This just in!
It looks like the Japanese Literature Publishing Project is holding their first annual translation contest! Apparently they announced this back in late December, but I hadn't caught a whiff of it anywhere until I randomly decided to check out the JLPP website today.
The JLPP needs to advertise more!
One of the requirements is that this is for first-time translators only. Previously published translators (even those with just one story in an anthology) are inelligible. Also, curiously enough, there are no details about the prize for the winner, although there is a first and second prize winner, so hopefully there is one (especially publication!).
There are six total choices for the translation pieces - three short stories and three literary essays. Although the wording might be a little misleading, it sounds like the translator must submit one translation from each category, so a total of two submissions. They even provide PDF files of the pieces - no expensive shipping from Amazon Japan necessary (if you are indeed not living in Japan, like I am)! Also, for any German speakers out there, it's for both English and German translators!
You have almost all year to work on these you guys - the submission period is September 1st, 2011 to November 30, 2011. So get crackin'! Oh, and one of the judges is Stephen Snyder - who translated Yoko Ogawa's The Housekeeper and the Professor and Ryu Murakami's Coin Locker Babies among many other great contemporary works. So that's neat.
Clearly this is very exciting to me. You know I'm giving it a shot.
Anyway, check it out here!