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Industry Insider – What Does a Successful Career in Literary Translation Look Like?

23 June @ 15:00 - 16:00 BST

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What is ‘success’ in a field as unpredictable and unstructured as literary translation? How easy is it to achieve success without relatively high levels of privilege?

Join us for a frank, open conversation about the realities of living and working as a literary translator in the UK. Translators Rosalind Harvey (Chair), Jamie Lee Searle, William Gregory and Vineet Lal will discuss how translators can feel successful outside of ‘serious’ wall-to-wall literature – working on commercial or technical translation, and combining this with literary translation, or working partly in another field entirely.

This event is part of the TA @ Home, a week-long celebration of translation organised by the SoA’s Translators Association (TA). It will take place online via Zoom Webinar. The link will be sent to registered attendees.


  • Welcome and Introduction by Rosalind Harvey
  • Panel discussion with William Gregory, Jamie Lee Searle and Vineet Lal
  • Q&A from the audience
  • Summary and closing comments

Send your questions in advance

If you would like to send questions in advance, email cfuller@societyofauthors.org  with ‘TA Literary Translation’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and try to answer as many as we can on the day.

TA @ Home Fundraising Bookshop

Browse our Blackwell’s virtual store featuring books by translators and editors taking part in the TA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate link a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.

The line-up

Rosalind Harvey (Chair) – Translator, writer

Rosalind Harvey (Chair) is a literary translator and writer based in Coventry. Her translations include Juan Pablo Villalobos’ Down the Rabbit Hole (shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize), Enrique Vila-Matas’ Dublinesque (with Anne McLean; shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and longlisted for the IMPAC Award), and Herralde Prize-winner Guadalupe Nettel’s After the Winter.   She is a 2018 Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a 2016 Arts Foundation Fellow, and a founding member of the Emerging Translators Network.

Jamie Lee Searle – Translator

Jamie Lee Searle translates from German and Portuguese into English, and coordinates the Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation. She has been awarded residencies at Writers Omi, New York, and the Austrian Society for Literature, Vienna, and is one of the co-founders of the Emerging Translators Network.

Twitter: @JamieLeeSearle

William Gregory – Translator

William Gregory has translated for the Royal Court, the Gate and Theatre503. He was a Valle Inclán Award finalist for The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Spanish Plays. Other translations include The Concert by Ulises Rodríguez Febles (Nick Hern) and The Widow by Germán Luco Cruchaga (Inti Press). He was BCLT Translator in Residence, 2020-21What Does A Successful Career in Literary Translation Look Like?

Website: williamgregory.co.uk | Twitter: @wjg22

Vineet Lal – Translator

Vineet Lal studied French at the University of Edinburgh and Princeton University, and received one of the inaugural Emerging Translator Mentorships in 2010. He has translated several well-known French authors including Guillaume Musso and Grégoire Delacourt, along with two collections of short stories for children. In 2020 he will be a virtual Translator in Residence at the National Centre for Writing.

About the Translators Association

The Translators Association (TA) provides a source of expert advice for individual literary translators and is also a collective voice representing the profession as a whole. Find out more


Book your place using the registration form below.

All SoA TA @ Home Industry Insider online events are free to everyone but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE

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Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.


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20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.



23 June
15:00 - 16:00 BST
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Sophia A Jackson