Feasibility Study

4 December 2013

In November 2013 the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture published the results of a feasibility study carried out at the Directorate’s request by the Italian bureau Consulmarc Sviluppo.

The Feasibility Study for Actions to Support the Mobility of Literary Translators can be downloaded at http://eacea.ec.europa.eu.

The proposed programme, for which the authors suggested the name ‘Mercurio’, is in three parts:

  • ‘Mobility Actions’ focused on translation activities and training (residencies, workshops etc.);
  • ‘Partnership Actions’ focused on mobility for capacity building and networking activities;
  • ‘Complementary Side Actions’ focused on the dissemination of information and on awareness campaigns

For a two-year pilot, the study recommends a budget of € 4,799,000, of which the European Commission would provide € 3,981,000 and the stakeholders € 818,000. The stakeholders would include the European translators’ council CEATL and the European network of translators’ houses RECIT, two organizations that were closely involved with the feasibility study. Three representatives of CEATL (Holger Fock, Martin de Haan and Andy Jelčić) and one representative of RECIT (myself) took part in a two-day experts’ meeting in 2011 in Oderzo, Italy, and have since regularly provided information to the authors of the report.

Although the completion of the study was far from straightforward (it was commissioned in 2009), its conclusions will be welcomed by the sector. It establishes that literary translators have a key role in the intercultural processes of polyglot Europe, and that mobility is for them an essential precondition for keeping in touch with the language and culture of their source language. It is therefore to be hoped that the European Commission, which declares at every opportunity that it considers literary translation to be of paramount importance, will take the study to heart and put its recommendations into effect.

Peter Bergsma

Director Amsterdam Translators’ House


Peter Bergsma is a translator and the managing-director of the Amsterdam Translators’ House.


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