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.

And here for the 2009 Translation Database.

As always, here are my disclaimers: I’m only tracking original fiction and poetry—no retranslations or reprints. I’m also doing this by myself by scanning PW, SPD’s weekly releases, all catalogs, dozens of websites, etc. So if I missed something (or, much, much more likely, I have a typo in the file) just send me an e-mail at chad.post at rochester dot edu and I’ll fix it.

So, here’s the new breakdown: in 2008 there were 362 translations published in the U.S., and for 2009, I’ve identified 326. Which is a pretty steep drop-off and it doesn’t really look like 2009 is going to catch up.

BUT WAIT, there is an interesting trend here. In 2008, 82 works of poetry in translation were publisher, but only 55 in 2009. That’s a 33% decrease, compared to only a 3% decrease for works of fiction (280 in 2008, 271 in 2009).

It’s quite possible that I’m missing 9 works of fiction that will come out later this year, making 2009 vs. 2008 a wash.

The decrease in poetry titles seems very real though . . . I did have an intern search the websites of all presses that published at least one work of poetry in translation in 2008, and although she found a couple titles missing from the database (literally a couple), it looks like a number of presses have cut back, stopped doing international books, etc. According to our numbers, in 2008, 40 different presses published at least one work of poetry in translation. That number dropped to 32 in 2009.

Another interesting shift can be found on the language charts. In 2008, the top five source languages were: French (59), Spanish (48), German (31), Arabic (28), and Japanese (23). The rankings for 2009 are a bit different: Spanish (56), French (48), German (29), Arabic/Japanese/Swedish (17).

Not terribly surprised that Spanish surpassed French, but Swedish? That’s quite a jump from 12 books in 2008 to 17 in 2009.

So, to give Sweden their due, here’s the list of all Swedish books coming out this year with links to order them from Brazos, our Featured Bookstore of the Month (more on that later):

With Deer by Aase Berg, trans. Johannes Goransson (Black Ocean)

Amberville by Tim Davys, trans. Paul Norlen (HarperCollins)

Death Angels by Ake Edwardson, trans. Ken Schubert (Penguin)

God’s Mercy by Kerstin Ekman, trans. Linda Schenck (University of Nebraska)

Island of the Naked Women by Inger Frimansson, trans. Laura Wideburg (Pleasure Boat Studio)

Road to Jerusalem by Jan Guillou, trans. Steven Murray (HarperCollins)

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, trans. Marlaine Delargy (Other Press)

True Deceiver by Tove Jansson, trans. Thomas Teal (New York Review Books)

Collobert Orbital by Johan Jonson, trans. Johannes Goransson (Displaced Press)

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson, trans. Reg Keeland (Knopf)

Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell, trans. Laurie Thompson (New Press)

Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti, trans. Sarah Death (Penguin)

Woman with a Birthmark by Hakan Nesser, trans. Laurie Thompson (Pantheon)

Box 21 by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom, trans. ??? (not even listed in the PW review) (FSG)

Mozart’s Third Brain by Goran Sonnevi, trans. Rika Lesser (Yale University Press)

Darkest Room by Johan Theorin, trans. Marlaine Delargy (Delta)

Sorrow Gondola by Tomas Transtomer, trans. Michael McGriff (Green Integer)

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