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Chair of International Booker Prize judging panel calls for translator royalties

Frank Wynne has called for publishers to reward translators more generously.

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International Booker Prize chair calls for translator royalties (Booker Prize/PA)

International Booker Prize chair calls for translator royalties (Booker Prize/PA)

International Booker Prize chair calls for translator royalties (Booker Prize/PA)

International Booker Prize judging panel chairman Frank Wynne has said “it is only fair that translators benefit from bestsellers and prize-winners that they have helped to create”.

The panel of judges last week announced 13 books for this year’s longlist, translated from 10 languages and originating from 12 countries across four continents.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, Wynne, who is the first translator to chair the panel, has called for publishers to reward translators more generously, urging them to offer royalties on book sales.

He said: “Although few works in translation will ever earn royalties, it is only fair that translators benefit from bestsellers and prize-winners that they have helped to create.

“While most independent publishers offer fair royalties, many of the larger publishers do not, or do so only to a small number of translators.”

Wynne added that paying fair rates will make a career in translation more accessible.

The International Booker is awarded each year to a single fiction book and “aims to encourage more publishing and reading of quality works of imagination from all over the world, and to give greater recognition to the role of translators”, according to the prize.

The 2022 judging panel consists of Wynne, author and academic Merve Emre, writer and lawyer Petina Gappah, writer and comedian Viv Groskop, and translator and author Jeremy Tiang.

The shortlist for the International Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on April 7.

The announcement of the winner will follow on May 26 at a ceremony at One Marylebone in London.

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