[globaloutlookDH-l] Closing the Gap

Domenico Fiormonte domenico.fiormonte at gmail.com
Mon Sep 2 13:21:03 MDT 2013

Dear Jasmin,

thanks for reporting your disappointing experience with the British
publisher. We had a very similar problem with the English translation
of our book "L'umanista digitale" (Il Mulino, 2010), an introduction
to DH that has selled more than 2000 copies in Italy and was already
reprinted. An American publisher in 2010 asked us to translate the
volume, and after a lengthy negotiation we signed a contract in 2011.
I think I've already told the story... anyway although the translation
was made by a professional native speaker, the publisher replied six
months later that "it was not idiomatic". I wonder how a translation
from Italian into English could ever be "idiomatic", but that is not
the problem. The problem was what the publisher was *expecting*:
probably an "American" book. In fact, the first review confirmed the
impression of a huge (but typical) cultural misunderstanding. For
example it is clear that our vision of DH *is not* the vision
currently popular in the Anglo-America world, so the reviewer did not
perceive our point of view as useful or necessary to the DH debate.

So, yes, working on our linguistic gaps would of great help. But
please let's not delude ourselves. Where is the power? Who does rule
the current lingua franca? Until the rhetorical and discursive
standards will be set by an élite of British and American scholars and
their connected "international" publishers, a real -- and *equal* --
cultural exchange and progress will be not possible.

All the best


2013/8/30 Yasmín S. Portales Machado <yasmin a cubarte.cult.cu>:
> Justo ahora yo me encuentro en la situación del "gap" linguístico:
> Soy parte de un proyecto para sacar un libro con las ponencias de un
> congreso a través de una editorial británica. La mayoría de las autoras (fue
> un congreso de estudios de mujeres en Portugal) son luso o hispanohablantes.
> Tras año y medio de trabajo (seleccion, traducción, aceptación del proyecto
> por la editorial, edición, firma de contratos) nos rechasaron el original,
> porque "There are currently errors throughout".
> Por supuesto, ni se tomaron el trabajo de advertir en qué parte del libro
> están los errores. Y las autoras no estamos capacitadas para reconocerlos.
> ¿Dónde nos metemos ahora?
> Una parte del grupo está hablando de contratar revisión de modo colectivo,
> pero vivo en Cuba y me es imposible hacer aporte monetario alguno (mi
> salario y el bloqueo, ¡qué mezcla maravillosa!).
> Por encima de mi singularidad geopolítica, está de nuevo la hegemonía del
> inglés: necesitamos ese libro para entrar a los índices "importantes", pero
> no podemos negociar con la editorial, ¿alguna solución?
> ---------------------------------------------
> Just now I´m in an idiomatic gap.
> I´m part of a proyect to publish a book with a congress papers in a british
> editorial. Most of us (it was a congress of women studies at Portugal)
> spoke/write spanish or portugues (¿?). After a year and a alf of work
> (selection, translation, arrangement with the publishers, edition,
> contracts) the original was reyected because "There are currently errors
> throughout".
> Of course, they are to busy to say were are the errors, and as non-english
> speakers we are not calified to recognice that kind of thing. What are we
> going to do now?
> A part of the group is considering a contract to get a fully reviewed
> version, but I live in Cuba, and I can´t afford that (my income and the USA
> embargo, wonderfull mixture!).
> Beyond the geopolitics singularity of my cincunstances, this is, again, an
> issue about english hegemony: we need the book to get in to the "important
> index", buy we are not able to negotiate with the publishing house. Any
> idea?
> Yasmín S. Portales Machado
> --------------------------------------
> Marxista, Feminista y Bloguera
> Twitter: @nimlothdecuba
> Facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=663817529
> Mi blog: http://yasminsilvia.blogspot.com/
> Parte de Proyecto Arcoiris
> Colectivo LGBT de Cuba, anticapitalista e independiente
> http://proyectoarcoiris.wordpress.com/
> Parte de Observatorio Crítico de Cuba
> ¡A la izquierda, pero por la izquierda!
> http://observatoriocriticodesdecuba.wordpress.com/
> "El feminismo ha puesto en evidencia, mejor que ninguna otra corriente de
> pensamiento, tanto la arbitrariedad del psicoanálisis como la insuficiencia
> del marxismo, es decir, ha cuestionado los dos grandes modelos totalizadores
> del siglo XX."
> Carlo Frabetti
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