Winning design of an annual prize issued by the literary translators workgroup (Werkgroep Literair vertalers, Vereniging van Letterkundigen). The award ceremony took place on March 3, 2014 in De Balie, Amsterdam.

Alya Hessy, Translation, 2013
photo Cheryl Schurgers

The workgroup of Literary translators of the Dutch Literary Society presents an annual award to promote and encourage the work of translators. The prize consists of two parts: Translation Angel is for a person or organisation which contributed to the profession of translator and Translation Devil is for a person or organisation which could have done so, but had not. Every few years a different artist is asked to design the prize. In 2013 the Rietveld Academie was approached for this interesting challenge. After a selection procedure, my design was chosen as the winning design.My design is based on the following considerations:
1) The prize has two sides, the important difference is POTENTIAL. This potential is fully developed in the “Angel”, while the “Devil” has a similar hidden potential.
2) Knitting is like language. The loops are like letters, the rows are like words, the pattern forms sentences and paragraphs.
3) Round knitting tells a story, transformed and translated into a new entity, just like with literary translation.
4) The decisive factor in realizing the potential is a human action, an intervention.
5) One of the oldest shapes for a prize is a trophy.
6) In Old Greece the Olympic winners were given a trophy – a vase called amphora, filled with olive oil. One kind of amphoras had a curious feature – one side has red pattern on black background and the other side black pattern on red background, this kind of amphora became known as bilingual vase.The design is one vase: in its Angel form the potential is realized and its golden glow glorifies the winner; in its Devil form the potential is hidden, ready to be transformed – just a human action is needed to turn the Devil into an Angel.