Good News for French Translations as Book Expo America (BEA) Opens!

May 27, 2014 | By Laurence Marie

As Book Expo America is about to start, with an opening day devoted entirely to translation, we have some great news for all fans of literature in translation.

For seven years, Chad Post has tracked books published in translation in English, amassing an impressive database on his Three percent website. This massive labor of love has become a resource for anyone interested in literature. 

Last week, Chad published his update on the 2014 titles in translation. After a remarkable 50% increase between 2010 and 2013, the number of French translations only continues to grow.

French remains the most translated language in the US, and has reinforced its position with a significant growth from 16.79% of all the translations published in the US in 2013 to 21.04% in 2014.

Chad had quite a bit of help in pulling together his extensive list. In fact, the Book Department team at the French Embassy has been collecting figures that show an even greater proportion of the literary translation pie for French translations than initially perceived!

Looking just at fiction in 2014, we counted 154 titles so far (93 in Chad’s database), 161 in 2013 (versus 88) and 147 in 2012 (versus 68).

Other countries will undoubtedly come up with more titles, which will also help to complete Chad’s extensive database. At the French-American Foundation Translation Prize ceremony last Thursday, translator Esther Allen, publisher Judith Gurewich (Other Press) and Karen Phillips (Words Without Borders) emphasized the fact that, even though, ten years ago, the press foresaw a very dark future for works in translation, the situation is far better than any had imagined.

So thank you to Chad and to all the translation enthusiasts for spreading the good word and remaining diligent with the facts!

Please check our 2012 and 2013 translated titles (in fiction AND non-fiction). The Book Department team (with special thanks to our great French interns and, more recently Juliette Coirier, who have devoted countless hours to update our database) has compiled a exhaustive catalog of translated French titles for each of those years.

To find out about all the latest news on French books and translations in the US from the French Embassy Book Department team, follow us on Twitter @FrenchBooksUSA.
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