English now—whether we like it or not—is used as an international language, so our taste in world literature is often shaped through the choices of work that get translated into English. For a work of literature to be translated, it should fit the taste of what gets accepted by English-speaking readers, mainly in the UK and North America. The publishers, and especially the acquisition editors, play an important role in deciding what to translate. They are the ones who decide what essentially works for the audience of a certain country and what doesn’t necessarily get accepted into international publications.
Why is that? How does the curatorial process that creates the homogenous take of world literature work in real life? What do the publishers actually seek: the authenticity of the author’s voice (regardless of what s/he said about her/his country/nation); or the depiction of the country/nation through the author’s voice? What are the examples of works from a certain country that are considered as counter-hegemonic and why don’t they get accepted by English-speaking readers?
How aware are the editors and publishers about this “invisible curatorial” process? Can this practice end, and if so, when and how will it end?
Stephanos Stephanides (CYP)
Laurie Callahan (USA)
Clarissa Goenawan (SIN)
Nirwan Dewanto (IDN)