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Video: The Good, The Bad, The Translator

The Good, The Bad, The Translator is a short video filmed on the occasion of a panel discussion on the role of translators in (world) literature. As we wanted to make something different from the usual “translators are praising themselves constantly repeating why their role is crucial in creating a corpus of world literature and why good translation is important”, we invited several eminent writers to say what they think about translators and translating their works, and what translated literature generally brings and means to them. The following Croatian writers translated in other languages participated in the project: Miro Gavran, Ivica Prtenjača, Kristijan Novak, Ivana Bodrožić, Monika Herceg, Asja Bakić, Drago Glamuzina and Zoran Ferić. The result is a short, 4-minute-long mosaic that you can see on our Youtube channel:


  • select the people in charge of the coordination and production (1 person), cameraman (1 person) and editor (1 person – in our case, the cameraman did also the editing)
  • contact and invite the writers
  • organize the filming and setting
  • filming and editing

Budget: 1.955,00 euros (filming and translation/subtitles)

Translation Duel: In the Translation Ring

The project “In the Translation Ring” (U prevodilačkom ringu) consists of a series of translation duels. No worries, no swords just words.

How does it work?

The moderator (or “arbiter”) decides on the text that will be translated and sends it to the two duellists a few weeks before the event. They send them back the translated text week before the event (or a message “just one more day, please”) so the moderator can decide on the talking points for the event. At the event, the original text and both translations are presented to the audience. Different solutions are discussed, as well as the translation process itself, peculiarities of certain genres, challenges of “translating” cultural differences and much more. Our first events were held live, but due to a pandemic, we, later on, moved to virtual space. However, this form works great in both ways, so virtuality has in no way damaged its dynamics.

What do we translate?

All forms of literary texts, short stories, extract of novels or poems. Until now, we had Duels dedicated to poetry, canonical texts, science fiction/fantasy, literature for children, contemporary novels etc. We held Duels for the translators from English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German, and the target language is always Croatian.

Why do we do that?

We believe, and experience has shown, that this is a great way to promote literary translators and to demonstrate why literary translation is a legitimate form of art. The audience gets to see two different translations that are both valid but can lead to a very different reading experience, and thus become aware of the role of translators and of the importance of having a good translation.

Second, it’s not often that a translator gets a chance to see “their” text translated differently. It’s very illuminating, and we have learned a lot in the process, be that as participants or as the audience.

And last but not least, it’s fun.

What is the cost of the project?

Around 500 € per event. We held 10 events to date.

P.S. No translator was harmed during this project.

You can check some of the events on the following links:

Who are we: Translators’ Portraits

The idea for the Translators’ Portraits (Prevoditeljski portreti) project was born amid the pandemic. As the Association we wanted to make sure that all our members are safe and sound. As our work is often lonely in the best of times, we thought that it would make sense to create small networks of support among our members. The core idea was to connect older or more experienced members with younger or less experienced so they could share experiences, worries, and hopes, as well as get a chance to communicate with colleagues. From that, the project developed into series of interviews. It proved to be a great encouragement for everybody involved: younger translators got a chance to get to know more experienced translators and to learn from them (some of them were lucky enough to meet their role models in translation); older translators could share their experiences, talk about their work and times past and were shown that they’re by no means forgotten, but remembered and appreciated; we (Croatian Literary Translators Association) helped develop better communication among our members and got a series of important testimonies which could serve as sort of monument of time, but also as a way to review changes in working and cultural conditions; and the wider community could enjoy in the final product which is series of interesting interviews that offers a glimpse in the past and present work of literary translators and get a better idea of the importance of our work. All interviews are written and have four universal questions that are repeated with slight modifications in all of them and one extra question which interviewers formed based on their interests.

Participants: in the first “season” in 10 interviews participated ten interviewees and eight interviewers + coordinator for the project; in the second season which is currently running there are 12 interviews and 12 interviewers.

