Introducing the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Translation Prize 

Photograph © the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
Teddy McDonald

Teddy McDonald

Teddy works on SoA communications and outreach and alongside the Policy department on the SoA's campaigns work. He is also co-coordinator of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group (CWIG).
A new prize for translation from Japanese

The Society of Authors, in conjunction with the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, is delighted to announce the launch of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Translation Prize, celebrating translations into English from Japanese.  

In 2019, Morgan Giles was awarded the TA First Translation Prize for her translation of Tokyo Ueno Station by Yū Miri, from Japanese; and in 2018, Janet Hong was awarded the same prize for her translation of The Impossible Fairytale by Han Yujoo, from Korean. However, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Translation Prize marks the first Society of Authors prize dedicated solely to translations from an Asian country. 

In the true spirit of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, we are thrilled by the opportunity this prize presents, to enhance an appreciation of Japanese culture, and in turn bring a new, English-speaking audience to writers and translators working with Japanese.  

The prize will be awarded for a translation into English of a full-length Japanese-language work of literary merit and general interest. The winning translation will make for faultless reading or reading where there is no indication that the original language was not English. 

Opening for submissions on 1 January, the prize will become part of the Society of Author’s stable of translation prizes. Winners of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Translation Prize will receive £3,000, with the runner-up receiving £1,000, and will be presented with the award in-person at our annual Translation Prizes Ceremony in February 2024. The deadline for submissions to the inaugural prize will be 31 March. 

For full details of how to submit to the prize, please check the prize’s webpage in January, when there will be a form requesting all necessary information. 

We are delighted to support this new prize for translation from Japanese, in collaboration with the Society of Authors. The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation has always sought to promote mutual knowledge and understanding between the UK and Japan, and there can be few better ways towards this than the creative art of translation, with its ability to open windows into other minds and cultures and to enable us to share different views of the world. We owe translators a debt of gratitude for their sometimes under-appreciated labours: we would be vastly impoverished without them. 

The Chairman of The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, the Earl of St Andrews

A prize for translation from Japanese feels very overdue as we’ve seen the rise in readership of great Japanese literature in the UK. A celebration of the translators working on those books is in order. All our translation prizes celebrate the art of translation, an often overlooked art, and we can’t wait to work with new judges to celebrate Japanese literature in translation. Our thanks go to the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation for their support of this important prize.  

The Society of Authors Head of Fundraising, Grants and Prizes, Robyn Law

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