Literary translation requires specific knowledge and skills, language proficiency as well as knowledge of the culture and literature of both the source and target cultures, in addition to a finely tuned sensibility to literary voice and style.
Translators tend to have highly varied backgrounds – some come straight from language studies at university, while others have followed rather more circuitous trajectories towards the profession.
In many countries there is little formal education available for translators. Degrees in translation studies might be overly theoretical, degrees in translation geared towards technical translation, well, technical. And while the literary translation market is small, the number of possible language combinations is seemingly endless.
Training in translation is thus a varied and fragmented field of university and non-university education, personal practice and experience. Therefore, translators associations often carry out their own teaching or mentoring schemes as well as evaluation.
In some instances, association collaborate with academic institutions to create educational programmes, but in most cases, the continued professional development is carried out by the translators themselves, in various forms of peer-to-peer learning, association run mentoring schemes. Such schemes also provide a valuable meeting point for translators, and thus also play a pivotal role in building a translators community.
You can never know too much!
Check out some of these success stories:
A New Consultancy Programme for Literary Translators Working with Catalan
Residential seminars for translators (various members)
Conference Northern Wind of Change: Improving the working conditions of literary translators