Sunday, July 25, 2010

It’s a Crime to Ignore Translation

Yes, we know how popular Stieg Larsson’s books have gotten and how people in English-speaking countries and elsewhere are suddenly becoming aware of Nordic crime fiction (note: they aren’t showing much interest in Nordic literary fiction, unfortunately), but it’s no surprise that articles about the phenomenon still fail to mention translation. Here’s a typical article on Larsson’s work and Nordic crime fiction in general. It does not include a word on how these books make it into English (or other languages) and onto the international market.

How can we educate the reading public, including book reviewers, about what translation is and what it involves?


Robert N. said...

Nice blog...good luck and have a nice day :-)
Konto dla mlodziezy

Kate Lambert said...

We need more events like the workshop Ros Schwartz ran on translating crime fiction at Crimefest in Bristol in May. I found it valuable as a translator, but its strength lay in bringing translators together with members of the public/crimewriting fans who knew nothing about what translation involves. My group included a man who liked Stieg Larsson and wanted to find out more about what translators do. I think we convinced him that translation involves more complex decisions than he might have first thought.

B.J. Epstein said...

Thanks for your comment, Kate. Ros is actually going to do a workshop on translating crime fiction for my MA students in the autumn, and I'm looking forward to it.
Anything we can do to educate people about translation is beneficial!

Best wishes,