美国人阅读量增加,其中包括文学译著(美國美中報道)

今天是#国际翻译日#。根据联合国,语言专业人员在团结各国,促进对话、了解和合作,推动发展,加强世界和平与安全等方面发挥着重要作用,国际翻译日为向其工作表示敬意提供了一个机会。

对于眼下蹲在家中,既不太想也不能够旅行的美国人来说,翻译作品能够把他们带到其他地方,领略其他文化。

专门出版翻译作品的纽约New Vessel Press出版社共同创始人迈克尔·怀斯(Michael Z. Wise)说,“文学是进入他人的生活及思维方式之门”。

例如,据怀斯介绍,New Vessel Press将在2月份出版谢尔盖·列别捷夫(Sergei Lebedev)的惊悚小说《无法追踪[暂译]》(Untraceable),读者可以通过一个苏联用毒药攻击对手的故事,对专制政府的面目略见一斑。

罗切斯特大学(University of Rochester)的公开信文学出版社(Open Letter Books)出版人查德·波斯特(Chad W. Post)说,翻译文学在今天具有重要作用。

他说,“现在应该是所有人,尤其是美国人,思考其他人的观点的时候了。我们是一个连在一起的世界,但并不见得正在走近彼此。在冠状病毒疫情期间,大家不要把自己缩裹在自身的认同圈子里很重要”。


意大利作家埃莱娜·费兰特的系列小说英译本在美国大受欢迎。图中是意大利文原著的封面。(© Simona Granati/Corbis/Getty Images)

波斯特说,在小说和诗歌方面,外国作家的翻译作品在美国占销售量的大约1%,这个比例比波斯特在2008年第一次开始跟踪这一数字时的0.7%有所上升。(如果他将外语书籍和漫画作品包括进来,现在的比例是3%。)翻译作品的总销售量与普通书籍的销售量成正比。2019年,美国出版了572部新的翻译小说和诗歌。

波斯特说,疫情初期,许多读者转向一些老畅销书,但是,“现在人们转到新书上来,而不是返回相对单纯岁月里的那些经典著作”。

据波斯特说,文学译著的情况与出版业很相像,也是一朝走红,处处走红。由于在线购物计算模式把畅销作者首先推到浏览人的面前,而介绍新作者的报刊新书评论相对数量不足,所以人们的注意力以及书售往往都趋向于已知名的作者。

在近来热销的翻译作品中有已故瑞典作家斯蒂格·拉森(Stieg Larsson)的惊悚小说,以及意大利作家埃莱娜·费兰特(Elena Ferrante)创作的以两位个性鲜明的意大利女性为主角的小说四部曲。世界各地许多其他作家也在美国图书市场上各有一搏。但是,怀斯认为,费兰特的新作《成人的谎言生活[暂译]》(The Lying Life of Adults)为美国读者又一次打开视野,欣赏海外书中的故事。

在疫情期间,怀斯出版社的电子书销售量上升了120%。但他担心,许多独立书店——它们是推动翻译文学的生力军——会因读者人数下降而难以为继。

怀斯的出版社是营利性的,但许多专门的翻译出版社得到学术界和慈善界的支持。波斯特说,亚马逊(Amazon)是一个著名例外,而它是别人望尘莫及的最大的译著出版商。它的亚马逊穿越(Amazon Crossing)出版业务几乎全部集中在电子书,推销其他国家著名作家的作品以及美国读者喜欢的体裁,如浪漫小说,惊悚小说和科幻小说等。

资深编辑莉莎·达恩顿(Liza Darnton)说,“我们非常努力千方百计寻找最有意思的故事。我们尽可能多地接触翻译界,我们与全球各地同事共同发掘好书”。亚马逊穿越2010年以来已经出版了来自44个国家的作家的400部作品。2019年又建立了亚马逊穿越儿童图书(Amazon Crossing Kids)出版业务。

波斯特说,“世界各地有妙不可言的好作家,他们的作品没有理由不能以英文精湛地得到再现”。

https://share.america.gov/zh-hans/americans-read-more-including-literature-in-translation/

Americans read more, including literature in translation

Today is #International Translation Day# According to the United Nations, International Translation Day is meant as an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, which plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security.

As Americans hunker down at home with less appetite or ability to travel, the pages of books translated from other languages can transport them to other cultures and places.

“Literature is a portal into other people’s way of life and thinking,” said Michael Z. Wise, co-founder of New Vessel Press in New York, which specializes in translated works.

For instance, in February his press will publish Sergei Lebedev’s Untraceable, a thriller about Soviet use of poison to attack enemies. The book, he said, gives insight into authoritarian governments.

Literature in translation is important today, said Chad W. Post, publisher at Open Letter Books at the University of Rochester.

“This is a time for everybody, Americans in particular, to think about other people’s perspectives,” Post said. “We are a connected world, not necessarily coming together. It’s important during COVID not to retreat into walled-off identities.”


English translations of books by Elena Ferrante, shown here in their original Italian, are popular among Americans. (© Simona Granati/Corbis/Getty Images)

About 1% of fiction and poetry books sold in the U.S. are translations from foreign authors, Post said. That share is up a bit from 0.7% in 2008, the year Post started keeping track. (If he were to include language books and manga, today’s share would be 3%.) Still, the overall number of those books has risen along with book sales generally. In 2019, 572 new fiction and poetry books in translation were published in the United States.

At the start of the pandemic, many readers turned to old favorites, Post said. “Now we’re getting back to something new rather than retreating back into classics from a simpler time.”

Like much of the publishing industry, literature in translation is a bit of a winner-take-all situation. Between online shopping algorithms that keep already popular authors in front of people browsing and a dearth of newspaper book reviews to publicize new writers, much of the spotlight and business flows to known authors, according to Post.

Among translations that have been popular recently have been the late Stieg Larsson’s Swedish thrillers and Elena Ferrante’s tales of strong Italian women. Many other authors from around the world compete for what’s left of the American market. But Ferrante, whose new book is The Lying Life of Adults, has opened American readers’ minds to books set outside the U.S., Wise said.

Digital book sales are up 120% during the pandemic for Wise. But he worries that many independent bookstores — who are boosters of literature in translation — won’t survive the drop in traffic.

Although Wise runs a for-profit press, many of the publishers that specialize in translations have academic or philanthropic support. A notable exception is Amazon, which is by far the largest publisher of translations, according to Post. Its Amazon Crossing imprint focuses almost entirely on electronic books and features authors popular in other countries and types of books popular with American readers, such as romances, thrillers and science fiction.

“We really try to be inventive in how we find great stories,” said Liza Darnton, senior editor. “We engage with the translator community as much as we can, and we work with colleagues around the world to find great books.” Amazon Crossing has published 400 books since 2010 from authors in 44 countries. And in 2019, Amazon Crossing Kids was created.

“There are just amazingly good writers around the world and there’s no reason they can’t be great in English,” Post said.(美国驻华大使馆)

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