Translation among Manila's Book Publishers

Ubaldo Stecconi
American University, Washington, DC

A survey conducted among Manila's publishers reveals an interesting translation scene. The bulk of translations available in Philippine bookstores is imported ready-made from the U.S. and Britain, and it seems that, with these, local publishers import an Anglo-Saxon indifference towards translation from foreign languages. Local projects are very few and nearly all of them are translations into Filipino from Philippine originals written in Spanish, English and other vernacular languages. Fortunately, some projects point the way towards a use of translation as a catalyst that can pull together the country's diverse genealogies and may help develop Filipino as a national language. Finally, difficulties in siting these domestic translations reveal an intriguing aspect of Manila's post-colonial condition.

Table of contents

Translating does not occur at a uniform rate throughout the world: some cultures translate a lot, others very little. Indeed, a pattern seems to exist whereby translations slide down the gradient of economic and symbolic [ p. 84 ]power: from rich markets to poorer ones, from hegemonic to marginal cultures. As Susan Bassnett remarked:

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