Applications for the 2023 BCLT Summer School (23-29 July 2023) will open in January. The Summer School will be taking place in-person at University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. 

We have made the decision to offer both in-person and online Summer Schools in the future. Our 2023 Summer School will be in-person followed by an online Summer School in 2024. We will then continue to alternate between the two formats. We will not be offering a hybrid event.  

You can watch the plenary sessions and short talks from the 2022 Summer School:

Translating Multilingualism?

Madhu Kaza, Hamid Roslan, Lucia Collischonn, Gitanjali Patel (chair)

The idea of translating a 'multilingual' text begs the question, what is the definition of a 'monolingual' text? During this panel, our three excellent speakers discuss their experiences of language, multilingualism and translating multilingualism, with reference to examples from their own work. In moving beyond traditional binaries of monolingual/ multilingual, they explore more dynamic and fluid conceptualisations of language and translation.

 

Meet the World: Violent Phenomena 

This event celebrates the publication of the new Tilted Axis Press anthology asking questions about whiteness, the canon, and imperialism. Violent Phenomena: 21 Essays on Translation is edited by Kavita Bhanot and Jeremy Tiang.

Frantz Fanon wrote in 1961 that ‘Decolonisation is always a violent phenomenon,’ meaning that the violence of colonialism can only be counteracted in kind. As colonial legacies linger today, what are the ways in which we can disentangle literary translation from its roots in imperial violence? In this anthology, 21 writers and translators from across the world share their ideas and practices for disrupting and decolonising translation.

You will hear from four of those writers and translators – Sofia Rehman, Elisa Taber, Sandra Tamele and Nariman Youssef – in a discussion chaired by Kavita Bhanot.

 

Race and Responsibility in Translation

Join Kaiama Glover and Barbara Ofosu-Somuah as they discuss how translation functions as a mode of racialised narrative and therefore demands an ethics of care that implicates the writer, the translator, the publisher, and even the audience.

 

BCLT Summer School Publishers Panel

How do publishers acquire titles to translate? What are their greatest challenges? What advice do they have for translators whether at the pitching stage, translation, editing, publicity, and beyond? What are their expectations of translators at each of these stages? This panel sheds light on the decision processes editors go through when considering a title for translation, as well as to clarify what is the translator’s role when bringing the book into English.

We are joined by Dedalus Books (UK), Ugly Duckling Presse (USA), Bakwa Books (Cameroon), and Pushkin Press (UK). The panel is led by Sawad Hussain, co-chair of the Translator’s Association (UK).

What happens at a BCLT Summer School? 

The BCLT Summer School brings together writers and translators from around the world for a one-week programme of hands-on translation and creative writing practice.

After more than 20 years of running literary translation summer schools, the BCLT Summer School is a vibrant, tried and tested format for the professional development of literary translators. Not only does it provide a nurturing environment for translators to work on their craft; it also establishes a valuable network of translators, editors, publishers and indeed friends from around the world.

The core activity of the week is the literary translation workshops, led by experienced literary translators and editors, working from a range of languages into English. We also include in the programme two creative writing sessions for literary translators with authors writing in English, as well as plenary sessions and short talks addressing various aspects of the theory and practice of literary translation, with a focus on the professional development for translators.

The residential fee for the 2023 Summer School will be £850.00 and the non-residential fee will be £450.00. Bursaries will be available to apply for, with more information to follow.

Workshop Leaders and authors for the 2023 BCLT Summer School will be announced soon.

Applications for the 2023 Summer School will open in January 2023.

Please take a look at the Petra-E Framework to get an idea of the level of experience required to apply. The BCLT Summer School is suitable for translators that consider themselves Level 2 (Advanced Learner) or Level 3 (Early Career Professional).

You will be required to submit an application form including a sample translation of up to 400 words.

Although we cannot offer bursaries to all participants, we always try to have a variety of full bursaries available.

Please note that if you receive a bursary you will be asked to write a short one-page report on your experience of the Summer School.

You can apply for more than one bursary – for example you could apply for a language-specific bursary and the NCW Visible Communities bursary if you are eligible. To apply for a bursary you just need to complete the bursary section of the Summer School application form.

It's also worth investigating other sources of funding that might be available to you in your home country, such as Arts Council grants or funding provided by your relevant embassy, college or university.

Information regarding our 2023 bursaries will be available in January.

Here you'll find answers to questions you have, from experience needed to what the creative writing workshops involve.

If you don't find the answer you're looking for please email us and we will respond as soon as possible.

Do I need to be an experienced literary translator to attend?

The answer is no you do not need to be an experienced literary translator to attend, although you do need to some have experience of translating. The Summer School attracts a wide variety of people from across the world with varied experiences. To give you an idea of our selection criteria we ask you to refer to the Petra-E framework of reference for the education and training of literary translators. The Summer School is aimed at translators in levels 2 and 3. 

I have already published a translation, is the Summer School still relevant to me?

