Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Venuti article on the cultural trade deficit

Larry Venuti writes on translation from English to other languages and cultural imperialism in "The Cracked Glass" in the Times Online.
American publishers reap huge profits from the sale of their books overseas, but they invest appallingly little in the translation of foreign books. The charge of cultural imperialism does not seem all that exaggerated. Some observers might go further: the patterns established over the past fifty years have apparently created American readers with provincial tastes, unable to appreciate work from foreign cultures and beset by feelings of inadequacy when confronted with it.

Good food for thought there, and it can be pushed even further. Venuti stops at a point of pondering over Joyce's cracked looking glass of the servant:

I take Joyce’s resonant words as a metaphor for translation at the present moment, when English is the most translated language worldwide, but not much translated into, when American culture dominates the international marketplace, but is so inhospitable to foreign films and books.

More on this later. Discuss...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed a lot!