Prior to 2007, no one had thought to gather comparative information on the financial and economic situation of Europe’s literary translators. However, with the growing importance of key concepts like ‘intercultural dialogue’ and ‘cultural diversity’ in European cultural policy, the need for reliable data about the situation on the ground becomes all the more urgent. This is why CEATL embarked on an extensive survey of the conditions determining literary translators’ incomes. We aim to update the figures every two or three years.

The results of this initial survey, published in December 2008, confirm the worst suspicions: nowhere in Europe can literary translators make a living under the conditions imposed on them by the ‘market’; in many countries (including some of the wealthiest) their situation can only be described as catastrophic. This is a serious social problem on a continent that prides itself in being developed, multicultural and multilingual, but it is also, and above all, a major artistic and cultural problem. What are the implications for the quality of literary exchanges between our societies if literary translators have to dash off their work in haste in order to keep body and soul together?

Download links (PDF):

  • English version (http://www NULL.ceatl NULL.pdf)
  • French version (http://www NULL.ceatl NULL.pdf)
  • Italian version (http://www NULL.ceatl NULL.pdf)

> ‘An impressive pool of comparative data’ – Budapest Observer (http://www NULL.budobs NULL.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=306)
> ‘The most depressing study about translation I’ve ever heard about’ – Three Percent (http://www NULL.rochester NULL.php?id=1732)