As the answer above stresses, the Summer School attracts a wide variety of people. Each person that attends will take something away from the week, whether it be knowledge of the industry, strategies for certain translation challenges, contacts, friends...the list goes on. Many published translators attend as it is a useful professional development opportunity. 

If I apply am I guaranteed a place on the course?

The BCLT Summer School has been running for 23 years and is a popular Summer School with a very good reputation. Therefore, some of our workshops can be oversubscribed. This is why we ask applicants to choose a first and second preference if that is possible for them and their interests. If a workshop is oversubscribed we work with the workshop leader to try to create a group that we feel will work well together based on the information from your application. We contact all applicants after the deadline to state whether your application has been successful. If you are offered a place, it is at that point that we will send you a link to book onto and pay for the course in full.

What do the literary translation workshops involve?

The core activity of the week is the literary translation workshops, led by experienced literary translators and/or editors, working from a range of languages into English. During these sessions the participants work on a consensus translation of one particular text. In a majority of the workshops the author is present to talk about his or her work, answer questions and contribute to the translation process. The focus is on the process, rather than the end product. While each group is expected to come up with a consensus translation at the end of the week, it doesn’t really matter how much or how little text is actually translated. What is important is that, as a group, you really think about the possibilities, and engage with your workshop leader, author and one another in a creative, collaborative exercise. 

For translators working from other languages, there is a multilingual poetry/prose/theatre workshop. These workshops focus on translating into English. 

All the workshops are designed to encourage collaboration and peer learning.

What do the creative writing workshops involve?

The Tuesday and Thursday mornings begin with creative writing workshops for all delegates, developing different creative writing skills for translators. The whole cohort are divided between 4 tutors. These sessions are designed to help literary translators focus on themselves as creative writers and take a practical, exercise-based, rather than a theoretical approach.

This workshop strand is for experienced literary translators that have published work and would like to receive some training in leading literary translation workshops.

If you are successful in gaining a place, you will spend the summer school week shadowing our experienced workshop leaders. A workshop leader will also be running dedicated workshops for the Training the Trainer cohort along with some guest speakers. These workshops address specific techniques, ideas and challenges when leading literary translation workshops.

The Training the Trainer strand will return in 2024.

The BCLT Summer School is run in partnership with the National Centre for Writing and is generously supported by a number of national and international sponsors. The 2023 Summer School is supported by the following partners:

Arts Council England

National Museum of Taiwan Literature

Pro Helvetia

The Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities at UCLA and Waseda University

Seagull Books

More sponsors to follow.

The BCLT's International Literary Translation Summer School has been running since 2000 at University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

Throughout those years the Summer School has been invaluable for many literary translators for many different reasons, including professional development and networking. Here is some of the feedback we have received:

I gained more confidence in my translation skills, met people I can consult or collaborate with in the future, and learned a lot about the professional/marketing side of translating.

Summer School attendee, 2022

It was such a privilege to focus only on translation for an entire week, to think deeply and intensely, and to share that process with others.

Summer School attendee, 2022

I found the online format a smooth and enjoyable experience. It was successful in replicating the main parts of the campus-based event. Once I had got over the initial unfamiliarity of working with other people who I had not met in person, I almost became unaware of the online environment.

Dutch workshop attendee, 2020

Being relatively new to the field of translation and particularly literary translation, I felt a little nervous before coming to the Summer School. I quickly came to learn that all the participants and instructors - regardless of their level of experience or chosen career path - were eager to share their advice, ideas and philosophies on translation, and equally willing to listen to my views.

The BCLT Summer School was, for me, an overwhelmingly positive experience and I would recommend it wholeheartedly to any budding or seasoned translator.

French workshop attendee, 2019

The hand's on translation sessions were very helpful, particularly when we moved into smaller groups. And the networking was fantastic - a few of us are already planning a co-translation project for September.

Italian workshop attendee, 2019

I feel re-energized, and ready to tackle the challenges of translating children's literature! I was given so much to think about this week and feel like I want to apply it right away. And if I run into snags (inevitable!) I know I have a wonderful support group to turn to.

Multilingual Prose workshop attendee, 2019

It was a truly wonderful week, spending time with a diverse range of interesting people. The final presentations were genuinely moving as we were able to see how much high calibre work could be produced across many languages and styles in a very short space of time.

German workshop attendee, 2017

I learned to have confidence in what I've done and feel happy that I'm ready to start pitching my sample translations. I also picked up a few tips on publishers who might be interested in my project and grants available.

Multilingual Prose workshop attendee, 2017

It has inspired me to keep going and pursue a career in the field, to have the confidence to believe in my own writing.

German workshop attendee, 2016

The workshops themselves were fantastic, but it was these unrepeatable chances to chat and hang out with like-minded aspiring linguists over breakfast, coffee, dinner and drinks, that made the Summer School such a valuable experience.

Daniel Bradley, Japanese workshop attendee, 2013.

I attended the BCLT Summer School as a participant in 2006.....It was a life-changing experience....Many of the people I met that week later helped me to get work, and vice versa.

Katy Derbyshire, German workshop attendee, 2006 - German workshop leader 2012 onwards.