Enquanto no Brasil o público leitor muitas vezes prefere autores estrangeiros, a maioria dos leitores norte-americanos nem os conhece. E, enquanto para muitas editoras daqui é (ou pelo menos costumava ser) financeiramente mais vantajoso produzir um livro traduzido do que garimpar e polir autores nacionais, parte considerável do mercado editorial norte-americano olha para autores estrangeiros com sua habitual desconfiança xenofóbica.
Abaixo, alguns trechos de um artigo do New York Times que trata desse assunto.
Fazendo um parêntese, seria bom nos recordarmos que, infelizmente, na hora das negociações, editoras seculares e cristãs com frequência não apresentam padrões éticos e comportamento muito diferentes. Como diz a velha canção de Steve Taylor, "It's a jungle out there / Used to be a garden / But the times got rough / And now all those innocent hearts have hardened".
Não custa nada nos lembrarmos em nossas orações de todos os colegas cristãos que enfrentam diariamente inúmeros desafios de ordem ética e moral na hora de escolher os livros a serem publicados, negociar a aquisição de direitos de títulos estrangeiros e selecionar autores nacionais.
Que Deus os ajude a operar de acordo com um conjunto diferente de valores, segundo padrões que são determinados por Alguém muito mais importante que editoras e agentes literários e muito mais poderoso que as forças do mercado nacional e internacional.
Que esse Deus soberano que prometeu suprir todas as nossas necessidades fortaleça, abençoe e recompense quem escolhe viver como verdadeiro discípulo de Cristo não apenas dentro da igreja, mas também entre as quatro paredes do escritório e nos corredores e estandes de uma feira.
By MOTOKO RICH
Published: October 17, 2008
It is a commonly held assumption that Americans don’t like to read authors who write in languages they don’t understand. That belief persists here in Frankfurt, where publishers from 100 countries show off a smorgasbord of their best — or at least best-selling — books. [...]
Although there are exceptions among the big publishing houses, the editors from the United States are generally more likely to bid on other hyped American or British titles than to look for new literature in the international halls. [...]
That apparent dearth of literature in translation in the United States was the subject of controversial remarks by Horace Engdahl, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, the organization that awards the Nobel Prize, a week before the prize did not go to an American.
“The U.S. is too isolated, too insular,” Mr. Engdahl said in an interview with The Associated Press. “They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature.” [...]
Mr. Godine, who has been running his publishing house for 38 years, said he published foreign authors because it gave his tiny press literary credibility. But he said there was also a basic economic reason.
“When you look at how much is paid for a mediocre midlist author” in the United States, he said, “and how much you have to pay to get a world-class author who has been translated into 18 languages, it is ridiculous that more people don’t invest in buying great literature.” Mr. Godine said he had purchased the rights to a foreign book for as little as $2,000. [...]
To help spur more translations, government-sponsored cultural agencies in Europe and elsewhere subsidize — or fully cover — the cost of translating books into English. [...]
“The translation costs are often a deterrent or a reason not to translate a book,” Ms. Ramael said.
Some of the larger American publishers said monolingual editors fear making risky buying decisions based on short translated excerpts.
“It is hard enough to publish a book when you have read the whole thing and know you love it,” said Michael Pietsch, publisher of Little, Brown, as he sat in his company’s booth waiting for his next appointment.
There is also the oft-repeated American maxim that books in translation don’t sell. [...]
American publishers devoted to translating say there is no shortage of gems. On Thursday Mr. Post of Open Letter eagerly plunged into one of the international halls, plucking brochures of translated English excerpts from stands hosted by cultural agencies from Croatia, Latvia, Poland, China and Korea.
Frankfurt, he said, is about renewing contacts with people whose judgment he trusts and who can help him winnow the hundreds of titles he hears about here and elsewhere.
For his part, Mr. Godine said Frankfurt helped him discover, among many others, the Nobel-winning Mr. Le Clézio. “Even a blind squirrel eventually finds a nut,” he said.