Literature Across Frontiers represents approximately twenty cultural organizations from across Europe that provide translation subsidies to publishers interested in translating their works. In addition, these organizations frequently produce pamphlets and other promotional materials to spread the word about their literature. Alexandra Buchler of LAF came to the fair to make more Arab publishers aware of these programs in the hope that there will be an increase in translations into Arabic from the “smaller languages” of Europe, such as Catalan, Finnish, or Latvian. Her overall goal is to help create networks between European publishers and Arabic ones, in hopes of developing relationships that lead to greater cultural exchanges.This is exciting stuff, and it would be interesting to track the growth in translated titles along with the growth of refugee and immigrant populations, for example, the influx of Iraqi refugees into Sweden, to see if there is any correlation.
Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of Finnish to Arabic translators out there (for example–this is true with a ton of countries), so LAF is also trying to create partnerships to support the development and training of translators.
Finally, Next Page is also at the fair to spread the word about “Encounters,” a program of the foundation to encourage translation and exchange between Arabic and the languages of Eastern Europe. Through this program they hope to establish better relationships between publishers in the two regions and supply translation subsidies to publishers of both areas. (A very logical and great complement to what LAF is doing.)
In addition to subsidies, Next Page produces some fantastically informative reports. Ina Doublekova gave me a copy of a recent study on “Translations of Books from Arabic in Four East European Countries after 1989,” which is really fascinating. According to the opening summary, over the last decade the average number of titles translated from Arabic into Bulgarian, Hungarian, Polish, and Serbia, is between 0 and 3 titles per year. (The entire study is available online at http://www.npage.org.) Hopefully thanks to Next Page—and its energetic and brilliant director Yana Genova—this situation will improve greatly over the next few years.
Welcome to a World of Literature
Everything you need to know about the world's great writers and emerging voices is being collected and shared on the English PEN Online World Atlas
. Head over to the Atlas to create (or edit) a profile for your favourite author or book, leave a comment or contact another user, and discover your next great read. We believe that great writing has the power to change your life and change the world, one book at a time.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
More from Abu Dhabi: From Arabic to Bulgarian
A really detailed blog post from Chad Post of Three Percent, who is clearly committed to discovering and covering the Abu Dhabi book fair. This one's about translations into and out of Arabic, and it's so interesting that I'm going to quote a whole chunk: