99 European translations (actually 531 but 99 sounds cooler)

The European Commission has come out with its list of translation grant recipients, otherwise known as “Strand 1.2.2 : Support for Literary Translations: selection results.” You can go to the official website and click on the link to a bunch of PDF charts and graphs that are about as unliterary as you can get, or I’ll give you a small and limited preview here.

There were a total of 326 project applications, out of which 99 were chosen for support. Grant money came in at the extremely specific price of €2,913,950.96. (It turns out that the 96 cents are a provision added by the EC to “assist the translators in engaging in pleasurable post-translation recreation” – just kidding EC).

At the Czech Literature Portal there is a breakdown of the Czech results – two Czech publishers obtained grants of around €25 and €12 for translations primarily to Czech. Another 15 Czech books received support for translation into various languages. One piece of good news is that the surreal, fantastic 1929 novel House of a Thousand Floors by Jan Weiss is being translated into English for the Central European University Press. More typically this translation is the only Czech work that will be squeezed into the three percent quota for that respective year while, for example, there will be five translated into Slovenian and four into Bulgarian.

CEU Press is also doing translations of Three Chestnut Horses by Slovak Margita Figuli and Two Worlds by Vjenceslav Novak, a writer known as the Croatian Balzac. Apparently, Central European novels with numbers in the titles are in this year.

Other Central European writers that will appear in English include Poland’s Hanna Krall (Peirene Press), a slew of Balkan authors – Marija Knezevic, Petre Andreevski, Matko Srsen, Andrej Nikolaidis, Jelena Lengold – at Istros Books, and books by Serbia’s Ivana Milankova and Poland’s Krystyna Milobedzka at Arc Publications.

At Hungarian Literature Online (HLO) there is a similar but, I assume, unrelated listing of translation grants that include six works being translated into English. New Directions is doing Ádám Bodor’s Sinistra District while the Contra Mundum Press is doing Miklós Szentkuthy’s Marginalia on Casanova.

Photo – 1) House of a Thousand Floors by Jan Weiss, 2) Miklós Szentkuthy’s Marginalia on Casanova in another language I’m too tired to determine right now (okay, fine – Spanish).

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4 Comments on “99 European translations (actually 531 but 99 sounds cooler)”

  1. 19/07/2012 at 5:14 pm #

    So little being translated into English. Is that because there is no demand, I wonder?

  2. 19/07/2012 at 5:45 pm #

    It’s many factors combined, I think, the most basic of which is the feeling (a feeling because people rarely even articulate it as a thought) among English-language readers that an AmerEnglish novel can be a novel about life whereas a – e.g. – Russian novel – is about Russian life (a smaller and more specializd category that can be covered by a book every 10 years or so).

  3. 19/07/2012 at 10:12 pm #

    Wow – that’s probably the most accurate statement of fact that I have heard. I also thought that East Europeans have got a bit of a ‘small culture complex’, i.e. they feel they come from small cultures and languages that no one has ever heard of, so they have to make an effort to keep up with the so-called major worldwide movements (and that means not just American and British literature, but also French, Spanish, German etc.)

  4. 20/07/2012 at 10:01 am #

    That’s true too – about the small culture complex – though I’m not sure it means they have to keep up with other bigger cultures as that they have to know their own in a way people from big countries don’t feel obliged to (or able to – because they’re so big).

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