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 even so, there always seems to be a few titles that slip through the cracks and that I find out about via a reader, Publisher’s Weekly, Small Press Distribution, and a few other sources. I am absolutely sure that by the end of the year this will include another couple hundred titles . . .

In that vein, if any of you notice any titles missing, please post them in the comments, or e-mail me at chad.post at rochester dot edu.

And just to review the criteria: this list is only of original translations of adult fiction and poetry published in 2008. No children’s books, comic books, nonfiction, retranslations, or reprints. Not that these other categories aren’t worth paying attention to, it’s more of a time management issue. So only new, never-before translated titles.

I think it will be more interesting to analyze this at the end of the year (or in future years when one can look at trends), but two quick and dirty queries came up with some quasi-surprising results.

First of all, in terms of the most translated languages, here’s the top 10 (actually 11):

French: 26 titles (14.7% of total)
Spanish: 19 (10.7%)
Arabic: 17 (9.6%)
German: 16 (9.0%)
Russian: 12 (6.8%)
Italian: 8 (4.5%)
Hebrew: 7 (4.0%)
Chinese: 6 (3.4%)
Japanese: 6 (3.4%)
Portuguese: 6 (3.4%)
Swedish: 6 (3.4%)

I didn’t expect Arabic to be in front of German, but American University of Cairo Press is primarily responsible for this. One thing that’s clear—the major European languages (French, Spanish, German, Italian) dominate in terms of what’s published in English. These three languages account for 69 of the 177 titles identified, or approx. 39%.

In terms of who’s responsible for these translations, here’s the Top 8:

American University at Cairo: 9 titles
Europa Editions: 8
Dalkey Archive: 7
Melville House: 5
FSG: 5
Harcourt: 5
Penguin: 5
Archipelago: 5

There are 9 presses tied at 4 titles for the year, and 76 total presses identified so far. Which kind of surprised me. Granted, the majority are only doing a couple translations a year, but still, it’s good to know that such a wide range of publishers are bringing out works of international literature.

There are more breakdowns that could be done, but I’d really like to make sure the full list of titles is there first . . . otherwise the reports will be incredibly flawed. So please let me know if you know of anything that’s been published in the past few months or is on the horizon. And for those who are interested, we’ve written up capsule “reviews” of 54 of 177 titles on the list so far, all of which can be found here.

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