Books of French Authors in the Argentine Publishing Market

The study of the translation of SHS books started with research on translations of French authors produced and published in Argentina between 1990 and 2011. The results showed a significant number of books: 1,660 titles. This corpus was analysed according to disciplines, authors, chronology, publishers, etc. Among the disciplines, for example, psychoanalysis (33%) and philosophy (28%) amounted to 50%.

Psychoanalysts such as Jacques Alain Miller, Jacques Lacan, and Eric Laurent each had more than twenty titles translated over that period. Amongst the philosophers, Michel Foucault had more than thirty works; Jacques Derrida, twenty; Gilles Deleuze, seventeen, etc. The Argentine publishing houses most represented were Nueva Vision (216), Paidos (170), Amorrortu (99), etc.; whereas among the publishers of origin, some of the most prestigious Parisian houses, such as Gallimard, Flam- marion, and Seuil stood out. Intermediary agents and public policies of cultural export were also analysed.

Nevertheless, in order to consider the significance of the cultural exchange flow between France and Argentina through the materiality of the translations of SHS authors in the latter country, it was necessary to proceed to a comparative study. So, the translations from French were compared and contrasted with those from other source languages: English, German, Italian, and Portuguese.

As shown by these figures, English does not emerge as the lingua franca of science (Ortiz 2009). The number of titles by French authors is more than double than that of British and American authors. In fact,

Table 8.1 SHS book translations per language (Argentine publishing market, 1990-2011) © Author’s statistical research on the basis of ISBN Argentine records

Language

Books translated (excluding reprints/re-editions)

Percentages (%)

French

1,660

45

English

779

21

German

652

18

Italian

441

12

Portuguese

166

4

Total

3,698

100

Source: Author’s statistical research on the basis of ISBN Argentine records.

Table 8.2 Percentage composition of books by language and discipline ©

Author’s statistical research on the basis of ISBN Argentine records

Disciplines

French

(%)

German

(%)

Italian

(%)

English

(%)

Portuguese

(%)

Philosophy

28

41

48

18

7

“Psy” knowledges

33

22

9

19

6

History

10

4

9

12

9

Sociology

11

4

3

10

13

Educational sciences

3

3

5

10

33

Essay

5

8

2

7

9

Law

1

10

12

5

7

Political science

3

6

6

7

12

Literary theory/critics

3

1

4

6

2

Economy

3

2

3

4

2

Source: Author’s statistical research on the basis of ISBN Argentine records.

in some years we found more translations from German or Italian than from English. The analysis also showed some disciplinary distinctions among languages.

The broad predominance of philosophy in the German case, for instance, corresponded with the highest relative percentage of authors whose original books were published before 1900. As for history, the survey showed a higher percentage of English-speaking authors; for educational sciences, the percentage is higher for the Brazilian, and so on. The crossing of variables reveals different factors that explain the meanings of exchanges materialized in translated SHS books.

The first empirical referent that should be taken into account to understand where a certain translation stands, that is, its position in a particular cultural market, are the publishing houses. It is these cultural production companies (their catalogues being the primary representation system of a brand) that regulate what will be translated. Thus, the

Table 8.3 25 publishing houses with the largest number of translations © Author’s statistical research on the basis of ISBN Argentine records

Publishing bouse

German

French

English

Italian

Portuguese Total

Paidos

42

170

82

18

1

313

Nueva Vision

3

216

13

31

3

266

Amorrortu

13

99

61

19

192

Fondo de Cultura Economica

20

70

22

12

4

128

Losada

23

40

14

29

1

107

Prometeo

17

29

18

5

4

73

Aguilar, Taurus, Alfaguara

13

22

25

5

2

67

Katz

12

17

28

5

62

Manantial

53

6

2

61

Siglo XXI Editores Argentina

44

3

5

8

60

Eudeba

6

33

6

5

2

52

Sudamericana

11

16

15

7

1

50

El Cuenco de Plata

5

28

2

6

41

El Ateneo

3

21

12

2

2

40

EmeceEditores

2

22

15

1

40

Libros del Zorzal

4

24

6

3

37

Vi-Da Global

31

5

36

Lumen

2

5

10

17

1

35

Javier Vergara Editor

3

20

11

34

Hammurabi

19

1

5

3

3

31

Capital Intelectual

2

21

5

2

1

31

Alianza Editorial

11

7

8

2

1

29

De la Flor

1

22

1

4

28

Adriana Hidalgo

1

9

2

16

28

Biblos

9

9

5

3

2

28

Source: Author’s statistical research on the basis of ISBN Argentine records.

representation of the main Argentine publishers displayed the following system of differences and hierarchical positions (Table 8.3).

For reasons of space, we cannot expand on the interpretation of each publisher’s profile. But, in order to get an additional perspective on the behaviour of the publishing houses, figure 8.1 shows the firms that publish the largest number of books translated from French and from English.

The most prestigious and specialized publishing houses, as well as the ones that have the greatest influence in the SHS market (also, as seen in Table 8.3, those that publish the largest number of books of these genres), tend to translate a higher number of books from French. It has been found that this linguistic-national origin is, in itself, a factor of cultural prestige for the publishing houses. In the case of the firms that translate mainly from English, the higher percentage concerns generalist publishers, firms that are part of the major publishing conglomerates, that is, of companies where financial decision-making is prioritized over

Percentage of French and English translations. Opposition between niches (left) - general interest (right) © Author’s statistical research on the basis of ISBN Argentine records

Figure 8.1 Percentage of French and English translations. Opposition between niches (left) - general interest (right) © Author’s statistical research on the basis of ISBN Argentine records.

symbolic stakes. As for the volume and the non-specialization, then translations of English-speaking authors are associated with the most heteronomous sectors of the publishing subfield defined by the market of SHS books in Argentina.

In general trends it is possible to affirm that English translations express mainly in non-specialized catalogues. In comparison with French ones, they are less visible and consequently less profitable as prestige stakes. Over the last decades, the main national markets of symbolic goods, except for the English-speaking ones, have increased their policies of cultural export. In the publishing industry, exhibitions at international book fairs and supporting programmes for translation abound. In contrast, in the academic sphere, the policies that are predominant include those for scholarships, international mobility, and the promotion of national academic positions as centres of international excellence/ In this complex network of resources and international competitions, one of the many factors that explain the great importance of the translation of French authors in Argentina is the Programme d’Aide a la Publication Victoria Ocampo (PAP). Figures 8.2 and 8.3 show the annual representation of this policy:

Approximately one-quarter of the translated books have received support from the PAP. This subsidy can be complemented by resources offered by the Centre National du Livre for the purchase of rights, etc. The

Titles that received a PAP subsidy and non-subsidized titles © Author’s statistical research

Figure 8.2 Titles that received a PAP subsidy and non-subsidized titles © Author’s statistical research.

PAP ratio of all translated titles © Author’s statistical research

Figure 8.3 PAP ratio of all translated titles © Author’s statistical research.

sociological topics and issues arising from the above-mentioned research experience are highly diverse and have already been covered in our previously cited publications. As has been explained in the introduction, the main experiment that is the focus in this chapter is the contrast between the two directions of the French-Argentine exchanges.

 
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