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Summer School Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will hopefully find the answers to any question you may have about the Summer School from 'How do I apply?' to 'Are bursaries available?'. If you don't find the answer you are 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. The Summer School attracts a wide variety of people from across the world with varied experiences. Some may just be exploring literary translation whereas others may be more established literary translators that have already published work. Some may do literary translation as a hobby whereas others are more serious about establishing a career in literary tranlsation - it is a real mix.   

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 from newcomers to the more established literary translators. 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. The Summer School is open to all levels of experience. 

How do I apply?

Visit our 'How to Apply' page on the website for details of how to make an application.

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

The BCLT Summer School has been running for over 20 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 your application is not successful on this occasion we are always happy to provide feedback. 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 succesful. If you have applied you will hear whether your application has been successful at the beginning of June. 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. This year languages on offer are Danish, Dutch, French and Norwegian. 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, we will be running two multilingual workshops, one for prose and one for theatre. These will be for translators working from any language 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 two 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.

What software and equipment will I need for the online Summer School?

We are currently finalising details regarding the online platform that we will be using. However, we hope to be able to use a platform that doesn't require you to download any software. Before applying for the online event please consider the following:

  1. Is my internet connection reliable?
  2. Do I have a computer with a working camera, microphone and speaker?
  3. Will I be able to attend all of the sessions during the week? Sessions will take place between 9.30am-5.30pm (British Summer Time) with evening social events from 7-9pm (British Summer Time). Please check how these times work within your time zone.

What times will the sessions take place?

The Summer School will run from Monday 20th-Friday 24th July 2020. Sessions will take place between 9.30am-5.30pm (British Summer Time). Optional evening social events will run from 7-9pm (British Summer Time). We understand that working online can be tiring so there will be plenty of scheduled breaks. 

Are any bursaries available to me?

We occasionally have bursaries available to participants of the Summer School. More details can be found on the dedicated 'Bursaries' page. It is 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.