NORLA's Translator’s Award for 2018 goes to Frank Zuber

On October 11th, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, NORLA’s Translator’s Award for was awarded for the 13th time – presented on this occasion by Norway’s Minister of Culture, Trine Skei Grande.

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Winner of NORLA's Translator's Award 2018, Frank Zuber and Norway's Minister of Culture, Trine Skei Grande. Photo: Sabine Felber

Translators are absolutely key to spreading Norwegian literature around the world. Their work is of vital importance, and to highlight this NORLA presents an annual translation award. The award is presented to translators of fiction and of non-fiction, on alternate years, and this year it has gone to a non-fiction translator.

The translator’s award consists of a NOK 20,000 cash prize, as well as a three-week stay in Oslo – principally at the “author’s apartment” at Litteraturhuset.

NORLA’s Translator’s Award for 2018 goes to Frank Zuber who translates from Norwegian to German. He has an M.A. in Scandinavian, German and English-studies from the Goethe University in Frankfurt; and has studied in Frankfurt, Oslo, Odense and Southampton. Frank Zuber has translated an impressive range of fiction and non-fiction titles. The breadth of his work is reflected in the diversity of authors he has translated. He has a wide scope of work, translating from both Bokmål and Nynorsk, and has also translated books by a number of novelists. But on this occasion we are focussing on non-fiction, since it is specifically for his effort in conveying Norwegian non-fiction that he is now being honoured.

Frank Zuber is an engaged and tireless ambassador for Norwegian non-fiction in Germany, who never gives up until he has found a publisher for the book he has chosen. Non-fiction requires something extra from translators, and behind every non-fiction title sold abroad, there is often an enthusiast who has gone to great lengths to find a foreign publisher for precisely that book. This level of personal engagement is often crucial to a book being published in a new language and finding new readers. This applies especially to this year’s prize winner, who has contributed to the publication of a number of books by publishing houses in the German-speaking countries. That the translator can be more than just a linguist is evident from the story of how Zuber translated his first book with NORLA support: A History of the Heart by Ole Martin Høystad.

He became familiar with A History of the Heart at NORLA’s very first seminar for non-fiction translators in 2003. After the seminar, Frank wrote to NORLA saying that he had read the book and thought it was very interesting. "By the way, there’s nothing like this in German (perhaps not even in English), I am very keen to translate it,” he wrote. At the Frankfurt Book Fair he went round with the book in his hand looking for suitable publishers. This not only resulted in a German translation; it opened the door for many more – 19 languages in all.

It should also be mentioned that Frank is a translator who often collaborates with others on translations. He has translated several non-fiction books with Günther Frauenlob, and also books with Daniela Stiltzebach and Nora Pröfrock. The award is therefore presented in the spirit of cooperation. Next year, Norway will be the guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and there is currently a formidable amount of effort being made by all German translators. NORLA would like to honour and give credit to all these German translators for what they are doing for Norwegian literature. So it is wonderful to be able to present NORLA’s translator’s award to Frank Zuber as an inspiration for further work promoting Norwegian non-fiction in the German-speaking countries.

Congratulations to Frank Zuber on receiving NORLA’s Translator’s Award for 2018!

Frank Zuber lives in Wiesbaden, Germany.

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Frank Zuber. Photo: Sabine Felber

Read more
More information about Frank and an overview of the titles he has translated can be found at Books from Norway.

More information about NORLA’s translator’s award, and an overview of the former award-winners can be found here.