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Translation Database

Three Percent was named after the oft-cited statistic (first established by Bowker) that only 3% of books published in the U.S. are translations. We suspected that 3% number was a little high, but we had no way of confirming our suspicions--there were no real records of the number of translations published from year to ...

The Biggest Update to the Translation Databases Ever (And Some More Women in Translation Data)

OK, I’m supposed to be packing for my summer vacation right now, so this is going to be a lot shorter than it otherwise would be. But! I just updated the Translation Databases! Not just the spreadsheets for 2016 and 2017, but every spreadsheet I’ve ever run. There’s up to date info on 2008-2018 AND new ...

Complete Translation Databases

To download the complete Translation Database, click here. To download the 2018 Translation Database, click here. To download the 2017 Translation Database, click here. To download the 2016 Translation Database, click here. To download the 2015 Translation Database, click here. To download the 2014 ...

Updated 2014, 2015, & 2016 Translation Databases

I just uploaded new versions of 2014, 2015, and 2016 translation databases to our master translation database part of the website. There are two big updates worth noting here, before getting into some of the breakdowns: 1) I added over 150 titles to the 2016 database, so this is starting to look a little bit more robust ...

Translation Database Updates: AmazonCrossing Is the Story

The other day, I posted about the Translation Databases, pointing out that the 2014, 2015, and 2016 databases have all be substantially updated. That post was a bit bleak, talking about a 15% reduction in the number of works of fiction and poetry published in 2015 when compared to 2014.1 Since that went live, a lot of ...

2015 Translation Database Update

I just updated the 2015 Translation Database.. If you want to compare this to past years, you can find info on all translations from 2008-2015 here. This is one of the free services Three Percent provides as a nonprofit organization, and which I work on in my spare time because I care about the field of literature. I know ...

Updated 2014 and 2015 Translation Databases

OK, so there are still titles to uncover for the 2015 Translation Database, but this update gives us a much clearer picture of how many translations of fiction and poetry will be coming out in the U.S. this year. As a reminder, in 2014 (and this should be pretty close to 99% accurate), there were 591 translations published ...

The Translation Databases Have Been Updated

If you want to download all new, up to date version of the Translation Databases, you can do it here. These include all books that I’ve logged on through this morning, although, as always, if there’s anything missing, just email me. I have a day or two of Edelweiss catalogs to search through before the 2015 ...

Translation Database Update, Including 442 Titles Coming in 2014

Thanks to our new access to Edelweiss and Aaron Westerman’s incredibly valuable spreadsheet, I was finally able to update the 2014 Translation Database and post it online.. And unlike years past when the spring update has a couple hundred books and seems remarkably incomplete, I’ve already identified 442 works of ...

Updated 2013 Translation Database: The First Year to Break 500!

At long last, I just posted an updated 2013 Translation Database, and following the trend of recent years, the number of books has increased—significantly. In fact, this is the first year since we started tracking the publication of never-before translated works of fiction and poetry that we surpassed 500 total books ...

Updated Translation Databases!

I just finally posted the updates to both the 2012 and 2013 translation databases to our Translation Database page.1 I don’t have a lot to say, analysis-wise, about this most recent update. At the moment, there are 419 titles included for 2013, compared to 452 for 2012. By year’s end, I suspect these will be ...

2012 Translation Database is FINALLY Online [Chad's So Lazy]

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 ...

Translations of Fiction Up 14% [Translation Database]

After seemingly forever, I’ve finally updated the Translation Database and posted updated spreadsheets for 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. As always, we only keep track of works of fiction and poetry that have never been for sale in the U.S. in any translation. So retranslations—no matter how ...

New Year, New Databases, New Numbers [Translation Decimation]

Now that 2010 is over, it seems like an appropriate time to post updated “Translation Databases”: and take a closer look at the state of literature in translation in the U.S. Not to give it all away, but things aren’t trending so well . . . Before getting to the numbers, here’s the normal spiel: I ...

Send Me Your Titles, Your Catalogs, Your Missing Favorites [Translation Database Update]

It’s been way, way too long since we last updated the Translation Databases. But in my defense, over the summer my computer—where the database was stored—basically stopped functioning, and it’s taken months to gather up the mental energy to get back into this . . . But at long last, everything’s ...

Translation Databases: May 2010 Update

It’s been months since I last posted an update of the translation databases . . . And I know full well that even this version of the 2010 database isn’t anywhere near complete. So if there’s anything you’ve translated/published/read that’s missing, please just send me an e-mail. I have an ...

Translation Databases: 2009 & 2010

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 ...

2009 Translation Database and Some Fun Numbers

With the end of 2009 approaching, it seems like as good a time as ever to post an update to our translation database and look at some comparisons and more interesting numbers. First off, you can click here to download the entire Excel file that lists all original translations of fiction and poetry released in the U.S. in ...

It's September–Time for a Translation Database Update

Since it’s the start of a new month, and since I’ve added a number of books since the last update, it seems like the perfect time to post updated versions of our Translation Database. To read the complete background on this database, and to access the updated files, simply click here. Or, click here for the 2008 ...

Translation Database–Fixed!

Thanks to everyone who pointed out how I screwed up the links to the latest versions of the 2008 and 2009 translation databases . . . Everything should be fixed now. And if you don’t feel like revisiting the original post, here are the correct links: 2008 Translations 2009 Translations Sorry it’s taken so ...

Translation Database Update

I know things have been pretty quiet around here of late—I’ve been out of the office and am detail with some personal issues, so I might not be posting as much as usual for the next couple weeks—but since July 1st is such a great day for spreadsheets, I thought I’d post updated versions of the 2008 and ...

