The jury are happy to award the David Reid Prize to David Colmer for his translation of De Tuinman en de Dood. This is a straightforward and unaffected version that avoided all the obvious snares. P.N. van Eyck's poem seemed somewhat more of a challenge for the over forty entrants than the poem of the previous competition, Hendrik Marsman's Denkend aan Holland. This was due mainly to the strict metre and occasional ballad-like archaisms of P.N. van Eyck's poem, which did not work in versions that resorted to ‘olde’ English. Colmer has avoided this pitfall, while preserving the timeless tone of the poem. He has fulfilled what must be the central criterion of a good translation, to convey the spirit and poetry of the original. His version has captured the terror of this tale that is disguised by its slow formal metre and language. The rhymes are unforced and while he sometimes achieves this by including small interpretations of his own, these are if anything positive additions, as they make for greater naturalness, without conflicting with the spirit of the original.
In a crowded field for the runner-up, the jury felt that Judith Wilkinson was a good choice. Again her version stands out for its unforced rhymes and the fact that she seems very comfortable in following the metre of the original. Once again, a good translation depends on the translator hearing the pacing, the pauses and the metre of the original and Judith Wilkinson confidently meets these requirements.Donald Gardner, May 2007