Book Publishers Scramble for Chinese Readers

The New York Times reports on efforts to publish “The Persian Boy,” by Mary Renault, and other foreign works of literature, in Chinese:

With tastes growing more sophisticated and worldly, foreign book publishers have leapt at the opportunity to attract new readers among China’s growing middle class.

Although certain subjects like the Dalai Lama, Taiwan independence, dark episodes in Communist history and overtly religious themes remain verboten — and are deleted from translated editions of foreign titles — the hunger for literature, business advice and self-help books has fueled a scramble among Chinese publishers and their international counterparts to translate classics and the latest best sellers into Chinese, creating new opportunities for book agents and translators to help bridge the gap between East and West.

According to the General Administration of Press and Publication, more than 15,700 foreign titles were bought by Chinese publishing companies in 2008, including more than 4,000 from the United States, the No.1 country of origin. In 2005, less than 10,000 foreign book titles were sold to China.

Danwei also has a lengthy post about the business of literary translation.

December 24, 2010 12:03 AM
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