Translation Database Update: The Bolano Effect?

It’s been a couple months since the last Translation Database update, and quite a few titles have been added in the meantime. And a few from 2008 were shifted to 2009, etc., etc. So, the current totals are: 2008: 363 books (283 fiction, 80 poetry) 2009: 235 books (196 fiction, 39 poetry) Looking at this breakdown by ...

Updated Translation Database

Since today is such a lovely, warm, sunny day, I thought I’d spend most of the morning finally updating the translation database and seeing how 2009 is shaping up compared to 2008. First off, click here for the 2008 translation spreadsheet, and click here for the 2009 one. As in the past, I’ve only been keeping ...

Translation Databases: Last one for 2008 and first one for 2009

It was just about a year ago that I started thinking about creating a “translation database” to keep track of all original translations of fiction and poetry published in the U.S. After all the speculation, guesstimation, and incomplete or inaccurate studies, I thought it would be useful to produce an actual list ...

Slight Update to Translation Database

Thanks to the help of several of you, I made a few corrections to the 2008 Translation Database and now have a total of 328 titles. (I updated the numbers and file on the earlier post as well, in case you’re ...

Translation Database Update

It’s been a couple months since I last posted an update to the 2008 Translation Database, and since we have added a number of titles (thanks as always to Michael Orthofer, PW, and all the publishers who send us copies of their catalogs) it seemed like a good time to post an updated Excel file. The Excel file linked to ...

2008 Translation Database: Post-BEA Update

Now that I’ve finally had a chance to enter all the info from the hundreds of catalogs I collected at Book Expo, I thought it would be worthwhile to post a new, updated version of the 2008 translation database. The above spreadsheet has all the relevant information about all the works of adult fiction and poetry in ...

Translation Database Update

It’s been a while since I last posted an update of the 2008 Translation Database (full spreadsheet available via that click, complete with sheets breaking this down into country, language, and publisher). Not a lot different from last time I put this online, although it’s now up to 215 titles for 2008 from 54 ...

Translation Database Update and PW Article

It’s not available online, but there’s an article by Rachel Deahl in this week’s Publishers Weekly about Three Percent and the translation database. The Excel file behind the above link is the most up-to-date version of the database, listing 187 works of adult fiction and poetry coming out this year. Some ...

The Simple Pleasures of Reading

My initial plan for this post was to do a huge data dump for Women in Translation Month, but Meytal Radzinski already went and totally crushed it. She has all the best graphs, pie charts, breakdowns, overviews, recommendations, and more. Go click on that link and spend a day reading everything she has to say. I looked over ...

August 2018 Newsletter

Celebrate Women in Translation Month with 40% Off All Open Letter Books Written by Women OR Translated by Women Women in Translation Month is always an exciting time to discover, read, discuss, and celebrate books by women from around the world. It was created by Meytal Radzinski back in 2014, and has since spawned ...

The Very Pleasant Post

Usually I try and make the first post of the month one that's based around some sort of statistical analysis of what's going on with literature in translation. Since this is Women in Translation Month (#WIT2018), it would make a great deal of sense to run a bunch of data about women writers in translation, women translators, ...

Selection Bias, Best Translations, and Where Are the Women in Translation From?

A couple weeks ago, Boyd Tonkin, the excellent critic and founder of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize--the inspiration for the Best Translated Book Award, and now the Man Booker International--released a rather unattractive looking book called The 100 Best Novels in Translation.  It's pretty obvious what's ...

The Crime in the Data

A couple weeks ago, writer Kári Tulinius asked me for some information on how prevalent crime novels are in what gets translated. As with most statistics related to literature in translation (and/or the book industry in general), the correct answer was, "uh . . . no idea. Maybe a lot? Sure seems like it . . . So, yeah." I ...

May Is a Month of Grading

The Best Translated Book Award Finalists were announced earlier this week, and following up on my earlier post looking at the representation of various languages on the BTBA longlists, I thought I'd take a second to highlight the publishing houses (#NameThePublisher) that have historically done the best on the BTBA ...

Poetry Presses and Radical Idea #1

Thanks to a different writing deadline, the revamping of this website (still a bit of a work in progress), and trips to Chicago, Houston, and New York (with another NY trip later this week), I've fallen slightly behind with my weekly missives, so expect a bunch of these to drop over the next week or so. First up, I want to ...

Spanish Literature Is Our Favorite Scene

Last week, the 2018 longlists for the Best Translated Book Award were released and were loaded with books translated from the Spanish. Eight works of fiction and one poetry collection. Nine titles total out of the thirty-seven on the combined longlists. That’s just a smidge under 25%. Twenty-five percent! One-quarter of the ...

Less Than Deadly Serious

Every spring, I teach a class on “World Literature & Translation” in which we read ~10 new translations, talk to as many of the translators as possible, and then the students have to choose one of the books to win their imaginary “Best Translated Book Award.” It’s a great exercise—trying to explain why they ...

The Translation Industry Is Frozen

Before getting into the February translations, data on what’s being published (or not being published), and all the random stuff, I wanted to point out a few modifications to the Translation Database at Publishers Weekly that were recently implemented. First off, when you’re entering a title, you can now ...

The Best Sports Novels Match Sport and Style

On some old episode of NPR’s All Songs Considered, Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen talked about their unique irresistible song elements. Those bits in songs that aren’t the main hook, or even an integral part of the song itself, but, when they appear, automatically make you like a particular song. Like, for me, if ...

It’s 2018 and Where Have the Translations Gone?

