Monday, 6 August 2012

The End of the Beginning...

As the MA in Literary Translation is coming to an end, I can’t help but look back at all the wonderful opportunities I have been given throughout the course. Not only have I learnt a lot about the theory and practice of literary translation but I have also had the chance to develop further skills which I know will prove indispensable to me in my future career.
Firstly, in October, I was chosen to be one of the interns at the British Centre for Literary Translation. My main task involved using my experience as a library assistant and working with the staff at the BCLT to organise and arrange the books in their library, which is made up of a large number of extremely varied translated novels, poetry and plays as well as translation reference books and journals. The aim was to make this extensive resource more easily accessible to staff and students who could benefit from it. I think this may have been achieved by the newly implemented strictly ordered system and bright yellow labels for each section!
In my role as intern, I also helped to promote the International Fiction Reading Group, run by          Dr. B. J. Epstein and held at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library. Each month, I designed and displayed posters around the university and city centre. I soon became a member of the group which meets once a month to discuss a work of translated literature, some of which were thoroughly enjoyable whilst others were slightly more challenging (if you ever get the chance to read The Colonel by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, translated from the Persian by Tom Patterdale, it is worth it in the end!). It was great to be part of such a unique and inspiring reading group and I would love to set up a similar group dedicated to reading literature in translation sometime in the future.
Another role I took on during the course was as a member of the editorial board of Norwich Papers, an annual, student-run journal about different aspects of translation studies. As a team of five, we started off with lots of ideas and plans for our issue of the journal which we decided would be called ‘The Next Big Thing: Current Trends in Translation Studies.’ We set up a blog (, created a facebook page ( and decided to add interview and review sections to complement the range of interesting articles we received from around the world. Working on Norwich Papers has required teamwork, organisation and strict time management but I have a feeling we are all going to be extremely happy with what we have achieved when we see the finished product (which should be available in September this year).
Although there is now less than two months left until we have to hand in our completed dissertations, there is still one incredible opportunity to look forward to. The BCLT Summer School. Over the course of five days, a group of literary translators will come together in Norwich, recently named as England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, to work with translators and writers to produce a consensus translation of a text in workshops and attend other exciting translation events. This will be the last in a long list of opportunities and I cannot wait! I’m looking forward to putting what I have already learnt on the MA into action as well as learning a whole lot more!
I guess what I’m really trying to say is thank you to the University of East Anglia, the British Centre for Literary Translation and all the staff and students that have made the MA in Literary Translation such an enjoyable experience.
Fiona Hayter translates from German, French and Spanish into English. She is currently studying the MA in Literary Translation at UEA where she also recently completed an internship at the British Centre for Literary Translation. You can contact her at


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