April 28, 2010 09:26:51
Posted By P & L Blog
In the English-speaking world...major publishing houses are inexplicably resistant to any kind of translated material at all.
The statistics are shocking in this age of so-called globalization: In the United States and Britain, only 2 to 3 percent of books published each year are translations, compared with almost 35 percent in Latin America and Western Europe.
But this is no mere national embarrassment: The dearth of translated literature in the English-speaking world represents a new kind of iron curtain we have constructed around ourselves. We are choosing to block off access to the writing of a large and significant portion of the world, including movements and societies whose potentially dreadful political impact on us is made even more menacing by our general lack of familiarity with them. Our stubborn and willful ignorance could have -- and arguably, already has had -- dangerous consequences.
Read more of Edith Grossman's article, "A Great New Wall: Why The Crisis in Translation Matters", in the May/June issue of Foreign Policy.