Now that the Translation Database is over at Publishers Weekly, and in a format that makes it both possible to update in real time1 and much easier to query, I want to use it as the basis of a couple new regular columns here at Three Percent. First off, I want to get back to running monthly previews of translations. But, ...

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Three Percent #136: The Riffraff Is Upon Us

Back at last! Chad and Tom reunite after a month in which Tom finished building an entire bookstore and bar, which is now open! In addition to talking about Riffraff’s first week of business, they talk about the NCIBA statement against publishers selling direct to consumers and institutions, about Tyrant Books tweeting ...

Help Support Open Letter!

If you’re friends with us on Facebook (either me personally, or the press itself), or visit the Twitter on a regular basis, you’re hopefully aware that Open Letter just launched an annual fundraising campaign to support our 10-year anniversary. And if you’re not already familiar with this, that’s ...

Women in Translation Month 2017

I just finished entering in all the data for the Translation Database (super huge mega astonishing absolute extreme update to come), I thought I’d run a few quick reports for Women in Translation Month. First off, the big one: For the data I’ve collected between 2008-20181 only 28.7% of the translations in the ...

BTBA Final Clues [Days 4 & 5, I Guess]

OK, so these clues are as late as possible, but I did promise a week of BTBA hints, and technically, I have twelve more hours until the longlists are unveiled . . . It’s gotten more and more difficult to come up with these as the days have gone along. I mostly just can’t wait until we can get to talking about the ...

Likes of the Future Are Shaped by Likes of the Past

As in past weeks here’s a PDF version of this post, which might be a lot easier to read. Two years ago, Yale University Press released The Dirty Dust, Alan Titley’s translation of Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Cré na Cille, a supposedly “untranslatable” masterpiece of Irish literature. This past ...

The Structural Inequality of Comp Titles

Although not as long as “last week’s post,” I would recommend downloading the PDF version. Besides, it just looks prettier in that format. Although the main point of this post is pretty general and obvious—the rich get richer by already being rich—it was inspired by some publishing-specific, ...

Open Letter in 2016

Sure, the start of a new year is a good time to look to the future, make resolutions you’ll definitely break, and all of that, but it’s also a nice moment to reflect on the past twelve months. Rather than include all the things that happened with Open Letter last year—from the success of our 2nd Annual ...

Open Letter Books to Receive $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Rochester, NY—National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $40,000 to Open Letter Books for the publication of six works of international ...

Buy Your Tickets for the Second Annual Celebration of Open Letter and Rochester

Last October, we put on our first ever celebration (or gala) here in Rochester. It was centered around the release of Rochester Knockings, which was translated from the French by local poet-translator Jennifer Grotz (who also runs the translation program at the University of Rochester). The local band The Fox Sisters played, ...

Best Translated Book Award 2017: The Judges

Running a little bit late with the BTBA announcments for this year, but over the next week, expect to see the official page updated and an updated to the translation database. In the meantime, this post will give publishers, translators, and interested readers all the necessary information about who’s on the committee ...

Announcing the Reading the World Book Clubs!

I floated the idea of starting some sort of monthly book club in my year-end poetry list[1], and after Tom and I talked about it on the latest podcast, I convinced myself that this would be a fun and interesting idea to try and implement. My general idea is that every month we would feature two Reading the World Book Club ...

Seven Books by Women in Translation [My Year in Lists]

Rather than devolve into posting clickbait featuring cats, penguins, hedgehogs, corgis, and books, like other BuzzHole sites, I’m going hard for the rest of the week, starting with seven books by women in translation. The gender disparity in terms of women in translation has been fairly well documented—see the ...

Six University Press Books [My Year in Lists]

I was hoping to have more time to write about the books on this list today, but after having technical problems recording the podcast, I’m going to have to rush through this so that I have enough time at the end of the day to mail out Loquela to all of our subscribers. Considering how many translations are coming out ...

Four Books From Underrepresented Countries [My Year in Lists]

Yesterday I posted a bit of a screed against lists, followed immediately by a list of the six translations everyone’s talking about. My hope is to produce a bunch of lists featuring literature in translation from 2015, all organized by various rubrics that can allow you to find a handful of recommendations with a ...

NEA Awards More Than $27.6 Million in Grants, Including $30K to Open Letter [Yay!]

Somehow I convinced myself that the official release date for info on this year’s National Endowment for the Arts Awards was on Thursday instead of yesterday, otherwise this would’ve been online earlier. Anyway, here’s the official press release with my comments below: National Endowment for the Arts ...

Help Open Letter By Buying the Books for My Spring Class

As you probably know already, Open Letter Books is a non-profit publishing house. Which means that a) I go out of my way to help the field of translation/publishing as a whole (see: Best Translated Book Award, this blog, the translation database, and a dozen other things that don’t benefit us financially, but which I ...

We May Not Be Good Enough for "Important" Books, but Whatever, We're in Harper's!

I really, really want to air my massive grievances with Actes Sud and the French Publishers Agency over how poorly—and, in my opinion, unprofessionally—they handled the sales of U.S. rights to Mathias Ènard’s latest novel. In fact, I just deleted a huge long post describing how I know it’s equally ...

Women in Translation, Part I: Fourteen Countries

Over the past few months, with the help of two fantastic interns, I’ve updated the Translation Database to include the sex of every author and translator in there.1 It was a brutal task, hunting down information about all of these people, scanning bios for gendered pronouns and then entering all of this into the ...

First Annual Celebration of Open Letter Books & Rochester

This has been in the works for a number of months now, but we’re finally ready to unveil some of the details about the first annual celebration of Open Letter and Rochester, including how you can buy tickets and support all of our programs. (Spoiler alert: Buy the tickets here.) The celebration is set to take place at ...

