The English Translation Award 

A Special Gift Initiative by the Wellesley Club UK

At the Wellesley Club UK’s celebration of its 45th anniversary, which also marked the European launch of the Wellesley Effect Campaign, a group of alums suggested the Club make a special gift to the College to support the Campaign's goals. The Club board loved the idea, and researched appropriate funding opportunities. The outcome of this process was to fund the new English Translation Award.


This Award initiative supports two key pillars of the Campaign: Intellectual community and 21st-century impact. We felt a translation award was a particularly apt gift for our Club: many of our members are based in London, a global city, and we come from many different nations and speak a wide range of languages.

The Club's goal is to raise a total of $10,000 by the end of 2019, when the Campaign wraps up. The Club itself will match-fund contributions up to a total of $2,000. All gifts will count towards the Campaign.

Wellesley College professors Yu Jin Ko and Larry Rosenwald have been spearheading the English Translation Prize. They are delighted by the Wellesley Club UK's interest in raising funds to extend the prize’s scope. “The prestige of translations and translation theory is increasing in the larger intellectual world, becoming more central and more widely studied,” explains Rosenwald. “The funding for the award could not be arriving at a more opportune moment. The growing student interest in translation is matched by a growing faculty interest. When we teach courses on translation, and look to our colleagues for guest lectures, we have a happy abundance of choice, and worry not about finding people with an interest but about how to choose from among the many colleagues by whom that interest is shared.”

In the last few years, the English Department has sought to offer prizes in translation along with the traditional literary prizes in fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and critical essays. So, for example, The Florence Annette Wing Memorial Prize for Lyric Poetrynow includes a Prize for Lyric Poetry in Translation, which went in 2016 to Aathira Chennat, ’17, for “We Would Love Life” (from Arabic of a poem by Mahmoud Darwish). Similarly,The Johanna Mankiewicz Davis Prize for Prose Fiction in Translationwas awarded to Maya Saupe, '18, for “The Most Handsome Drowned Man in the World” (from Spanish of “El ahogado más hermoso del mundo” by Gabriel García Marquez). In 2015 a short story translated from Japanese and a poem translated from Chinese won prizes.

With our support, the Department will soon have a dedicated long-term fund to continue to offer the translation prize in three genres: poetry, fiction and the essay. As chair of the Prize Committee, Jin Ko has reached out to language and literature chairs to spread the word about the new translation prize categories, so that their faculty and students can get excited about the challenge of preparing a translation for submission. He adds, “if we are able to promote a brand new funded prize highlighting the work of student translators, I believe we will get even more submissions.”

We invite you to help fund the Wellesley Club UK English Translation Award and inspire students to contribute to this emerging field. Donations may be made directly to the College or via the Wellesley College Foundation (UK) Limited, a dual qualified charity. Designate “English Translation Award” to ensure the gift is allocated correctly. A UK Gift Aid form is included at the end of the newsletter. 

For more details, please see contact Eileen Flood on eflood@wellesley.eduor phone +44 (0)20 7502 2813.