Monday, April 24, 2006

Translation = Survival

I read an article in the New York Times about two upcoming literary festivals that feature writers who write in endangered languages.

In the article, writer Salman Rushdie says, “People are not going to learn Serbian. If Serbian writers are going to survive in the world, they will have to be translated into English.” And a professor named Esther Allen says that the point of these festivals is “inviting these people from outside English into the conversation, and making a place for them in English.”

Exposing people to new literature and helping writers find a larger audience is important and hopefully these festivals will help with those goals, but since, as the article points out, only 3% of the books published in the U.S. are translations, the question remains: why aren’t these writers being translated to English? More on that in the next post.

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