Sunday, October 19, 2008

Translation Is Foreign to U.S. Publishers

By MOTOKO RICH writing in the New York Times, Published: October 17, 2008

FRANKFURT — David R. Godine, a small independent publisher from Boston, sat down at a French publisher’s booth here at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the annual gathering of the international literary world. “O.K., what’s great?” he asked.
Mr. Godine — who emerged prescient and lucky this month when one of the authors he publishes in translation, the French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, won the Nobel Prize in Literature — is one of a handful of American publishers who regularly seek out books to translate during the fair every year.
It is a commonly held assumption that Americans don’t like to read authors who write in languages they don’t understand. That belief persists here in Frankfurt, where publishers from 100 countries show off a smorgasbord of their best — or at least best-selling — books.
By and large, the American publishers spend most of the week in Hall 8, the enormous exhibit space where English-language publishers hold court.
For the full piece link here to the New York Times.

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