To continue briefly with discussing Orhan Pamuk and translation, I’d like to point you to this article, entitled Found in Translation (thank you, Erika Dreifus, for sending it on!).
The article is interesting on its own since it interviews both translators and authors about the translation of literature, but it is especially relevant as it touches on why the English translations of Pamuk’s work are so important, as discussed in my last post:
While his work has been translated into more than 40 languages, Pamuk pays special attention to the English translations. "Many times, I have learned that a foreign translation did not come from my native language but from the English version. This can be a problem, so it is very important that I have a good relationship with my English translator."
Unfortunately, the article doesn’t delve further into this (and it would have probably been beyond the piece’s scope, anyway), but, as already mentioned, I do think it is disappointing that publishing companies rely on relay translations. This is probably because of the high cost and difficulty of finding experienced translators with the right language combinations, so the solutions seem to me to be to encourage students to learn more languages from an early age (and for schools to not just focus on the ‘big’ languages) and for publishers to realize the importance of a good translation and the need to spend money on it.