Best Translated Book Award 2016: The Fiction Judges

It’s only been a a month and a half since Can Xue’s The Last Lover and Rocio Ceron’s Diorama won the 2015 Best Translated Book Award, but given the number of eligible titles (over 550 last year), we’re getting the process started as early as possible this year, which is why, today, we’re ready to ...

What Makes a Reader Good at Reading? [Some May Translations]

In a couple weeks, the IDPF Digital Book Conference will take place in New York under the theme of “Putting Readers First.” As part of this Ed Nawokta (Publishing Perspectives founder and international publishing guru of sorts), Boris Kachka (Hothouse author and former BEA frond-waver [sorry, inside joke]), Andrew ...

Best Translated Book Award 2015: Clues to the Fiction Longlist [Part Four]

As I explained on Monday, to start building the hype for this year’s Best Translated Book Award longlists, I’m going to be dropping a series of clues over the course of this week, and, if you’re able to guess one complete list (25 titles for fiction, 10 for poetry) on your first try, you’ll receive a ...

Who's Publishing What Spanish-Language Books from Where?

A couple weeks ago, Valerie Miles organized a special one-day conference on “Publishing Spanish Writers in English.” It featured a series of interesting, well-designed panels: one with Barbara Epler from New Directions and Jonathan Galassi from FSG talking about editing Spanish-language lit; one on magazines ...

Things I'm Over, Things That Are Interesting [Some March Translations]

For the handful of people who read these posts every month (I hope there are at least three of you), unfortunately, this one is going to be pretty short. I’m really strapped for time right now, with four trips (to New York, Bennington, Toronto, Seattle-Portland) and at least seven different events scheduled for the next ...

Bookselling in Carolina [Some February Translations]

Last week, the tenth version of the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute took place in Asheville, NC, at a resort straight out of The Shining. I know! You should’ve seen the main lobby with it’s 40’ ceilings, giant fireplaces, and hidden passages. It was like something out of ...

Online Encyclopedia of Danish Translators

This is an interesting project from the Danish Association of Translators: Had it not been for translators and their work, much of the world’s most important literature would only have been accessible to readers with specialized skills in foreign languages. Furthermore, without translations and the people who wrote ...

South Asian Translations, and the Lack of Them

Over the past few weeks, Mahmud Rahman/Asymptote has been publishing a four-part series “On the Dearth of South Asian Translations in the U.S.” The whole series is worth reading, and below are a few key bits to whet your appetite . . . First off, from Part I: A small percentage of literary books published ...

BTBA Blog Returns with Judge Michael Orthofer

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. Getting started There’s no real official start date for the judging of the Best Translated Book Award – though maybe the announcement finalizing who the judges actually are is a ...

Ukraine: Everybody's Business

One of the most common clichés about international literature in America states that we, as reader-citizens, only become interested in a country’s literature once we start bombing in. Go to war with Saddam Hussain; publish a ton of Arabic works. It’s sad that this might be true—it feels a bit ...

Latest Review: "A Handbook for the Perfect Adventurer" by Pierre Mac Orlan

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Kaija Straumanis on A Handbook for the Perfect Adventurer by Pierre Mac Orlan, translated by Napoleon Jeffries, and out from Wakefield Press. Based on the above paragraph and all the awesome that it contains, this book really shouldn’t need much more introduction: ...

The Snow Day Edition [Some January Translations]

Along with about, well, everyone else in the northeast, I’m snowed into my apartment today, so instead of answering the phones at Open Letter (HA! no one ever calls us), I’m at home, working on our forthcoming anthology of Spanish literature, A Thousand Forests in One Acorn, and, as a break of sorts, I thought ...

Dutch Treats

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. One of the many interesting things about judging the Best Translated Book Award is the sense it gives you of what (and how much) is actually being translated into English (and ...

Typographical Era's Translation Award

In response to the incredibly lame GoodReads Choice Awards (and yes, I’m totally voting for Jodi Picoult in the fiction category), Typographical Era launched their own Translation Award: It all started when I asked a simple question on Twitter yesterday. Why in the HELL do the GoodReads Choice Awards not have a ...

Nobel Considerations

BTBA blog post – Michael Orthofer Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. This Thursday or next the Swedish Academy will likely announce who will receive the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature – still considered the ultimate ...

The Arabic Sterne?

Thanks to a Three Percent fan who sends me periodic updates on titles I’ve left out of the translation database, I just found out about Humphrey Davies’s first-ever English translation on of Leg over Leg by Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq. Originally published in 1855, this sounds like the sort of crazy, ...

I Think I Just Ate My Weight in Meat [Brazil, Days One-ish]

I’m in Rio de Janeiro on the “Brazilian Publishing Experience 2013” trip with a half-dozen wonderful Germans (all familiar with their Kant), and a Spaniard, ready to learn about Brazilian publishing and Brazilian cultural as a whole. About this, I have lots to share. Let’s get the work part of this ...

Antoine Volodine & His Self Interview

Next year we’re going to be publishing Antoine Volodine’s Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons: Lesson Eleven, a book that I’m super excited about, and which help explain (somewhat) Volodine’s crazy-awesome project. If you’re a regular listener to the “Three Percent Podcast”: you’ve ...

Why Bury the Lede? AmazonCrossing Publishes More Books in Translation than Anyone Else (In 2013. Probably.)

