Since we’re basically at the end of the year, I thought it would be a good time to do one last final update to the 2009 Translation Database . . . and to post the first one of 2010.
First off, here’s the link to download the 2009 Translation spreadsheet. As you can see, this file contains all the original fiction and poetry translations released in the U.S. this past year. (And by “original,” I mean never before published in English translation in any form. So no retranslations, reprints, paperback versions of hardcovers, etc.)
Although there may be a title or two that I’m missing, I think this is basically it for 2009. A few titles actually came off this list recently—two poetry books from a publisher that had to delay them to 2010 thanks to our awesome economy.
Here are some general comparisons:
In 2008 there were 362 total titles published (280 fiction, 82 poetry);
In 2009 there were 348 total titles published (283 fiction, 65 poetry).
So as I pointed out in the last update, the number of fiction titles stayed about the same (up slightly this year), the number of poetry collections published in translation in 2009 was down almost 14% mostly due to small publishers delaying titles, etc.
The most translated language in 2009 was Spanish (59 books), followed by French (51), German (31), Arabic (22), Italian (18), Japanese (18), Swedish (18), Russian (12), and Norwegian (11).
In terms of country, France was at the top (32 books), followed by Italy (19), Japan (19), Spain (19), Sweden (18), Germany (11), Norway (11), Russia (11), Austria (10), China (10), and Turkey (10).
(One thing that stands out to me from these numbers is just how published the Francophone countries are. There were 19 books translated from the French from authors living outside of France. A good number of these from Quebecois writers . . .)
I haven’t entered much of anything for 2010 yet, but just for fun (and to help write my next post), I ran the numbers we have so far for next year. Here’s the link to download the 2010 Translation spreadsheet.
Not too many really interesting numbers here, but I have already identified 73 books, the vast majority of which are coming out in January, February, and March, so maybe 2010 will be a good year for literature in translation . . .
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .