Over at The Guardian Sam Jordison has an article titled “Are we finally getting the hang of foreign fiction?” My favorite paragraph:
One thing I am wondering, however, is if we in the English-speaking world are becoming better at understanding the value of good translated literature. In that earlier article, I noted that “although around 60% of all translations are taken from the English language, English readers take only around 2-3% of their books from other languages”. I haven’t been able to find contradictory figures, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the imbalance is becoming less marked. Stieg Larsson continues to sell by the bucketload; Roberto Bolaño is ever more revered; new imprints such as Gallic Books, focusing exclusively on translation, are thriving. In the meantime, the exemplary New York Review Books has brought out so many translations of such high quality that a serious reader could take in nothing else for years and still feel entirely satisfied.
The article doesn’t mention poetry–a frustrating omission–but it’s still worth a read for its sense of promise.