For everyone interested in the state of literature in translation today, I just posted updates to the 2012 Translation Database and the 2013 one. First things first: In 2012, AmazonCrossing published more works of fiction and poetry in translation than any other press except for Dalkey Archive, and is the largest publisher ...

Japanese Literature in English [New Cool Things, Part III]

Another favorite translator—Allison Powell—has just launched Japanese Literature in English, a website that plays to all of my databasing and list making impulses. japanese literature in english is a searchable database that compiles all literary works translated from japanese to english and available in the ...

Bookish: What it Isn't [Weekly Rant #1]

OK, so first off, for anyone who saw my little Facebook hissy fit last night about Bookish, I apologize. I may have overstated things a bit (yeah, I know that totally doesn’t sound like me), and jumped the gun a bit on some of my insults. That said, and before I get more fully into the Bookish conundrum, a few of the ...

A Great Opportunity

I just found out that And Other Stories, arguable the hottest and most successful new publisher of the past few years, is looking to hire a NY-based part-time publicity director. You can read the whole ad at that link (and it’s nothing like that other job listing from last month), but here’s the basics: And ...

Kurt Beals Wins First-Ever German Book Office Translation Prize

Just reproducing the press release the GBO sent me, since it says everything that needs to be said in the best way possible: The German Book Office is excited to announce that Kurt Beals has won its first ever translation competition. Beals, a PhD Candidate in German Literature and Culture at the University of ...

Almost Ready to Start Blogging Again

I know it’s been a terribly slow summer on Three Percent, and I apologize for that. Every day I come in with good intentions and 3-4 ideas for posts, but then I get sucked into planning the ALTA conference, or the never-ending deluge of emails, managing interns, printing things to mail, etc., etc. It’s been a ...

Support World in Translation Month by Purchasing Just One Open Letter Book

Years and years ago, when Karl Pohrt and I were launching the Reading the World program to enable independent bookstores to promote more literature in translation, we found out that May was officially World in Translation Month. This was a pretty happy coincidence, since we had already planned all of our activities to take ...

Keep Up the Good Work. And Please Go Bankrupt. [Some Publishers Are D*cks]

This is likely to be the first of two or three “socialist-leaning” posts I’m going to write this week in honor of the New Hampshire primary. . . . Anyway, to get to the point, I just read this PW piece and am feeling the rage. A recently introduced bill in the House of Representatives would bar the ...

It's 2012–Time for Some Resoluting!

Back when I was a kid, I used to love the start of every New Year. A fresh calendar, new journal to write in every day for a week before forgetting it in the back corner of a desk, dedicated routines (read for an hour a day! only watch TV once a week!), promises of better health and finally talking to that girl I’d been ...

Making the Translator Visible: Charlotte Mandell

This is a bit of an interlude post in the series. I don’t have a picture of Charlotte—she wasn’t at the ALTA conference—so I’m hardly following through on the “visible” aspect of these entries, but after writing about the “most published translators” of the past few years, ...

Making the Translator Visible: Jason Grunebaum

Simply put, Jason Grunebaum is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Super energetic, witty as all get out, he should have his own reality show. (Or something.) At least a podcast. Or a regular guest spot on someone else’s podcast. (Jason: you going to be at MLA? If so, let’s talk.) He’s also ...

Open Letter Subscription Offer

As you probably already know, since our inception, we’ve offered subscriptions to Open Letter. You can subscribe for six months or a year and receive every title that we publish during that time, which means that you receive a book about every five weeks. Also included is a letter explaining how we came to publish that ...

The Nonfiction Gap

This is a special piece by Sal Robinson, freelance editor and co-founder of The Bridge, the first independent reading and discussion series in New York City devoted to literary translation. She has worked for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Phaidon, and Words Without Borders. Among the small number of translated books published ...

Discovering Books: Booklamp vs. GoodReads

Today’s Publishing Perspectives feature is all about Booklamp.org, a new book discovery site that’s being referred to either as “Pandora for Books” or the “Book Genome Project.” Here’s a brief description: “Our program breaks a book up into 100 scenes and measures the ...

The Future of Book Reviewing?

Hopefully (probably) not. But because no one ever seems to believe me when I mention this, attached below is an email I just received, one that brings up a lot of questions for me. (More after the letter.) From: Editors at ForeWord Reviews <editors@forewordreviews.com> Subject: You’ve Been Approved for a Digital ...

Guardian's New European Tour: Poland

Following up on last week’s post about the Guardian‘s New Europe Series, this morning they ran the pieces about Poland, including What They’re Reading in Poland, which focuses on an Open Letter author: However, the literary mainstream is made up of authors who follow Witold Gombrowicz, who teaches ...

In the Age of Screens (A Prelude)

As I mentioned some time ago, I was invited to participate in this year’s Non-Fiction Conference sponsored and organized by the Dutch Foundation for Literature. This year’s focus was on “Quality Non-Fiction in the Digital Era,” so there were a number of presentations about new developments, the future ...

For Fans of Prizes, German Literature

I know Michael Orthofer always rants about the lack of transparency in what titles have been submitted for particular awards. (I believe the Man Booker is his big target.) Well, the good people at the Goethe Institut directly go against that trend, posting all of the titles submitted for the 2011 Helen and Kurt Wolff ...

The Weird of Dalkey's Catalog [Publishing Mysteries & Wild Speculation]

So, in addition to the interesting books I found in going through Dalkey’s catalog, I also came across a couple of odd listings that I thought I’d share in hopes that someone out there can explain this to me . . . One of the reasons I go through all catalogs is to add all the new titles to our Translation ...

The Good of Dalkey's Catalog [Spring/Summer 2011 Preview]

Now that the University of Rochester’s mail services is back from break, I’m swimming in a sea of books, catalogs, and mailed in donations from our annual campaign. (Well, OK, maybe not swimming in a sea of donations, but thanks to all of you who did donate. And if you haven’t donated, you can by clicking ...

Welcome to the Latest Year to Look Weird on Checks . . .

Ever since the year 2000, every year seems less believable to me . . . When I was a kid, I never thought I’d see the year 2000, much less the year 2010, after which, 2011 seems sort of anti-climactic. Sure, this technically marks the start of a new decade, but since we never named the last one, it feels pretty ...

"Emerging from Years of Obscurity . . ." [Bulgarian Literature, Part II]

About seven years ago, when I was working at Dalkey and prepping the marketing plan for Bulgarian author Georgi Gospodinov’s Natural Novel, I came up with a bit of a crazy idea. (Yeah, surprising, I know.) This remarkable books—a moving, fragmented portrait of one man’s dealing with divorce1 that’s ...

Latest Review: "The Jokers" by Albert Cossery

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is something I wrote on Albert Cossery’s The Jokers, which was translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis and published by NYRB earlier this year. For a long time I was planning a post called “Albert Cossery is $%^&ing Amazing,” after reading A Splendid ...

International IMPAC Dublin Award 2011 Longlist [International Prizes, Take One]

So the 2011 longlist for the IMPAC Award was announced this morning, and includes 162 books from 43 countries. According to the press release 42 are titles in translation, covering 14 different languages. This is where I usually complain about the IMPAC’s website, the absurdity of a 162 book longlist, of the name of ...

And a Reminder about Submitting Books for the BTBA

Following up on the earlier post about the updated Translation Databases, I just wanted to encourage all translators, authors, and publishers to send copies of your eligible translations to all the Best Translated Book Award judges to ensure that all these titles are considered for this year’s awards. All original ...

Amazon.com to Underwrite Best Translated Book Awards

This is really exciting news, and most likely Jon Fine and I are announcing this to the crowd at the ALTA conference right about now . . . I know the press release below is a bit stiff in comparison to the usual Three Percent post, but it has all the appropriate info about Amazon’s underwriting of the 2011 Best ...

OR Books & A Bit about TOC

OK, I’m bloody exhausted. There’s only so many meetings, parties, dinners, jokes, and seven-hour plane rides one can take before totally crashing. I’ve been traveling since October 1st—after spending a late night out with Paul Auster on the 30th, which seems like maybe two months ago—so forgive ...

Ice Cold Crime, Cliches, and Bad Puns

Although I’m not a big reader of Nordic crime, it’s nice to know that places like Ice Cold Crime are out there, translating and publishing these titles, which probably appeal to a pretty wide audience. And Ice Cold Crime’s story — featured in this article — is kind of touching: Riding the ...

Libraries, Ebooks, FOX News, and Choreography [Is it the Holiday Weekend Yet?]

I do have one final, semi-serious Future of Reading post to write, but I’m caught up in a few other things and will have to put that off until tomorrow . . . Now although libraries weren’t a huge part of the discussion at the RIT conference the other week, they obviously play a huge role in the future of book ...

Where People Talk about Books

The other week, the first Future of Reading conference took place at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was a fantastic few days, very interesting, with a range of great speakers. Rather than summarize each panel or person, I want to try and explore a few of the topics that came up. A lot of these posts will be simply ...

Let's Talk about Amazon for a Minute

I’ve been meaning to write about The AmazonCrossing announcement all week, but it’s taken a few days of Torino detox to partially regain my ability to put words into some sort of meaningful order. (Emphasis on “partially” . . . my mind is still unfurling, but hopefully by the time I’m drowning in ...

Latest Review: "Almost Dead" by Assaf Gavron

The latest addition to our Review Section is a piece by Jeff Waxman on Assaf Gavron’s Almost Dead, which was translated from the Hebrew by the author and James Lever and published by HarperCollins. I’m really glad Jeff brought this book to my attention . . . It was one that I had missed in entering info into ...

Torino Book Fair [Arrivederci!]

Barring more volcano trouble (oh crap—looks my Alitalia flight has been delayed for 5 hours) I’m going to be in Turin for the rest of the week attending the Torino International Book Fair. The Italian Trade Commission organized this trip, bringing maybe 10 or so Americans to the book fair to help promote ...

Romanian Literature Has Its Quarter

I know that Romanian lit has received a lot of love over the past few years (according to our translation database 13 books have been published in English translation since Jan 2008), and that the Romanian Cultural Institute is very proactive and persuasive, but it’s still a bit of a surprise that two (two!) major ...

Google, Machine Translation, and Literature

The other week, the New York Times ran a piece on advances in Google’s translation tools, focusing on the way Google essentially crowdsources its mechanical translations by searching its mammoth database of web pages, books, etc. Creating a translation machine has long been seen as one of the toughest challenges ...

Everybody Loves Google. Except When They Don't. [ADIBF 2010]

Over the next day and a half, while everyone watching basketball I’m going to repost a number of the things that I wrote for the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The ADIBF is the premiere professional fair for the Arab world, thanks in part to an arrangement with the Frankfurt Book Fair. Everyone involved with the ...

Winter Reading List

One of the best unexpected results of putting together the translation databases is being able to put together an awesome reading list of forthcoming translations. (Or, to put it in a slightly more negative light: to know about way more interesting books than I’ll ever have time to read.) The spring is a perfect ...

