Hot off the press comes this report of last November: the Crime Writers Association awarded the Golden Dagger to Silence of the Grave, by Arnaldur Indridason (German Todeshauch – see krimiblog.de). It was translated into English by Bernard Scudder. But in future, translations will not be allowed. (This has nothing to do with the new sponsor, Duncan Lawrie Private Bank, after whom the prize is being renamed the Duncan Lawrie Dagger):
Books in translation present a particular problem. Are we rewarding the original writer or the translator? The problems of catching idiom and ‘voice’ in one language and reproducing this in another are formidable. The role of the translator is more creative than that of simply transcribing from one language into another. We are therefore actively seeking a sponsor for an award that will recognise the contribution of the translator and hope to make an announcement as soon as possible.
The Duncan Lawrie Dagger is the world’s premier award for new crime fiction. Last year there were over two hundred entries for its predecessor, the Gold Dagger. The introduction of the new Duncan Lawrie Dagger will almost certainly increase the entry again.
The decision to exclude translations is in no way jingoistic: this Dagger is open to anyone writing crime fiction anywhere in the world, as long as the book is written in English and published in the UK.
Guardian article of November.