Evaristo and Faulks among writers calling for translator cover credits

Evaristo and Faulks among writers calling for translator cover credits

Bestselling authors including Bernardine Evaristo, Sebastian Faulks and Preti Taneja have called on writers to ask their publishers for translator names to appear on book covers.

The open letter, launched on the Society of Authors website for International Translation Day, has been signed by more than 100 authors. It was written by Jennifer Croft, the translator of Olga Tokarczuk’s International Booker Prize-winning Flights (Fitzcarraldo Editions) and Mark Haddon, author of bestsellers including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage).

The letter says it is "thanks to translators that we have access to world literatures past and present" and states: "It is thanks to translators that we are not merely isolated islands of readers and writers talking amongst ourselves, hearing only ourselves."

It also says: "Translators are the life-blood of both the literary world and the book trade which sustains it. They should be properly recognised, celebrated and rewarded for this. The first step towards doing this seems an obvious one. From now on we will be asking, in our contracts and communications, that our publishers ensure, whenever our work is translated, that the name of the translator appears on the front cover."

Commenting on the campaign, Haddon said: "This is the simplest and easiest way for authors to treat translators with the gratitude and respect they deserve." 

Croft commented: "This is an essential change that takes almost no time to make and costs publishers nothing. Literature’s future must be honest, equal, and just."

In a separate move, Charco Press, which names translators on its books, marked International Translation Day with a short video asking translators to reflect on what translation means to them.