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Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize

Translation is an integral part of every day existence in a multilingual India. Given the number of languages in the sub-continent, translation is inevitable from literary exchanges to everyday business transactions.

Translation also lies at the heart of all of Sahitya Akademi’s functioning. Given the importance of translation, Sahitya Akademi instituted Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize in 1989.

Each prize carries a plaque, shawl, citation and the cheque for Rupees Fifty Thousand [₹ 50,000]. Sahitya Akademi translation prize is presented to the best translations in 24 languages recognized by Sahitya Akademi.

Translations among Indian languages are considered at present for the Translation Prize.

For each language the ground list is prepared by two experts.

Then the concerned language advisory board members forward their own lists based on the ground list provided by the experts.

The same is sent to the Preliminary Panel comprising 10 scholars in that language.

The recommendations of the Preliminary Panel are placed before a 3-member jury and the jury selects one from those recommendations.

So far, 707 translations have been awarded in this category.

Procedure of Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize

1. General

Subject to the provisions of rule 1 (2), there shall be an award every year for the most outstanding work of translation by an Indian author, of an original work by Indian author written in a language recognized by Sahitya Akademi and published in India, during the five years prior to the year, immediately preceding the year of the award.

Illustration: For the award of 2014, Woks published between 2008 and 2012 would be considered.

The award for any language may not be given during any year if, in the opinion of the Jury constituted in pursuance of rule 5 (1), no book published in that language during the five years preceding the year of the award merits the award.

The award shall consist of such amount as the Akademi may from time to time decide besides a citation.

2. Criteria of eligibility for the Award

In order to be eligible for the award, the book must be a full, unabridged and readable translation of the original work which must be a work in any of the languages recognized by the Akademi.

Note: Translation of parts of an ancient or medieval classic will also be eligible for the award.

The standing of the original writer and the excellence of the work would also be taken into consideration.

The work of a translator who has earlier won the Translation Prize or who is a member of the Executive Board of the Akademi shall not be considered.

While translation through a link language can be considered, preference will be given to a work of translation from the original language.

A posthumous publication may be eligible for the award.

A book jointly translated by two persons shall be eligible for the award. In the event this work wins the award, the award amount shall be equally divided between the translators.

Translation of monographs published by the Akademi are not eligible for the award.

Canvassing in any form shall disqualify the book for the award.

The Award will be considered only if there is minimum of three books in the final stage of selection.

3. Preparation of the Ground list and obtaining recommendations from members of the Language Advisory Board

The Akademi shall have every year a ground list prepared of eligible books of each recognized language. Preparation of the ground list shall be entrusted to two experts.

Each Language Advisory Board member shall send a panel of not more than five names and the President of the Akademi (hereafter referred to as the President) shall choose the expert or experts out of this panel.

In preparing the ground list, the expert or experts shall strictly conform to the criteria of eligibility laid down in these rules. The ground list so prepared along with the ground list of the previous year shall be sent to all the members of the concerned Language Advisory Board (including the Convener) with the request to recommend two titles each by such date as may be specified by the Akademi. A member may select:

1. both the titles from the ground list, or

2. one title from the ground list and the other on his/her own, or

3. both the titles on his/her own.

4. The Preliminary Panel and its Functions

The Preliminary Panel shall consist of ten Referees. These Referees shall be nominated by the President after considering suggestions of the members of the Language Advisory Board concerned.

The recommendations received from members of the Language Advisory Board shall be compiled and sent to each Referee.

Each Referee should recommend two books. These titles may be selected either out of the list sent in pursuance of rule 4 (2) above or by the Referee on his/her own.

5. The Jury and its Functions

The recommendations of Referees in the Preliminary Panel shall be considered by a three-member Jury. The Jury members shall be selected by the President after considering the recommendations in this behalf by the members of the Language Advisory Board concerned.

The Akademi shall purchase the books recommended by the Referees in the Preliminary Panel and send them to the Jury members and .to the Convener.

The Convener shall act as the link between the Jury and the Akademi. In the absence of the Convener, President can nominate a General Council or Advisory Board Member as a replacement. He/she will ensure that the meeting of the Jury is conducted properly and satisfactorily and will countersign the report of the Jury.

The Jury members shall, either by consensus or by majority, recommend a book for the award. They may also recommend that, in their opinion, no book is eligible for the award during the year. All the members have to attend the meeting, however, only in case of emergency he/she may convey his/her views in writing. He/she should be provided with the facility of participating in the discussion through phone.

6. Declaration of Award

The recommendation of the Jury shall be placed before the Executive Board for formal approval and announcement of the award. The names of the Jury members and the shortlisted books in the final stage shall be made public simultaneously with the announcement of the Award.

7. Miscellaneous

If the time limit for submission of the recommendations is not observed by a member of Language Advisory Board or by a Referee, the Akademi shall presume that he or she has no recommendation to make and shall proceed accordingly unless, in any particular case, it is in a position to extend the time limit and actually does so.

The award ceremony shall be held on such date and at such place as the Executive Board/President may decide.

In the event of the death of an award-winning author before conferment of the award, it shall be given to his/her spouse or to a legal heir.

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