Gutekunst Prize Winner Announced for 2013
The third annual Gutekunst Prize for Young Translators is awarded in 2013 to Alta Price of Long Island City, New York.
Ms. Price’s winning translation was chosen from over two dozen submissions of an English sample from Dea Loher’s 2012 novel, Bugatti taucht auf, published by Wallstein Verlag in 2012 and nominated for the German Book Prize. Each sample translation was read anonymously by the jury, comprised of Tess Lewis, book critic and translator, Damion Searls, author and translator, and Paul Whitlatch, editor at the Scribner imprint of Simon & Schuster, who stated in their decision:
"The more than two dozen submissions for this year's Gutekunst prize spanned a wide range of approaches in translating Dea Loher's prose into English, ranging from the duly faithful to the relatively loose, even inventive. The passage selected for this year's competition from Loher's novel, Bugatti taucht auf, is comprised of journal entries written by Rembrandt Bugatti, a rather repressed sculptor living in Europe at the time of World War I. Alta Price's translation best captures the shifts of tone and register in the narrator's diary—personal insecurity and self-doubt alternating with a strong sense of artistic purpose. The language of the entries is mostly a bit dated, often colloquial and rushed, although interspersed with more formally composed, reflective passages. The jury singled out Ms. Price's translation for its fluid rendering of this subtle, challenging text."Alta L. Price runs an editorial consulting and translation business specialized in texts on art, architecture, design, and culture. She studied German at Brown University while working toward her undergraduate degree in fine art, and a year of study in Italy gave her the opportunity to explore the history of papermaking and book arts in Germany as well. She holds a BFA in Printmaking and Art History from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in Combined Media from Hunter College. Commenting on her translation of the Dea Loher text, she writes:
"The intimate, direct tone of this passage from Dea Loher's Bugatti taucht auf deeply struck me, and I immediately began to puzzle over several of the challenges it posed. Not only could the title be rendered multiple ways in English, but because the excerpt is ostensibly from a young man's diary, it includes editorial insertions that often involve separable verbs and highly ambiguous phrases. On a superficial level, I think I felt an affinity with the narrator because of my background in art and the fact that I also keep a journal. Reading more closely, I realized that the mental and physical frailties of both Rembrandt as well as other characters strongly speak to the broader human condition. The inclusion of terrific nightmarish scenes and the way World War I affected the writer and his extended family seem all too timely. Ultimately, I marveled at (and took great pleasure in) the way Loher managed to channel another person, from another place and time, so completely; in a way, this text was already a translation, which greatly liberated me as I sought to bring it into English.”Alta Price's winning submission (PDF, 130KB)
Ms. Price will receive an award of $2,500 and present her translation at a prize ceremony at the Goethe-Institut New York on June 6, 2013.