How to apply

For starters, choose a prose text—regardless if it is a novel, a novella, a short story, or a piece of nonfiction—written in one of the official EU languages that you would like to translate into one of the languages spoken in the country (Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Romani, Serbian, Vlach). Of course, to enter the competition and become a potential award winner, we do not expect you to translate a whole novel or a memoir, but an excerpt or a shorter text, between 3,000 and 5,000 words in length. It is already easier, right?

Still, in order to maintain the spirit of competition and to have you demonstrate your research abilities, we would like you to meet three important criteria when choosing the source text: the work must be originally published in an EU member state in one of the Union’s official languages, three years before the application deadline at the earliest, and not to be translated into the target language into which you choose to translate.

In the section Useful Links for Potential Entrants we left you examples of places where you might find the title that strikes your fancy. Our list is far from exhaustive, but it can give you an idea how to search further: on the websites of the national libraries or the publishing houses in the respective countries, their cultural centres in North Macedonia, in the online editions of daily and weekly newspapers, or of cultural and literary magazines.

If you wish to check whether the work has already been translated into Macedonian, you may do so on the website of the Cooperative Online Bibliographical System and Services: For some of the other languages spoken in North Macedonia, you will need to check similar platforms in other countries, such as:,, or

Since for the competition you will translate short stories or shorter book excerpts, you have a great opportunity to establish cooperation with fellow translators who work with the same source language. You could, for instance, find and acquire a work together, and then amicably divide it into excerpts or shorter texts on which you will work individually or in groups.

Speaking of cooperation, you can enter the competition with a translation you have done on your own or together with (an)other translator(s). If you think you have a similar approach to translation with somebody and that you complete one another well, use the opportunity offered by Babylon and enter a translation that will be a collaborative project of up to three translators. If, on the other hand, you prefer working alone, send us a translation you have done on your own. And if you have a hard time choosing because both options appeal to you, or if you cannot decide on a single source texts, we have a solution for you too. Each entrant may send up to three separate entries, so you could try a bit of both.

Once you have completed the translation(s), what next? Do not worry, you have only a few trifles left, which, if you have come this far, are truly a piece of cake.

For starters, download the , fill it in, and scan it. Then, write us a motivation letter in which you will explain what inspired you to enter the competition, what is your aim with applying, and why you have decided on the source text of your choice. The letter may be written more colloquially, we would like to hear your authentic voice and what it is about literary translation that appeals to you.

Then email the scanned application form, the motivation letter, the source text, the translation, and a copy of your ID to:

Please be mindful of a couple of details. In the copy of the source text do not forget to include the original title and the author’s name, and make sure that it has numbered pages.

Do not forget to number the pages of your translation, which should be typed in Times New Roman 12 and double-spaces.

Additionally, in order to maintain your anonymity, make sure that your name is nowhere on the source or the translated text. Please send us the translation using a code of your choosing, and if you send multiple entries, each will have to be accompanied by a separate application form and the complete documentation, and using a separate code.

Every year, the application deadline is on the first workday in April.

When you send your entry to, you will receive a confirmation email that it has been received. The translations go through three selection rounds, the first of which is purely formal, whereby we verify that the entry is complete and correct, and that it fulfils all criteria. The translations then are subject to bilingual and monolingual assessments, conducted by experienced translators, authors, and university professors, who evaluate not just the correctness of the translation but also the structure and the grammar of the target language, the vocabulary, as well as the expression and style.

Considering the fact that the competition is open to translations in multiple target languages, there are separate first prizes for each target language, but the Organising Committee retains the right not to award a prize or to give additional honourable mentions if it should see fit. A representative of the EU Delegation will contact the entrants before the award ceremony and invite them to attend the event, which traditionally takes place on 26 September, the European Day of Languages, when the upcoming edition of the award is also announced.

If you have additional questions regarding the application procedure, do not hesitate to contact us at

What could you win by entering Babylon?

1.Attendance of an international event related to literature, publishing, and/or translation in an EU member country. The award winners of the fifth edition of Babylon, Nikola Spasovski and Ardita Zulfiu, attended the Liber International Book Fair in Madrid, and the 2019 Babylon winner, Elena Mitrička, will attend the Frankfurt Book Fair.

2.One-year active membership to the Macedonian Translators Association. Active members have the right to participate in the Association’s annual meetings, to access MATA’s events and publications for free or at a considerable discount, as well as to vote for and hold position in the Association’s bodies and committees. More on the advantages of membership you may read at

3.Publishing the translation, partially or in full, in the Kulturen život magazine, as a step in starting or developing your professional resume.