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Amazon UK launches Literature in Translation store November 12, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Translation Sites.

Blogging Translator reports that Amazon UK has launched a Literature in Translation store last week. I think I will be bookmarking the site just as a reference for new books to read. The store features a scroll bar with the top 48 Bestsellers in Literature in Translation, and they also focus on one or two authors. They are focusing on Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk and Austrian/Czech author Franz Kafka (he was born in Prague, but was from a German-speaking Jewish family) at the moment. I am always open to new and interesting book suggestions.

This is also a great way to publicize our profession. Even if they haven’t made a huge announcement, we can. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell other colleagues.

Having worked at Borders for several years when I first moved back to the States (practicing what I preach to budding translators – get a part-time job to pay the rent while you are just starting out and trolling for clients), I came to realize most customers had no clue they were reading translations, which is a huge complement when you are the one who translated the book but not so ideal in terms of publicizing the profession. Heck, most customers didn’t even know the author’s name… I got really good at trying to figure out what they were looking for based on vague descriptions or knowing what Oprah just recommended. 🙂

I also love that publishers are finally starting to prominently feature the name of the translator on cover pages. I’m reading Out by Natsuo Kirino right now, which was translated by Stephen Snyder, and his name is featured prominently on the cover page as well as in the Amazon listing. This is a great advancement for us. Most literary translators were never mentioned on cover pages in the past.

Amazon UK prefaces their Literature in Translation store as follows:

Welcome to our Literature in Translation store. Browse here for great deals on top fiction from around the globe. You can search by language or by genre to discover new authors, and see what other people are reading and rating.

so check it out.


1. Sarah - November 12, 2008

“Out” is great! Gory, but great… a friend recommended it to me one day, and five minutes after we parted, I walked into a bookstore and a copy literally fell off the shelf and hit me on the head. I took it as a sign, bought the book and loved it!

2. Carolina - November 14, 2008

I have been having a look at this Literature in Translation store and realised that the translator´s name is still nowhere to be seen (at least in the books I checked)…
but it is a big step and a start…hopefully soon, when we talk about Literature in Translation, the translator´s name will be as important as an ISBN…
thanks for such a great blog!

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