Our History

The idea of a framework for the education and training of literary translators was born in 2008, when a joint initiative of the Dutch (NLF) and Flemish (VFL) Literary Funds, The Expertise Centre for Literary Translation (ELV, Utrecht-Louvain) and the Dutch Language Union (NTU) published a report ‘for preserving a flourishing translation culture’ in the Dutch language area.

The report contained a strong appeal to create systems of lifelong learning in which academic programmes and initiatives outside academia would work together in a flexible way. These ideas were presented and discussed at the PETRA Conference in Brussels in December 2011.

Among the recommendations of the report was to start a discussion on long term structures for the education and training of literary translators which would involve the exchange and cooperation between academic and non-academic institutions on the contents of training, on practical issues and methods of teaching. The recommendations also included the development of a learning line for literary translators with a distinct sequence of steps from beginners to professional translators, including the training of translators willing to transfer their knowledge and skills.

The organizers of the PETRA Conference asked the ELV to implement the recommendations on education of the PETRA Conference. Eventually, it was the Dutch Language Union together with Utrecht University, the University of Leuven and five European partners (CEATL, Deutscher Übersetzerfonds, ELTE University Budapest, BCLT University of East Anglia, Fondazione Universitaria San Pellegrino) who applied for an Erasmus+ grant, which was awarded.

The Framework was conceived to offer a systematic overview of the skills and knowledge a literary translator might acquire through their career and as a tool determine their competence level. At the same time, the framework would serve as an instrument to benchmark the existing programmes, individual courses and workshops on literary translation.