Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke

Women in Translation: Why Does It Matter?

Katy Derbyshire explores the importance of translating literature by women:

"...But I think the publishing and reading community would also benefit in other ways from translating more women. Remember what sparked the current (relative) boom in translated fiction? It was crime writing. Scandinavian detective stories made many readers overcome their reluctance to reach for anything genuinely foreign. The format was familiar enough to act as a gateway drug, paving the way to full-on binge-watching of The Bridge. Readers (and viewers) are now actively seeking out stories written in other languages about other cultures. OK, they may well play on a stereotype of dour sociopathic northern Europeans, but at least they’re written by actual northern Europeans. And many of them are women, as For Books’ Sake point out.

Before Nordic noir, translated literature was largely the preserve of – how can I put this? – demonstratively intellectual dudes. The DID would boast an apartment full of tasteful furniture and impenetrable foreign tomes. Novels by other DIDs, of course, about philosophy, loneliness and suffering, perhaps livened up by late-life affairs with younger women. Contemplations of other literary DIDs’ deaths, homages to classic DID writing, and so on in an eternal circle-jerk. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a sucker for a good DID, especially in my personal life. But as a hegemonic literary culture, they can get rather dull...."

Read the whole article here:


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