Medal for Excellence in Translation

Recognising outstanding achievement in translation

Who can apply

A translator who submits a book-length translation into English of a work of any genre (including scholarship) from any language and period. The winner receives a medal, certificate and monetary prize of $1,000.

How to apply

Applications occur every 2 years. The next round of applications open February 2024.


The Medal for Excellence in Translation is a major national award that recognises outstanding achievement in translation. This award celebrates the vital role of translators and translation in Australian culture and scholarly discourse.

This major award is generously supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, Monash University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Western Australia.

Past recipients

The inaugural medal was awarded in 2016.


Penny Hueston for Being Here: The Life of Paula Modersohn-Becker by Marie Darrieussecq (Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2017), an account of the life of ground-breaking Expressionist painter Paula Modersohn-Becker.


  • Paul Gibbard for The Dream by Émile Zola (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), a major new translation of the sixteenth novel in Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series, and the first substantial critical edition.

  • Omid Tofighian for No Friend but the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani (Toronto: Anansi, 2019), an autobiographical account of Boochani’s perilous journey to Christmas Island and his subsequent incarceration in an immigration detention facility on Manus Island.


Julie Rose for Simon Leys: Navigator Between Worlds by Philippe Paquet (La Trobe University Press/Black Inc. Books, 2017)


  • David Holm for Hanvueng: The Goose King and the Ancestral King, An Epic from Guangxi in Southern China (Brill, 2015)
  • Geoff Wilkes for The Greater Hope by Ilse Aichinger (Königshausen and Neumann, 2016)

Professor John Minford, for his translation of I Ching (Yijing): The Book of Change, from Chinese to English.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.