Translated Indian works need to be more visible to English-speaking publishers: study

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According to a new study, Indian literature in translation needs to be more visible to English-speaking publishers, which also requires promoting writers and translators and inviting publishers in India to engage in the publishing ecosystem and literature.

The “India Literature and Publishing Sector Survey” also highlighted the urgent need for an organized database on Indian literature available in English translation, and a showcase of such a database accessible to agents, publishers and others interested in buying rights for the UK market.

The study, commissioned by the British Council and conducted by Art X Company, looked at the challenges faced by Indian publishers, agents, authors, translators and industry bodies when creating literature written in Indian languages more widely accessible to an international English-speaking audience.

Other recommendations for the publishing industry include creating a forum for exchange between Indian and international publishers; a robust and consistent data collection exercise; a site that lists indian author and biographies of translators, synopses of published works with sample content; and sales, training and development opportunities for literary agents and publishers in selling rights.

For the translation ecosystem, the study recommended better training, compensation and representation opportunities for translators; create a translators guild that represents the interests of translators across Indian languages; structured training programs; promotion of translated works of Indian literature abroad through a coordinated network of agencies engaged in cultural diplomacy, among other measures.

The study gathered insights from 100 stakeholders describing the current publishing and translation ecosystem in 10 Indian cities and states of Delhi, Rajasthan, West Bengal (Kolkata), Odisha, Assam (Guwahati), Maharashtra, Kerala (Kochi), Karnataka (Bengaluru), Chennai and Hyderabad to present information covering eight target languages ​​- Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Punjabi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.

The study examined the role of literary festivals and events, digitization trendsperceptions of Indian literature in overseas English translation, the sector’s skills needs and gaps, and its intersections with the National Education Policy 2020.

The research outcome identified opportunities for more global work and collaboration, particularly with the UK, to promote Indian literature in translation in the future.

Jonathan Kennedy, Arts India director at the British Council, said the main aim of the research was to identify the barriers to internationalization faced by Indian literary and publishing professionals and to support the sector of Indian literature in the midst of crisis. covid pandemic.
“Additionally, some Indian languages ​​are more represented in translation than others, so through this report, the idea is to also help Indian literature in different and more languages ​​to reach foreign shores,” a- he declared.

According to Rashmi Dhanwani, Founder and Director of Art X Company, “India has 427 recognized languages, with 22 official languages, but most Indian literature known to the world has been written in English, with very little literature in Indian language translated in western markets.”

The insights from the study have “begun to spark vital conversations among stakeholders, and our hope is to see the recommendations manifest as results,” she added.

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