Translation Panels at Worldcon

There were many different panels on translation at Loncon 3. I went to most of them. Although they all had subtly different slants, they all ended up asking pretty much the same question: how the heck can we get more work translated into English?

I was intending to write a long post detailing all of the options, and their pros and cons, but Lionel Davoust has beaten me to it, and done a very fine job. So please go and read his post.

Lionel ends up talking about various external support mechanisms. Tempest Bradford’s suggestion sounds like it could work very well. It is, of course, exploiting the students, but they need to do the work as part of their courses so they should be happy to be exploited.

At the same panel at which Ellen Kushner floated the various Interstitial Arts Foundation initiatives, one of the members of the audience recommended Babel Cube. I know nothing about it, but if you are looking to get translated it may be worth checking out.

Overall, however, I’m pretty depressed about the state of affairs. I have tried to get things done, but nothing seems to work. The Translation Awards were a good idea at the time, but the world has moved on and for a variety of reasons I think they are dead. The only way they could be revived is if we wound up the existing operation and hoped that this created a gap in the community that someone else wanted to fill.

I was also really pleased with Small Blue Planet, but it got no traffic. I’d kind of hoped that it would get some attention in the Hugos, but while 28 people kindly nominated me in Fan Writer, fewer than 12 people nominated Small Blue Planet, meaning it didn’t make the long list. That also means that at least 17 of the people who nominated me for Fan Writer don’t actually read my blog, because Small Blue Planet was what I asked people to nominate.

Finally, of course, I published the Croatian anthology, Kontakt. I tried to talk about it at every available opportunity at both Worldcon and Eurocon. That resulted in precisely one new sale.

Obviously I’ll continue writing about translated works, and I’d be happy to publish any that came my way, but it really does seem that no matter how hard I try, no one is going to listen. Trying to get English-speakers to read works in translation feels like trying to walk into the teeth of a hurricane.

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4 Responses to Translation Panels at Worldcon

  1. CarolC says:

    🙁 I love Small Blue Planet!

    I think your work on this is having an impact, just maybe in ways you don’t realise until it occurs to us to tell you. I know that in my case the podcast had a large influence on my work as part of the Shamrokon programming team. Pebbles, ripples… who knows how many other people your pebbles may have hit? Wait, that metaphor went odd…

  2. Toomas Nipernaadi says:

    Sigh, once again I am not the intended audience (an English reader, but not an English speaker, as I am)

    I am confused by the anthology – would like to buy it, but can I read in on PC running OpenOffice?

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