the urbane, elegant prose of Paquet, but also the subtle, witty voice of Simon Leys/Pierre Ryckmans. To sustain such a high level of attentiveness and skill over so many pages is remarkable.Brian Nelson


Recognising the considerable disruptions to work and personal life caused by COVID-19 we have extended the deadline for our 2020  grants and awards to 5.00pm AEST Friday 5 June.

Please review the guidelines prior to submitting your nomination via our online system.


  1. Nominations will be accepted from the publisher of the translation (not necessarily Australia-based), another individual, or the translator themselves.
  2. Nominees must be living Australian citizens or permanent residents.
  3. The translation must be in the form of a book. Translations published as books, or e-books, are eligible. All nominated works must be publicly available and have an ISBN.
  4. The translation must be into English.
  5. The translation must have been published within the three calendar years prior to the deadline for nominations (for the 2020 award this will be 2017, 2018, and 2019)
  6. The Academy will only accept one nomination per author in the year that the award is being offered.
  7. Multi-authored translations are eligible for nomination provided that all nominees on the application are Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Selection criteria

  • Excellence of translation
  • Significance of the translated work

    Further information

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