August 9, 2014
Back after a few weeks of “creative idleness,” I am posting again about the current situation of the book sector in Spain. An analysis of this sector published in mid-July by a local newspaper is alarming. It points out a twenty-year economic setback and an increased drop in its production between 2012 and 2013. All data published about 2013 have negative (–) signs. Since the beginning of the current crisis, turnover accumulates a –40.6% drop and falls back to 1994 figures. According to these data, the number of titles edited has dropped to –3.5%; the millions of copies published, to –12.1%; the mean number of copies per title, to –9%; the number of copies sold, to –9.6%; and turnover (in millions of euros), to 11.7%. Turnover in the book trade has dropped in all its distribution channels. It has dropped in bookstores, to 14.1%; in bookstore chains, to –16.3%; in large supermarkets, to 15.6%; in newsstands, to 21.3%; by phone, to –28.3%; and in the Internet, to –14.9%. Literary work turnovers have fallen to –17.2% and pocketbooks, to –17.5% with 2,300 titles less.  The impact of this situation on translators can be felt with fewer translation contracts. Newcomers in the profession are having difficulties to find work.
 Data quoted from Winston Manrique Sabogal: «Saltan las alarmas en el sector editorial español al retroceder 20 años» (A Twenty-Year Economic Setback Causes Alarm in the Spanish Publishing Sector), El País daily, July 14 2014.
[Image: Theodor Galle: Impressio Librorum (Book Printing), circa 1633, engraving.]
June 28, 2014
The Spanish Treasury Department announced last Monday its planned tax reductions for 2015 and 2016.
Most freelance translators—who have faced 15% to 18%, to 21% income taxes in recent years—will pay 20% beginning January 2015. That is, this tax reform cuts down tax deductions only one point.
Seen from a practical point of view, one fifth of our income will continue to be destined to pay taxes.
[Image: Paul Vos, The Tax Collector, 1543, oil on canvas.]
June 21, 2014
Madrid’s Book Fair closed last Sunday with a 5% increase in sales compared with 2013. Sales had grown that year 9.3% compared with 2012. This 5% increase was a slight relief in a situation that, in times of economic crisis, has caused a 40% decrease in book sales since 2008.
The publishing sector barely overcomes its own crisis and many observers take pains to publish data and statistics, and to analyze its causes.
Included in those statistics, I have found very revealing data that were recently published in the Spanish press informing how local “sales revenues are distributed:” 10% for authors, 25–35% for publishers, 30–35% for distributors and 30–35% for booksellers. 
And, what about translators? It seems that they do not even count. 
 Winston Manrique, Sciammarella y Rodrigo Silva: “Los eslabones de la creación y la producción de un libro,” [Contributors in the creation and production of books], El País, online edition, June 11 2014.
 Cf. “Madrid’s 2014 Book Fair,” May 31 2014; “Madrid’s 2014 Book Fair (2),” June 7 2014; “Madrid’s 2014 Book Fair (3),” June 14 2014; and “Translating Backstage,” June 23 2012.
June 14, 2014
Included in the little that there has been in the Fair related to translation, there was a round table about translating the Basque County’s language (Euskera) into Spanish with translators Josu Zabaleta (Spain’s 2013 National Translation Award) and Karlos Cid as participants.
In a separate presentation, translator and editor Cristina Núñez Pereira spoke about children’s literature. 
 Cf. “Madrid’s 2014 Book Fair,” May 31 2014, “Madrid’s 2014 Book Fair (2),” June 7 2014, and “Translating Backstage,” June 23 2012.
June 7, 2014
As usual—and so far—, the presence of translators in this fair has been scarce.  I have only found the recent participation of Antonio Rivero Taravillo (1963) in the presentation of his Spanish translation of the biography Teresa de Ávila, originally published in English, in 1951, by Irish writer Kate O’Brien (1897–1974). 
It is convenient to remember that 15.7% of books published in Spain in 2013 were translations.