French Study Trip

We’ll have a few other sorts of posts going up this week (like maybe, finally, a few new book reviews—this fall has been rather rough on our schedule, but I have pieces in the works on Anonymous Celebrity by Ignacio de Loyola Brandao, The Informers by Juan Gabriel Vasquez, and Running Away by Jean-Philippe Toussaint), but ...

Scandinavian Literature in Translation

This is a bit of a self-indulgent post, but yesterday I received a copy of the Bog Markedet, a Danish book trade magazine, that contains an article I wrote on the surprising success of Scandinavian literature in English translation. Since most of the people I know can’t actually read Danish, I thought I’d reprint ...

Where You Can Get Your International Poetry Fix

I don’t read nearly as much international poetry as I do prose, but for those of you out there who are more lyrically inclined, here are two sites worth exploring: Lyrikline is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, and over that time has compiled a damn impressive database of poems from around the world ...

Tomorrow's E-Utopia? [Part 2 of 4]

Here’s the second section of the paper I’m preparing for the Iceland Literary Festival. Click here for part one. The third part will go up later today, and the fourth over the weekend. Let me back up a bit to give a broader context for how e-books hold some promise to revolutionize the business of publishing ...

Upcoming on Three Percent

Now that school is back in session (speaking of which, if there are any U of R students reading this—or friends of U of R students—we still have a couple internship openings, so e-mail me if you’re interested), we’re really getting back into the swing of things with the site. I know it was a bit quiet ...

Latest Review: "Normance" by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Monica Carter on Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s Normance, which was translated by Marlon Jones and published earlier this year by Dalkey Archive Press. Monica is one of our long-time reviewers and runs the always excellent Salonica World Lit website. She also works ...

State of Translations in Publishing Perspectives

Today’s Publishing Perspectives includes an editorial that I wrote about the “state of translations” in America attempting to explain the dip in the number of translations coming out this year: For years, people have speculated that the number of literary works in translation being published in the ...

"Bookishness Goes Marginal": A Report from the Bookishness Symposium

A few weeks back we mentioned the then upcoming symposium at the University of Michigan on the “future of reading.” Well, the amazing Karl Pohrt was able to attend and wrote this comprehensive piece on the somewhat bleak gathering. Bookishness: The New Fate of Reading in the Digital Age is the title of a ...

Japanese Issue of Words Without Borders

Corridor of Dreams, which is the May issue of Words Without Borders, is now available online and focuses on contemporary Japanese literature. From translator and guest editor Allison Powell’s introduction: Over the past several decades, a steady stream of fascinating writers from Japan have appeared in English, ...

Some April Translations

For whatever reason, April is a huge month for literature in translation. According to the translation database there are 39 works of fiction and poetry coming out in translation this month. We will be running full-length reviews of a number of these titles, but over the course of the month, I thought I’d highlight the ...

The New Look Three Percent

As you probably noticed, we underwent a pretty significant redesign over the weekend. E.J. could explain this a lot better than I can, but basically, over the past two years, we’ve come to use the site is a slightly different way than initially conceived. When launched, we had no idea Three Percent would come to host ...

March 2009 Issue of Words Without Borders

Lots of interesting pieces in the new issue of Words Without Borders, which focuses on Greece this month. I have to admit that I haven’t heard of many of these writers (although the pieces by Thanassis Valtinos, Margarita Karapanou, and Ioanna Karystiani look particularly interesting), I am familiar with both Karen ...

Austrian Translation Prize

I believe this was announced a few weeks back, but yesterday I received some information about the newly launched Austrian Translation Prize: The Austrian Cultural Forum New York is pleased to announce the Austrian Cultural Forum Translation Prize, aimed at the promotion of intercultural exchange between the Republic of ...

More Devastating Statistics

One of the interesting people I met at the Salzburg Seminar last week was Ruediger Wischenbart, who now runs a consulting firm, analyzes the global publishing market, and is working with Three Percent favorite Lance Fensterman on developing the program for the Arab World to be Guest of Honor at this year’s BEA. ...

Chad on Omnivoracious

Heidi, over at Omnivoracious, Amazon’s weblog, has an interview with Chad, and some nice things to say about Open Letter: If you looked at the recent media frenzy over Bolano’s 2666 (even The Economist has a story about it), you’d think that translations were really hot this year. According to a ...

Blaft Publications and Zero Degree

One translated book I recently had to add to the 2008 translation database is Zero Degree by Charu Nivedita (translated from the Tamil by Pritham K. Chakravarthy and Rakesh Khanna), which was published by Blaft Publications earlier this year. I have to admit that until reading Rakesh Khanna’s comment on an earlier ...

2008 Translations — Final Numbers?

It’s been a few months since I last posted an update to our ongoing “translation database” project. Over the past 10 months, I’ve been going through every catalog I can get my hands on, all reviews in Publishers Weekly, every new book announcement from Small Press Distribution, and e-mails from ...

Congratulations to Paper Republic

Another late post by us—I think we’ll be catching up for the next month—but congratulations to Paper Republic: We are delighted to announce that Paper Republic has received a substantial grant from Arts Council England to develop the website and to fund associated activities. Our aim is to re-design the ...

Arabic Literature in English Translation

In the Literary Saloon post about David Tresilian’s A Brief Guide to Modern Arabic Literature, Michael Orthofer quotes this paragraph about the dismal (though not terribly shocking) number of Arabic books translated into English since World War II: Recently modern Arabic literature seems to have made several long ...

September Translations

Earlier this year, I was trying to write up short overviews of all forthcoming translations. Unfortunately, things got in the way, and this project was sort of pushed to the side. Which is unfortunate. One of the main reasons we started this website was to promote international literature and uncover great books and ...

