This year’s Translation Prize of the Dutch Foundation for Literature will be awarded to Martin de Haan, literary translator from French to Dutch. The Prize, in recognition of his entire body of work as a translator will be awarded on Friday 13 December in Amsterdam.
Martin de Haan is the translator of contemporary writers and essayists such as Houellebecq, Kundera, Jauffret and Echenoz. He has also translated classic authors including Zola, Diderot and Proust. The jury declared:
Martin de Haan’s translations of novels are always distinguished by their great suppleness, which does not in any way detract from the source text.’
But he is not merely a remarkable, multi-faceted translator. He calls upon many different skills to enable the Dutch reader to discover familiar or unfamiliar texts from French literature, as revealed in his postfaces to translations, the many articles and reviews that he publishes, and the series Perlouses, published by the collective De Haan, Van der Sterre and Hofstede, has reached a run of 24 issues.
De Haan fights to improve the position of translators. From 2009 until 2012 he was the president of the Conseil Européen des Associations de Traducteurs Littéraires (CEATL), of which he is currently Vice President. With Rokus Hofstede he wrote the manifesto Overigens schitterend vertaald (Great translation by the way) which argues in favour of improved training for literary translators. De Haan (b. 1966) lives and works in France.
The Translation Prize of the Dutch Foundation for Literature includes 10.000 euros and is awarded to literary translators distinguished both by the high quality of their work and the devotion they bring to their task as ambassadors for a linguistic region, a genre or literary translation in general. With this prize the Dutch Foundation for Literature is seeking to shed light on the essential role – albeit one often left in shadow – played by translators in their work as re-creators and intermediaries between languages, literatures and cultures.