Last March, the German author, editor and translator Brigitte Döbert was awarded two important prizes for her translation of Die Tutoren, the monumental novel by the Serbian author Bora Ćosić, who left Serbia 1992 in protest against the regime. The 800-page cult epic tells the story of five generations and uses a vast array of literary techniques and genres, from farmer’s almanac and folk legend, to instruction manals, quotes from James Joyce, kitchen recipes and imaginary concoctions, constituting an enormous literary compendium of the Serbian language and gaining it a reputation for being hugely challenging for translators.

Brigitte Döbert (http://www NULL.ceatl NULL.eu/2016-leipzig-book-fair-translation-prize-and-2016-straelen-translation-award-go-to-brigitte-dobert/germany-brigitte-mei16)
Brigitte Döbert

Brigitte Döbert accepted this challenge: “The work is characterised by a blend of high- and low-brow literary references… One huge problem was that Ćosić assumes of his readership a knowledge of historical context and this is not something I can count on with German audiences… I had to do a lot of research and I was faced with huge obstacles, because the facts were presented in such an intricate…and encoded way. Funnily enough I translated one of the most difficult parts while I was on holiday, where I could hardly do any research. It was one of the rhymed passages. It was probably because, without access to research tools, I could become more fluent and let myself go into a flow without which one cannot rhyme or pun. It really astonished me how you can stick so close to the original, despite being obliged by the rhyme to use completely different expressions.”

In their commendation, the Straelen jury stated, “This translation lets the glitter of gossip sparkle and reveals global knowledge in common parlance.”

The Leipzig Book Fair Prize for Translation is considered to be one of the three most important German book awards and is worth €15,000. The Straelen Lifetime Achievement Translation Prize is awarded in cooperation with the Art Foundation NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia), and is worth €25,000 Euro.

The publishing of Die Tutoren was supported by Creative Europe Desk, the literary network Traduki, and the Serbian Ministry of Culture.

For more information, please click here (http://www NULL.euk-straelen NULL.de/deutsch/straelener-uebersetzerpreis/brigitte-doebertstraelener-uebersetzerpreis-2016-der-kunststiftung-nrw/pressemeldung-straelener-uebersetzerpreis-2016/).

 

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