August is Women in Translation Month, and as a women-owned business that provides translation services, this initiative is very close to our hearts. Not familiar with what Women in Translation Month is and what it entails? We’re breaking down why this month exists, why it matters, and how you can participate this August and beyond.
Behind the Initiative
Women in Translation Month is a month-long celebration and movement that occurs every August and was founded by blogger Meytal Radzinski in 2014. This initiative aims to highlight how few translated literary works in the United States are written by women. Another purpose of dedicating a month to women in translation, is to track women writers’ representation in English-language magazines, newspapers, and journals.
In short, the goal of Women in Translation Month is to encourage and challenge readers to seek out translated texts that are written by women, with the hopes that this will increase the reach of female writers. According to Radzinski, female authors only write about a third of books that are newly translated into English. More specifically, the University of Rochester’s Three Percent blog found that in 2016, 33.8% of books translated into English were written by women, compared with 63.8% by men.
Where the Challenges Lie
Radzinski believes that the lack of translated books by female writers stems from a few different issues. She identified translation bias, a lack of reviews and publicity for books written by women, and cultural gender bias as potential sources of this problem. At the end of the day, no single party is to blame, but she believes that publishers play a large role in this problem. Female writers are not getting the attention or awards they deserve because men are dominating the literary space. This issue is compounded by the fact that books written by women are not being translated into English and made available to that valuable market.
How You Can Help
One of the best ways that the average consumer can help alleviate this gender issue, is by reading books written by women in their language or translated into other languages. Doing so is a great way to get inspiration, support female writers, and learn from them. After you read a book written or translated by a woman author or translator, don’t forget to share your latest find on social media with the hashtag, #readwomen. Reading texts written and translated by women is a great start, but encouraging your social network to do the same is a great next step.
It’s important to remember that making these efforts this August is a fantastic way to make a difference, but keeping up with the mission all year round will make the biggest impact.