For more dialogue, networking and visibility for theatre translators in funding structures
You can download the PDF (in German) here:
Förderung von Theaterübersetzung, edited by Antje Oegel and Barbora Schnelle, with contributions by Hannes Becker. Berlin: Drama Panorama, 2021.
As part of the project panorama #1: übertheaterübersetzen, organised by Drama Panorama: Forum für Übersetzung und Theater e. V., a full-day workshop took place on the topic of Translation Funding in Theatre on the 1st of November 2021 in the English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Centre. In it, we discussed working conditions for theatre translators with the participants and how to implement the unique aspects of their work into the current funding available and its structures. In the public panel discussion afterwards, we invited representatives of various institutions to talk about the status of theatre translators with regard to funding opportunities: Nina Thielicke (cultural manager and project manager at the Deutsche Übersetzerfonds), Steffen Klewar (programme director at Fonds Darstellende Künste, theatre director and performer), Uwe Carstensen (member of the jury for the Deutsche Literaturfonds and former director of S. Fischer Theater- und Medienverlag) as well as Daniel Brunet (translator and producing artistic director at the English Theatre Berlin). The full discussion can be found on Drama Panorama’s YouTube channel.
During our research on the topic, we created a survey to ask theatre translators about their experiences with existing funding programmes and for an evaluation of their own working conditions. Some of the results are presented in this booklet. The survey was answered by all the workshop participants. It does not represent all theatre translators. For us it was primarily an important building block for work in the workshop, where we, building on the answers of those who completed the survey, tried to explore the structural conditions of working in theatre translation.
Theatre translators work on the borders of several arts sectors – and for funding institutions they’re often difficult to categorise. Their final product is rarely published as a literary text, but rather is intended for performance in a theatre. However, in this regard, the work is also not “finished”, but awaits further components like acting, directing, set design, music, etc.
Internationality, cultural exchange, looking outside the box – many theatres advertise their seasons with these buzz words when they produce international plays. But in order for foreign-language plays to make it onto German stages, they need to be translated first.
The work of playwrights and play translators is increasingly dependent on financial support from private and state foundations. How this situation is reflected in the current funding options available is the subject of this booklet. In it, we wanted to present and summarise these funding structures, resources and options and offer some ideas for everyone involved in theatre translation.
We would be very happy if our project, without making any claims to being a complete representation, would encourage dialogue between the relevant players and serve as a step on the path to more visibility for theatre translators in funding.
Antje Oegel and Barbora Schnelle