Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Translators: Promote!

At Translationista, Susan Bernofsky writes about a panel at the American literary translators' recent convention on "The Translator's Toolkit", something that the PEN Translation Committee there is currently working on. In the past, they have issued guidelines for reviewers on how to approach translations, but they're adjusting that position now. I'll be interested to find out exactly what comes out of the process. Bernofsky writes:
The "Translators Toolkit" will wind up containing suggestions for supplementary information about a book that can be distributed to potential reviewers along with the usual publicity materials a publisher tucks inside review copies before sending them out. The exact recommendations are still a work in progress, but I expect to see a list of suggestions including items like this: a description of the book's stylistic peculiarities in the original and how the translator sought to address them, status of the author in her original-language context, any particular anecdotes of interest surrounding the translation, etc. These are things likely to interest both reviewers and readers of reviews.
At the panel, a few publishing people also talked about getting translators actively involved in promoting their books. Which is something we talked about in Germany a couple of years ago, as I wrote here. There was some scepticism from some quarters, and in fact some of the experts' suggestions at the Rochester conference go a little further than even I would venture. Jeffrey Lependorf, for example, "encourages translators to record brief (3 mins or under) videos about the book to be added to a book's page on the publisher's website." OK, I would do that, in fact I have done it in the past, but the whole thing was organised by the wonderful German Book Office so I didn't have to find someone with a camera and/or someone to do the editing, put it online, etc. I'd hope that publishers would give translators a great deal of support for these kinds of activities, which are almost certainly going to be unpaid.

Anyway, do read about it at first hand.

1 comment:

Harvey Morrell said...

As an aside, the NY Times had a nice article on translation today (on translating jokes).