I was again impressed by the range of approaches, and especially by the interest in translating classical Latin and Greek texts. In addition, there were some enterprising translations from Sanskrit, for instance, which made me regret my own linguistic ignorance. Almost all entries evinced genuine concern for the source material, as the translator deployed whatever linguistic skills he or she possessed. The opportunity translation offers to explore one's own literary resources is possibly the greatest immediate gain of its practice. But this is not the only benefit; engagement with a source text also obliges a translator to examine intensely that text's own internal structure and working.
I have only one query and I voice it with some hesitation. It concerns the fondness of many of the entrants for what historically is called 'imitation', based on the source text, but updating, presenting it in plausible contemporary garb; this practice verges on parody, which of course is also a form of translation. The approach has a long history and its appeal is obvious. However, it also encourages a somewhat unhistorical way of reading old or ancient texts, applying an often problematical parallelism. While the challenge to the imagination is clear, and the chance of finding sympathetic contemporary readers is enhanced, I venture to suggest that some caution is called for and translators should examine their motivations and objectives and contextualise the parallels drawn.
In general, though, I feel positive about the competition and am pleased that it shows signs of prospering, believing that it offers encouragement both to faculty and students. It becomes clearer than ever that translation is a powerful educational tool. Pushkin called translators 'the carthorses of civilisation'. It is legitimate to hope that among the growing number of entrants to this competition will be found some of the important translators of the future. Although I cease to be a judge from this year, I shall continue to follow this competition. It has been a privilege to be involved and has provided me with food for thought and encouragement in my own work as a translator.