Aprox. budget: 1250€

Link for the project:

Radio Show: Literary moment

Književni trenutak (The Literary Moment) is a series of 16 short radio shows broadcast every two weeks for eight months. The main idea was to ask literary translators on the one hand, and literary critics, theorists and writers on the other to speak about translated literature (not the same one, everyone chooses a different book). The goal of the project is to bring listeners closer to reading and encourage them to reach for a quality book. In order to spread awareness of the role of literary translators and strengthen their visibility in the media space, each participant places special emphasis on the translation itself, thus paving the way for the development of translation criticism. Since our main idea was creating a modern, urban show different from other shows dedicated to culture, each one of them is accompanied by a musical number that adequately evokes the atmosphere of the presented work, and we hired four actors and actresses who interpret the selected passage to give listeners additional insight into the text. The result is a mosaic of brief conversations about translated literature and the importance of reading, short enough to intrigue the listeners, and yet highly professional.


– Arrange cooperation with a radio station and journalists who will host the show

– Choose 16 translators and 16 writers / critics / theorists

– Participants should choose one translated book to talk about (make sure that the recommendations are not repeated)

– Make a broadcast schedule

– Record material (5-minute conversations with participants, reading short readings with the actors)

– Edit the show

 – DHKP sends the announcement of the show to the membership, and after the show has been broadcast, a link to the recording on the Mixcloud streaming service:

Budget: 12.000 euros

How we started ARTLIT in Romania (SUCCESS STORY)

We started ARTLIT – The Romanian Association of Literary Translators in 2014, from a shared frustration that our fees were very low (the average was about 2,5 euros/2000 characters), the contracts were unfair and sometimes simply disregarded. We felt a need for a new, more proactive association. It took us almost a year to make all the necessary paperwork and get all approvals from the authorities. Our goals are to organize this profession, defend our rights and, most importantly, raise fees.

Admission of members:

The basic requirement is that applicants have at least one literary or scientific translation published or about to be published (having a signed contract with a publisher), literary translation also including plays, screenplays or magazine articles. Applicants must submit an application form and agree to respect the Association’s ethical code. There is no quality review of applicants and no different levels of membership. All members have equal vote rights.

Some of the challenges we faced in the early years:

Making members pay – we send a reminder twice a year and sometimes individual reminders, because one of the most common reasons is that members simply forget to transfer the membership fee.

Too great expectations – it can be difficult for members to understand that progress will be slow and that getting involved in the Association’s activities is vital to its development.

Given that we are all volunteers in the association, it’s hard to maintain a constant energy and good spirit.

What we are good at so far:

Visibility: we managed to organize interesting workshops and events with no expenses at all, relying only on generous people and institutions we know.

Sharing informationRaising awareness: about fees, negotiations and good/bad practices from various publishers; we discovered it is of great importance to share information.

Patience: We learned that change is very slow and you need to wait so that the message of the association can spread organically.

If we were to start again, I think I would have liked us to be better in fund raising so that we could afford paying at least a part time job for someone to help us with writing content for the site, organising the events and keeping the correspondence with our members or potential members. I know now about how much energy a volunteer translator has and I also know that we need to have constant activity.

One of the achievements is that our members got to know what a fair contract should look like and therefore, have become more daring when they negotiate their contracts. A lot of us have become aware that accepting very low fees and abusive contractual terms is doing damage not only to themselves individually but also to the profession as a whole.

Lavinia Braniște – founding member and former president of ARTLIT

Before you start


Greetings, curious spirit!

Welcome to the CEATL Companion for Literary Translators’ Associations, a platform dedicated to Literary Translators’ Associations looking for advice, encouragement or simply inspiration.

This guide concentrates on some of the main challenges that existing or aspiring Literary Translators’ Associations face, and makes suggestions based on case studies and experience gathered over the years from European Associations members of CEATL.

Make sure you check the categories listed on the menu in the upper page and see if they suit your association or if they could be useful resources to make it grow.

Learning from each other is a great tool, so please do share with us your success stories for developing strategies or overcoming hurdles, using the Contact page.

Thank you and good luck, from
CEATL Best Practices Working Group

Conseil Européen des Associations de Traducteurs Littéraires / European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations