Failure To Communicate – Why America Doesn’t Translate

Is it any surprise that Americans have such a narrow sense of other cultures? “About 3% of the fiction and poetry published in the United States in 1999 was translated (approximately 330 out of the total 11,570 fiction and poetry titles published). America compares unfavourably to almost every other country and most unfavourably to western Europe, the region closest to an ideological sibling. There, Germany translates the most works – about six times as many as the US each year. Spain is close behind, while the French publishing industry exceeds the US by four times. Without translations, Americans, who are notoriously monolingual, have access only to the perspectives of those who write and speak in English; thus the ideas of millions are lost to them.”