In November 2013 the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture published the results of a feasibility study carried out at the Directorate’s request by the Italian bureau Consulmarc Sviluppo s.r.l. The study can be downloaded here (http://eacea NULL.ec NULL.europa NULL.eu/llp/studies/study_suport_mobility_literary_translators NULL.php).

The proposed programme, for which the authors suggested the name ‘Mercurio’, is in three parts:

  • Mobility Actions focused on translation activities and training (residencies, workshops, etc.);
  • Partnership Actions focused on mobility for capacity-building and networking activities;
  • Complementary Side Actions focused on the dissemination of information and on awareness campaigns

For a two-year pilot, the study recommends a budget of €4,799,000, of which the European Commission would provide €3,981,000 and the stakeholders €818,000. The stakeholders would include translators’ centres and translators’ associations, which were closely involved with the feasibility study. The European translators’ council CEATL (Martin de Haan), the European network of translators’ houses RECIT (Peter Bergsma), the organisation Literature Across Frontiers (Alexandra Büchler) and the Croatian, German and Irish translators’ associations (Andy Jelčić, Holger Fock and Giuliana Zeuli) took part in a two-day experts’ meeting in 2011 in Oderzo, Italy, and have since regularly provided information to the authors of the report.

Although the completion of the study was far from straightforward (it was commissioned in 2009), its conclusions will be welcomed by the sector. It establishes that literary translators have a key role in the intercultural processes of polyglot Europe, and that mobility is for them an essential precondition for keeping in touch with the language and culture of their source language. It is therefore to be hoped that the European Commission, which regularly declares that it considers literary translation to be of paramount importance, will take the study to heart and implement its recommendations.

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