1 November 12 | Chad W. Post

So, a mere 10 months into the year, I’ve finally updated the Translation Database and just posted a new version of the spreadsheet for 2011 and posted the first version of the spreadsheet for 2012..

I’m fully aware that the 2012 list of poetry books is woefully incomplete, so if you are a poet, or a translator of poetry, or a reader of the poetic form, PLEASE email me with info on all of the books that are not listed here. I’m going to go through the SPD catalog really carefully when I get back from Sharjah (yeah, really, I’ll explain later), but it’s SO much easier to get the info from all of you.

Since the poetry needs to be updated, I’m going to save any global comments about the state of literature in translation in the U.S. for a later post. It is worth noting that at this moment, I’ve identified 385 original1 translations published in 2012, compared to 370 in 2011—a 4% increase. This isn’t huge, but if we do identify 20-30 more poetry books, this could end up being closer to a 10% increase, which would be pretty significant.

Sticking to fiction though, there are 342 translated titles published in 2012, compared to 303 in 2011—a notable 13% increase. If you look at the top 10 publishers of translated fiction, they accounted for 107 books in 2011 (Dalkey 30; AmazonCrossing 17; Knopf 11; Europa 9; New Directions 9; Seagull Books 9; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 8; New York Review Books 7; Open Letter 7) and 139 in 2012 (Dalkey 32; AmazonCrossing 25; Europa 14; Seagull 14; American University at Cairo 12; FSG 10; Other Press 10; Open Letter 8; Archipelago 7; New Directions 7).

There are a few changes in the most translated languages rankings . . . Here’s the list from 2011:

French (63)
Spanish (50)
German (39)
Japanese (23)
Italian (20)
Russian (19)
Swedish (19)
Arabic (15)
Norwegian (14)
Chinese (12)

And 2012:

French (57)
German (50)
Spanish (45)
Italian (32)
Arabic (25)
Swedish (23)
Russian (17)
Portuguese (15)
Japanese (13)
Chinese (11)

The one I’m most interested in watching over the next few years is Japanese. As we have yet to report, the Japanese Literature Publishing Project went kaputt over the summer, which is going to a huge blow to Dalkey Archive’s Japanese Literature Series and to several other presses. The number of titles published in the U.S. has already dropped from 23 to 13, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Japanese falls out of the top 10 in 2013.

Anyway, download the spreadsheet and take a look at all of the books and stats. If you find anything interesting, or know of titles that need to be added, just let me know, or post them in the comments below.

1 “Original” means that the book has never before appeared in any English translation at all. Even if a book was first translated in 1932, sold 7 copies, and was just rediscovered and translated anew in 2012, it won’t be included in this database. My goal in setting this up was to identify “new” voices/books that English readers never before had access to in any form.


Comments are disabled for this article.
....
The Cold Song
The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann
Reviewed by David Richardson

Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .

Read More >

This Life
This Life by Karel Schoeman
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .

Read More >

A Dilemma
A Dilemma by Joris-Karl Hyusmans
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .

Read More >

Walker on Water
Walker on Water by Kristiina Ehin
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .

Read More >

The Nightwatches of Bonaventura
The Nightwatches of Bonaventura by Bonaventura
Reviewed by J. T. Mahany

Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .

Read More >

Pavane for a Dead Princess
Pavane for a Dead Princess by Park Min-Gyu
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .

Read More >

Tram 83
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Reviewed by Caitlin Thomas

Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .

Read More >

Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic by Octave Mirbeau
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .

Read More >

Sphinx
Sphinx by Anne Garréta
Reviewed by Monica Carter

Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .

Read More >

Morse, My Deaf Friend
Morse, My Deaf Friend by Miloš Djurdjević
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .

Read More >