Translation as literary ambassador

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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:58
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
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Much better than it seems Dec 11, 2010

As this article points out, there seems at first glance to be a serious imbalance in the percentage of translated books in different countries – around 3% in the US and UK, compared to 10 - 30% in many other countries.

But if instead of looking at percentages, you look at absolute numbers, the picture is more encouraging. In the US, around 300,000 books are published per year. If 3% are translations, that is nearly 10,000 new translated books a year.

In contrast, in Germany there are around 100,000 new books a year, of which around 12% are translations -- around 12,000. In Spain, around 90,000 at 25% -- so around 22,000 new translations.

Two conclusions –- still an imbalance, but not as bad as the percentages imply. And either way, that represents a considerable amount of work for us translators.


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Trisha F  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:58
English to Spanish
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Interesting Dec 11, 2010

I had never thought about that. Still, it would be fantastic if those percentages in the US and UK were a bit higher.

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