Estonian and Latvian foreign ministers announce the winner of the languages award

Sven Mikser Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs

Author: Raigo Pajula

Today, 10 April, Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser and Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs announced this year’s winner of the Estonian-Latvian Languages Award in Tallinn: translator and poet Guntars Godiņš.

At the meeting preceding the announcement, the foreign ministers discussed bilateral relations and regional cooperation.

“This year, the presentation of the Estonian-Latvian Language Award is slightly more significant and formal than usual. It is a great joy to note that the joint initiative of the foreign ministries of Estonia and Latvia has turned into a dignified tradition, and it is already the 10th year for us to present the award,” Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser said at the ceremony. He added that this year, the shortlist again included very strong candidates whose work and activities have contributed to Estonian and Latvian language cooperation.

“The jury awarded the prize to an extremely experienced Latvian poet and translator who has previously translated nearly 40 literary works from Estonian. As a present for the centenary of Estonia and Latvia, he decided to go through a true trial by fire for a translator and take on the Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg. After nearly four years, Kalevdels was published. Congratulations, Guntars Godiņš!” Mikser said.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs thanked Guntars Godiņš for his remarkable and masterly translation of Estonian national epic poem, which is an invaluable contribution to strengthening cultural links between Latvia and Estonia’.

Kalevdels, the Latvian translation by Guntars Godiņš was published in November 2018 and is the first complete translation of the epic.

Guntars Godiņš has previously won the Estonian-Latvian Languages Award in 2010 and 2013. The foreign ministries of Estonia and Latvia have jointly presented the award since 2009. The aim of the prize is to raise awareness of Estonian and Latvian languages and recognise the work of Estonian and Latvian translators, linguists and teachers in promoting the languages. The winner is awarded €3 000, contributed equally by both ministries.

Last year, the award was presented to translator Rūta Karma for her translation of Viivi Luik’s novel Varjuteater (Shadow theatre).

At the meeting preceding the award ceremony, the foreign ministers affirmed the excellent and close relations of their countries. Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser added that whereas cooperation in several areas, such as defence, digital affairs, culture and regional affairs is successful, it is in our common interest to further strengthen it. “In terms of digital cooperation, one of our goals is to further develop cross-border data exchange,” Mikser said.

Foreign Minister Mikser also expressed support to Latvia as this year’s coordinator of Baltic cooperation, and recognised Latvia’s work during its presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

Photos (Raigo Pajula): https://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/albums/721577064…

More information:

Liisa Toots
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Media Adviser, Communication Department
liisa.toots@mfa.ee
+372 637 7628