Espresso Book Machine at Northshire Books

Today’s Shelf Awareness points to an interview on Vermont Public Radio with Lucy Gardner Carson of Northshire Books, one of the few places in the country with an Espresso Book Machine. The EBM was hailed as a way of creating an “unlimited backlist” where customers could come and print out any title they ...

Koreans Studying their Translated Works

The Korea Literature Translation Institute (KLTI) started a two-year project in 2007 to evaluate published English translations of Korean literature. In the first stage of evaluation work. 41 novels in 72 editions from 721 books that had been translated and published up to 2006 were evaluated. The second stage of the ...

From the Comments Section

I doubt many people revisit our posts to read the comments—although I check them religiously, so please keep posting!—so I thought it would be worthwhile to highlight some of the really interesting and informative ones that have been submitted over the past week. First off, in relation to the post on Richard ...

We Just Crossed 200!

Thanks to the Knopf/Pantheon/Schocken catalogs that arrived today, we just crossed the 200 translation mark in the official 2008 count! Some good stuff coming out in the fall, including the next Sandor Marai book, Me and Kaminski by Daniel Kehlmann, a new novel by Ingo Schulze, and a retranslation of Kafka’s Amerika: ...

America's Uptight Obsession with Truth and Nonfiction

For me, Kate Foster’s review in the San Francisco Chronicle of Lieve Joris’s The Rebels’ Hour perfectly illustrates some of the ridiculous hangups Americans have when it comes to nonfiction and the representation of “truth.” The Rebels’ Hour is in an interesting postion—it’s ...

Association of Asian Studies Conference in Atlanta

This past weekend, I was able to attend the AAS conference in Atlanta and speak on a roundtable about “The Translation and Publication of Contemporary Japanese Literature: Strategies and Resources” put together by the Japanese Literature Publishing and Promotion Center. I’ve written about J-Lit a few times ...

Poetry Magazine and Translations

April is National Poetry Month, so we’ll be highlighting more works of translated poetry over the next few weeks than we normally do. (In case you’re wondering, in the database there are 11 collections of translated poetry scheduled to come out this month.) Interestingly, Poetry magazine’s April issue ...

2008 Translations: Fiction

Following up on last week’s post about the Translation Database (downloadable version available via that same link), here’s the next set of capsule reviews of recently released and forthcoming literature in translation. (All previous posts and reviews available here.) Oliver VII, Antal Szerb, translated from ...

2008 Translations: Current List and Minor Analysis

In each of the past few posts about our 2008 Translation Database I’ve promised a complete copy of the current list . . . well finally, here’s an Excel version that you can download, manipulate, sort, etc., etc. This current list is very incomplete. I haven’t received many summer/fall catalogs yet, and ...

FILI Spotlight

I’m not sure when FILI—the organization in charge of promoting Finnish literature abroad—redesigned its website, but the results are pretty impressive and definitely worth checking out. I really like the Spotlight feature, which highlights a few Finnish authors, providing short overviews, excerpts in ...

February Translations: Fiction

I’ve fallen a bit behind on these preview capsules of forthcoming translations, but hopefully will be able to catch up in the next week or so. For anyone interested, all the past write ups of 2008 translations can be found here. And I’ll be posting the current version of the complete database later this week. For ...

To Be Translated or Not To Be: Case Studies — France

The last case study in the PEN/Ramon Llull To Be Translated or Not To Be report was written by Anne-Sophie Simenel when she was Program Director for the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York. Before getting into specifics of the case study, I think it’s worthwhile pointing out some of the oddities of ...

To Be Translated or Not To Be: Case Studies — Germany

Germany is the next country covered in the PEN/Ramon Llull To Be Translated or Not To Be report. (For anyone interested, all the earlier posts about this report can be found by clicking here.) This section was written by Riky Stock, who is the director of the admirable and ambitious German Book Office. Putting aside the ...

To Be Translated or Not To Be: Case Studies — The Netherlands

Continuing the ongoing series on PEN/Ramon Llull’s To Be Translated or Not To Be report, over the next few days I’m going to post about each of the Case Studies included in Part III. These were written by various experts in their respective countries (frequently associated with the local PEN center) in response to ...

To Be Translated or Not To Be: Part III

Continuing our series on the PEN/Ramon Llull To Be Translated or Not To Be report (previous posts can be found here), today I want to write a bit about the second essay in the book—Simona Skrabec’s “Literary Translation: The International Panorama.” Complementing Esther Allen’s introductory ...

To Be Translated or Not To Be: Part II

Following up on my earlier post I want to summarize the statistics that Esther Allen cites in her essay “Translation, Globalization, and English” that open the To Be Translated or Not To Be report from PEN and the Institut Ramon Llull. One of the things worth pointing out is how shoddy all the data is for ...

An Economic Model for the Lack of Translations into English

Esther Allen—director of the Center for Literary Translation, amazing translator, and committee member for Open Letter—recently passed along a fascinating article entitled The Impact of English Dominance on Literature and Welfare by Jacques Melitz, and published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization ...

Just Plain Frightening

From Wired: International travelers concerned about being labeled a terrorist or drug runner by secret Homeland Security algorithms may want to be careful what books they read on the plane. Newly revealed records show the government is storing such information for years. Privacy advocates obtained database records ...

Criticsm of Google's Book Search

Using this essay by Paul Duguid as a basis, if:book takes a look at quality control problems surrounding Google’s Book Search program. As Ben Vershbow asks, “Does simply digitizing these—books, imprimaturs and all—automatically result in an authoritative bibliographic resource?” Duguid’s ...