Our Board President, Gary K. Wolfe, has a regular podcast series produced in collaboration with his Locus colleague, Jonathan Strahan. In their most recent episode they devote much of the program to discussing the issue of science fiction and fantasy translations. You can listen to it here.
Aliette de Bodard, a French woman who writes in English, talks about the difficulties of translation. Here’s an extract:
In Vietnamese, “to have a meal” is literally “to eat rice”. “French cuisine” is “French rice”, and so on for English cuisine or Japanese. This says a lot about the way the culture works, and could be used to inject a little “flavour” in the dialogue, but you can see that this would also create problems because it’s not a natural construction.
Read the whole thing here. (And our congratulations to Aliette on her wedding, which takes place today!)
The prestigious Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire have always been friendly to translation into French. This year they gave prizes for translated novels, short fiction and YA novels, and their Bande Dessinée (comic) and Manga winners were also translated. There is even a prize specifically for translators (into French). But they also went further, giving a special prize to Jean-Marc Lofficier and Brian Stableford for their work translating French language science fiction into English and publishing it through Black Coat Press.
There’s some big news from Amazon today. They are launching a new imprint, AmazonCrossing, that is dedicated to publishing works translated into English. According to the press release, Amazon is planning to make use of knowledge gained from its international business. Vice President of Books, Jeff Belle, said:
Our international customers have made us aware of exciting established and emerging voices from other cultures and countries that have not been translated for English-language readers. These great voices and great books deserve a wider audience, and that’s why we created AmazonCrossing.
Thus far only one title has been announced, and it does not appear to be genre. We look forward to hearing about more titles in future.
Here are a few translation-related stories from around the blogosphere from the past few weeks:
– Jeff VanderMeer interviews Czech novelist and poet Michael Ajvaz;
– Concatenation lists Unseen Mainland European SF Classics;
– Nick Mamatas at Haikasoru blogs about one of their new releases: The Stories of Ibis by Hiroshi Yamamoto;
– Feng Zhang writes about a famous Chinese fanzine, Xin Huan Jie (New Realms of Fantasy and Science Fiction);
– Chad W. Post reviews Edie Grossman’s Why Translation Matters;
– Tim Parks tells The Guardian why translators deserve to be noticed;
– Edward Gauvin suggests that translating might be a bit like writing science fiction.
Here are a few interesting stories that have turned up in the blogosphere in recent weeks.
– The Independent reviews Best European Fiction 2010, which includes a ghost story by Portugal’s Valter Hugo Mae and a “futuristic tale” by Georgi Gospodinov from Bulgaria.
– Chad W. Post ponders the value of automated translation tools.
– K.E. Semmel reviews Olga Slavnikova’s novel, 2017 (translation by Marian Schwartz) which is set in a near future Russia facing an environmental catastrophe.
– Haikasoru editor Pancha Diaz talks about the Tiptree-winning graphic novel, Ôoku.
– And Nick Mamatas discusses “The anarchy of translation”.
German author and editor, Franz Rottensteiner, has been interviewed at the blog, A Journey Round My Skull. Rottensteiner has some interesting things to say about the difficulties non-English-speaking writers face in trying to break into the English-speaking market. Read the interview here.
At Tor.com Fábio Fernandes talks about translating Anthony Burgess’s classic novel, A Clockwork Orange.
There is a lot of talk about translation around the blogosphere at the moment. Here are a few items we noticed in recent days.
– Fábio Fernandes talks about working in two languages at Tor.com.
– Charles Tan interviews Nick Mamatas about Haikasoru at World SF News. All of those 2010 publications Nick mentions should be eligible for our award.
– Ekaterina Sedia wonders whether translated works should sound foreign and exotic.
– Anna Tambour reviews a collection of Tamil pulp fiction (with a fabulous cover).
– Chad W. Post reviews a prize-winning Arabic novel about an infertility curse.
– The anthology series, Best American Fantasy, is looking for works from Latin America.