Monday, 9 March 2009

The Changes at SELTA

SELTA (the UK-based Swedish-English Literary Translators' Association) seems to have undergone some changes lately. Perhaps the forming of the new Google Group has had a more far-reaching effect on the association than might have been expected.

Does anyone who is a SELTA member have views on what may happen to the organisation next?

It's possible to leave a comment on any post by clicking on the word "Comments" at the bottom - a box opens up and you can write in it. Perhaps someone could leave a test comment?

3 comments:

  1. SELTA has done a great deal in the past, and still does. Many people like the Swedish Book Review of course. But one gets the impression that the association is rather stuck in its ways... the news that a discussion forum was starting up was a hopeful sign, but it doesn't seem to have worked out.

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  2. What I have always wondered is whether at some stage (probably fairly early on) in SELTA's history it was actually taken over as a sort of cultural arm of the Swedish authorities,although this has never been officially acknowledged by any of the parties involved. The insistence on the use of the Swedish Embassy premises for the association's meetings always looked to me a bit suspect, and there seemed to be a very cosy relationship between the various Swedish cultural counsellors and the top SELTA membership.

    Also, SELTA has traditionally been a place where various rivals in a rather restricted field meet one another, not always with positive results, and I'm wondering too whether this may be one of the factors underlying the present troubles in the group. The online forum seems to have brought some of that latent disharmony out into the open at last.

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  3. The Swedish authorities obviously pay to keep the Swedish Book Review going. And although that is called SELTA's journal, it feels more like a shopfront (and a very useful one too) for Swedish publishers, with the Swedish Arts Council (formerly it was the Swedish Institute)in the background. In a sense, that arrangement is beneficial to both. Sweden gets a magazine on the cheap and SELTA gets a forum for members' translations/articles etc that it would otherwise not have access to. There might be a clash of intersts somewhere, of course, as translators also need to earn a living, and there is a limited amount of literary translation work available. But SBR seems to be open to translators to present their work / new authors and so on, so perhaps one should be satisfied with the system as it is.

    One of the original reasons for establishing SELTA was to have an organisation for the Swedes to do business with, a 'motpart'. That is how things are done in Sweden.

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