An American building engineer has won top prize in a major translation competition from Japanese into English, the Shizuoka prefectural board of education said.

The recipient of the Grand Prix in the Fourth Shizuoka International Translation Competition is Kenneth Bryson, 54, of Georgia, an employee at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The screening committee, headed by Donald Kenene, a renowned U.S. expert on Japanese literature, also announced that the distinguished translation award went to two Americans — Nancy Ross, 49, a translation instructor at Mazda Motor Corp. and a resident of Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture, and John Townsend, 24, a hospital employee in New York.

Two British men, both 30, won the distinctive merit award. They are Luke Razzell, a piano instructor in London, and Matthew Aldridge, an English teacher in Osaka.

According to the organizers, contestants were asked to choose a short story and a literary criticism and translate them into either English or Korean.

The competition for translating from Japanese into English had 136 contestants from 17 countries, including Japan, while 357 people from six countries took part in the competition for translating from Japanese into Korean.

Five South Korean nationals won the prizes for translating into Korean — one the top prize, two the distinguished translation award and another two the distinctive merit award.

The top winners will be given 1 million yen in prize money and a grant to study in Japan for one year. Recipients of the distinguished award receive 300,000 yen in prize money, while 100,000 yen is paid to those winning the distinctive merit award.

The award ceremony will be held Sept. 20 in the city of Shizuoka.

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