Translators Associations Europe: CEATL

Welcome to the "cultural and linguistic patchwork"

Translation Association Europe: CEATLThe European Council of Literary Translators Associations (Conseil Européen des Associations de Traducteurs Littéraires, CEATL) is an international non-profit association under Belgian law. It was officially created in 1993 as a platform for literary translators associations from different countries in Europe. At CEATL they would be able to exchange views and expertise, as well as join forces to improve both the status and the working conditions of literary translators.

It all began with 10 founding members. Nowadays, this translation association has 32 member associations from 26 European countries, which represents around 10,000 individual authors. It is “the main European interlocutor in the field of literary translation”.

According to the people in charge of the organisation, Europe is “a cultural and linguistic patchwork, joined together by an age-old tradition of intensive exchange”. The importance of written texts in this exchanges is stressed by CEATL, as “literature (in the broad sense) is the place where living cultures store their capital: if you want to understand another culture, you must read its books”. It is for that reason that CEATL exists: because “literary translation is fundamental to everything Europe represents”. Even Italian writer Umberto Eco is quoted when he says “the language of Europe is translation”.

CEATL has two different sets of aims: internal and external. Internally, the members of this association gather insight on the current situation of literary translation – as well as its professionals – in its members’ countries of origin. CEATL wishes to share experiences and examples of good practice. Externally, the association stands for legal, social and economic interests of literary translator at European levels. This includes EU lobbying and public reactions to “trends or events impacting on our profession and on the quality of literary translation”. It is CEATL’s intention to provide individual member associations with the strengthening of their position in their countries.

Once a year, delegates representing member associations get together for the general meeting, hosted by associations in turns.

Leaders of CEATL stress that the association “does not exist independently from its members: its strength as an umbrella organisation completely depends on the national associations and their representatives”. CEATL needs its members to be active in order to increment its own effectiveness in pursuing its two main objectives.

There are two kinds of members at CEATL. Active members are literary translators associations registered and seeded in a European country. These are entitled to vote at the annual general meeting. As for Associate members, it is a category aimed at “literary translators associations in non-European countries and pan-European or international organisations involved in literary translation”. These may be permitted to join the association at the annual general meeting, however, they are not entitled to vote.

To apply for membership, you must send your application (in English or French) to the board by email, together with documentary evidence of the “candidate association’s representativeness”. Proof may be relevant extracts of the association’s articles, a short overview of the organisation (including structure, budget, number of members, links to other organisations, etc.) or a list of sample activities.

Working Groups

CEATL has established several working groups that collect and publish insight about specific subjects concerning literary translation in Europe. At the moment there are six active groups. The themes are “working conditions”, “copyright and e-rights”, “visibility”, “training and education”, “best practices” and “literary translation news”.

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