1 July 09 | Chad W. Post

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 2009 translation databases.

As always, these spreadsheets contain info on never-before-translated works of fiction and poetry distributed in the U.S. (I left off anything that’s been published in English translation before, even if the earlier version was censored, corrupt, etc. Just trying to focus on what new titles are being made available to English readers.)

The numbers shift a bit over time, with books being delayed from 2008 to 2009, new titles being uncovered, etc. But although I’m not sure these are 100% accurate, I know we’re damn close. (That said, if you see anything missing, please let me know: chad.post at rochester dot edu.)

So, some comparisons:

In 2008, there were 362 translations published in the States (282 works of fiction, 80 works of poetry). That number is down significantly in 2009 (although the data is incomplete) to 299 total translations (249 works of fiction, 50 poetry collections).

Assuming I have all the books from Jan – June, the numbers are a bit closer: 195 books published in 2008 through June, 173 (down 11%) in 2009. (I have a feeling that I’m missing some poetry and small press titles and will check a lot of websites this month and post another update in the near future.)

In terms of languages translated, the top five for both years are remarkably similar, with only French and Spanish switching places:

2008
French 59 books, 16.30% of total
Spanish 48, 13.26%
German 32, 8.84%
Arabic 28, 7.73%
Japanese 23, 6.35%

2009
Spanish 48 books, 16.05% of total
French 43, 14.38%
German 27, 9.03%
Arabic 17, 5.69%
Japanese 17, 5.69%

In terms of publishers (and this is where I think I need to do additional research), in 2008, 141 different presses did at least one book in translation, and in 2009, I’ve only identified 108 so far.

There’s more that can get teased out of these spreadsheets, and hopefully with the next update 2009 will be much closer to last year . . .


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