Today, we’re going to talk about translation. Are women translating books? Are women’s books being translated? Okay, so translation in general is a problem, as can be found on the Three Percent page that was started and this way because that is the total percentage of books getting translated into English. Of this paltry three percent, only 31% are by women. So while we focus on the women this Friday, let us not forget that we need more people translating more books in general. There is lots of good writing out there this isn’t done in English. There are lots of great stories we miss out on and we can see that just by knowing those stories that have made it through over the years.
When I started to research this topic, I found several articles talking about a lack of women’s writing being translated but they mostly referred back to this one Where are the women in translation? by Words Without Borders. It has some great research and facts and sites all kinds of things about women and translations from the percentage of women who are published to the amount of women who are translated to the amount of those women who nominated for translation or translated book prizes.
Looking for a book that wasn’t written in English? Flavorwire has this 22 book list for us, but if you’d rather just pick from all of them there is an actual database of women writers who have been translated into English here that had 1573 books on when I looked at it. The database was compiled and provided by Biblibio in their post about Women In Translation Month, which had been August 2015. They also offer a list of posts about women in translation and links to reviews of women in translation from their 2014 WITMonth. In January, they began a series of posts on the statistics of women in translation for 2015 that included publishers, language and countries and genre and original publication so far.
The aforementioned Three Percent page also has a database for every year of books that are getting translated into English going back to 2008. It turns out that the amount of books translated by women is closer to parity than those that are translated and written by women. Given that I could pull from this list those women who were ahead in the field of translating books, I went back to Google and Ranker helped me out. Here is a list of famous female translators.
Have you read any books translated into English? Were any by women writers?