Translations Tie Countries Together

Article excerpt

Literature in translation serves purposes other than helping affluent vacationers kill time in airport departure lounges.

"Ireland and Its Diaspora" was a special focus of this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, and exhibiting publishers from Ireland had an opportunity to see for themselves the level of interest Irish writers inspire on the part of Germans and other continental Europeans.

Steve MacDonogh of Brandon Book Publishers in Dingle, County Kerry, says readers in France, Germany, and the Netherlands are "very ready to take new writers ... to get past the cliched images of Ireland." He cited the work of Brian Leyden, one of his writers, as "depicting a society in transition from primitive to post-modern." The liveliness of the Irish literary scene must be a source of envy to editorial directors of German publishing houses. Their fiction lists are heavily dependent on translations because of a chronic mismatch between what German writers want to write and what German readers want to read. The leading market for translations from German is into Polish. …