Today in Tallinn Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs announced the winner of the Estonian-Latvian/Latvian-Estonian translation prize. The winner of the prize was Latvian translator Maima Grīnberga. The masterful translation that earned her the award was of Jaan Kross’s great historical novel “Between Three Plagues”. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that it is noteworthy that Maima Grīnberga has already won the translation prize once before, in 2009.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the translation contest proves that Estonian literature is in good standing. “It is brought to Latvian readers by very good professional translators that are enthusiastic about their work. Thanks to them, Estonian literature reaches readers in Latvia and also speaks to them,” Paet stated. He also expressed hope that a new generation of Latvian-Estonian translators is growing so that Latvian authors can be sure that the translations of their works in Estonian will play a role in Estonia’s literary scene.
Foreign ministers Paet and Rinkēvičs expressed their satisfaction that the translation prize initiative has become a tradition of the Estonian and Latvian cultural space – it was given out for the fourth time this year. “We are pleased that the translation prize is well-known in literary circles and it serves as motivation for translators, the cultural mediators of our countries,” added Foreign Minister Paet.
Maima Grīnberga is a dedicated, professional, productive translator with a command of many styles and who is unmatched in her own genre. She has translated the works of many important Estonian authors into Latvian, including those of Jaan Kross and Enn Vetemaa, but also youth and children’s authors Aidi Vallik, Sass Henno, and Andrus Kivirähk.
With the translation prize, the Estonian and Latvian foreign ministers hope to inspire the translation of Estonian-language literature into Latvian and vice versa. The Estonian-Latvian and Latvian-Estonian translation award emphasises the importance of the Estonian and Latvian languages as well as cultural exchange in order to advance the professionalism of translators of literature as well as political, popular science, historical, sociological, memoirs and other texts.
The jury will contain representatives from the foreign ministries of the two countries and the director of each nation’s literature information centre. The monetary value of the award is 3 000 euros, to which both sides are contributing equally.
The agreement that established the Estonian-Latvian and Latvian-Estonian translation award was signed by Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Latvian Foreign Minister Māris Riekstiņš on 18 February 2009. The idea for the creation of the award came from Estonian Ambassador to Latvia Jaak Jõerüüt and Latvian Ambassador to Estonia Kārlis Eihenbaums, who presented a joint letter proposing the implementation of the idea to the foreign ministries of both countries at the end of 2008.
In previous years the prize has been awarded to translators Maima Grīnberga (2009), Guntars Godinš (2010), and Kalev Kalkun (2011).