 Cf. “Madrid’s 2014 Book Fair,” May 31 2014 and “Translating Backstage,” June 23 2012.
 Kate O’Brien: Teresa de Ávila (trans. Antonio Rivero Taravillo), Vaso Roto Ediciones, 2014.]
May 31, 2014
Yesterday, Madrid opened its 73rd yearly book fair. It will last until June 15 and it will host 508 exhibitors, including 218 Madrid publishers and 134 from other cities, plus 25 official agencies, 10 book distributors, 61 bookstores and other 60 specialized booksellers.
The Madrid Book Fair was originally organized in 1933 and is a meeting place for authors, publishers, distributors and booksellers with their readers in El Retiro Park.
A special emphasis will be put this year on books about World War I. 
 Cf. “Translating Backstage,” June 23 2012 and “Madrid’s 2013 Book Fair,” June 29 2013.
[Image: Santiago Miranda’s poster for Madrid’s 73rd Book Fair.]
May 24, 2014
A few weeks ago, after Gabriel García Márquez’s recent death, I posted about Gregory Rabassa, his translator. 
Today, I would like to post about Edith Grossman, his other translator. She has also translated the English versions of literary works of other important writers of Hispanic literature. Among them, we may include—besides García Márquez—important authors such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Mayra Montero, Ariel Dorfman, Augusto Monterroso, Jaime Manrique, Álvaro Mutis, classic poets of el Siglo de Oro (Spanish literature’s golden age), and Góngora.
But, perhaps, her most complex translation has been Cervantes’ Don Quixote. A simple search in the critical reviews of this work show positive results for a professional that has always been loyal to the texts she has translated.
It is a fine example of a good translation that I strongly recommend to my English-speaking younger colleagues.
 Cf. “Gabriel García Márquez’s Translator”, April 26 2014.
[Book cover: Miguel de Cervantes: Don Quixote, HarperCollins, 2003.]
May 17, 2014
For some time, I have not published about dictionaries and manuals of style in this blog. Today, I would like to mention a medical dictionary called Diccionario de términos médicos [A Dictionary of Medical Terms] that has been published by the Real Academia Nacional de Medicina, the Spanish royal national academy of medicine.
This dictionary’s 1,800 pages include around 52,000 entries with crossed references and their English equivalents; about 30,000 synonyms; additional information on approximately 7,000 terms; around 27,000 linguistic and specialized observations; plus comments on approximately 5,200 systematized nomenclatures; and acronyms, symbols and abbreviations used in medicine. It also has an electronic version.
It is particularly recommended for biomedical and health science translators.
[Book cover: Real Academia Nacional de Medicina: Diccionario de términos médicos, Editorial Médica Panamericana, 2011.]
May 10, 2014
After eleven consecutive academic years, last April 30th I gave my first lecture about my professional experience in biomedical translation for this 2013–2014 period at the Postgraduate Biomedical and Health Sciences Translation Course. This course is part of the postgraduate program prepared by Pompeu Fabra University’s IDEC in its Translation and Interpretation Faculty in Barcelona.
Since the 2002–2003 academic year, IDEC has been making efforts to prepare translators in different scientific fields and, more recently, in biomedicine and other related health science professions.
[Image: Translation and Interpretation Faculty, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona.
May 3, 2014
Sometimes, we find when we are not searching. Some other times we search and never find. Today, I would like to post about the first case. I have recently discovered that an online second-hand bookstore is selling one of my editions in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was a surprise, considering that a book edited in Havana has traveled so far, down to the extreme south of the continent.
This edition, published in 1991, is a collection of journalistic pieces about the Arab-Israeli crisis in the Middle Eastern region. It was included of the catalogue of Gente Nueva Publishers.
The selected pieces covered this issue from the origins of the conflict to the first Palestinian Intifada.
[Book cover: Fernando Nápoles Tapia (edited, foreword and notes by), La crisis del Medio Oriente [The Middle Eastern Crisis], Editorial Gente Nueva, 1991.]