If you are a fan of Nordic Noir novels then there is a good chance you are reading translated works such as these:
Have you ever wondered about the process of translating novels? The world of translated fiction is a little more vibrant these days but it is seen as a high risk business by some in the publishing world with very few publishers actually taking the plunge. Now there is good news for those of us who want to read more quality translations from authors in the Nordic countries. English PEN has announced that it ‘is now offering 100% translation grants to publishers with turnover of less than £500,000 per annum, increasing the threshold from the previous maximum of £100,000.’ (The Bookseller)
Various rules have applied to publishers up until now which meant that publishers who could apply for these grants were restricted. Basically smaller publishers with a turnover of less than 100,000 p.a. could apply for the PEN Translates grant that would pay for 100% of the translation costs. Publishers with a larger turnover were restricted to applying for grants to cover 75% of the translation cost. Now the threshold has been increased to include those larger companies in the 100% grant remit.
In reality this will hopefully mean that more publishers will take on more titles to be translated as they will have a greater chance of getting their costs covered. Karen Sullivan from Orenda books had this to say on the news
‘I’m delighted by this news, as it will hopefully encourage more publishers to take on international books that deserve to be read in English. It’s always a risk to publish translated literature, but I also know that it is an honour to bring some of the best world literature to English readers. I’m publishing three literary translations this year, with Icelandic author Ragnar Jonasson’s Snowblind (translated by Quentin Bates) and Norwegian crime writer Gunnar Staalesen’s We Shall Inherit the Wind (translated by Don Bartlett) just out, and Finnish writer Kati Hiekkapelto’s The Defenceless (translated by David Hackston) published in September. The response has been staggeringly positive; in fact, we’ve already reprinted Snowblind and it’s only been in the shops for a week. There is no doubt that the appetite for translations is increasing all the time, and PEN’s efforts to support this will provide the impetus to feed it.’
Grants for 2015 were announced in May by PEN and you may be interested to hear that a children’s fantasy novel from Denmark Erik’s Journey to Valhalla by Lars-Henrik Olsen, translated from Danish by Paul Russell Garrett (Aurora Metro Books) was awarded a grant to be translated.