Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lost translations

Two years ago, media specialist Rüdiger Wischenbart, participated in a panel discussion titled “The Non-English Patient” at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In this presentation, Mr. Wischenbart talked about book translations from English to other languages and vice versa, and the numbers were troubling: 55% to 60% of translations into other languages have English originals, but only 3% to 5% are translated into English.

Koïchiro Matsuura, a Japanese diplomat promoting cultural diversity, uses an example to illustrate what happens with the translation of materials: 70 percent of all books translated into Serbian have English originals. This is troubling because it is important to have a balance in the materials that are available to the public. It is great that American writers can be read in other languages, and people around the world can learn from and enjoy their works, but the American public has limited access to translations from other wonderful authors worldwide.

Organizations and authors around the world are making efforts to change this trend and help writers from other languages get their works known to English speakers. Each November we have an exhibit of translated works at Faulk Central Library, but if you don't want to wait that long, visit us today and check out some books by great authors such as:

Arundhati Roy (India)
Viktor Pelevin (Russia)
Naomi Hirahara (Japan)
Kenzaburo Oe (Japan)
Gao Xinjian (China)
Elfriede Jelinek (Austria)
Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt)
Oriana Fallaci (Italy)
Jamal Mahjoub (Sudan)
Reinaldo Arenas (Cuba)
Gioconda Belli (Nicaragua)
Octavio Paz (Mexico)

among others, enjoy your reading!

No comments: