Sunday, November 14, 2004

Translate Book, Go to Jail?

Some people think that the work of a translator is all about finding the right words and tone, but pretty much removed from everyday concerns. Not so. Here's a current example of how translation and translators are directly affected by politics and power issues: Translators, editors, or publishers in the U.S. who decide to publish certain works from certain countries on the trade embargo list may be fined and sent to jail. The absurdity of these regulations is mindboggling. They reflect an appalling authoritarianism.

Since late September, two lawsuits have been filed to challenge them, one by
Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the other by a number of publishing-related organizations. Read up on this messy issue on the PEN American Center's website. From the press release:

"The organizations are asking the court to strike down OFAC regulations that require publishers, writers, and translators to seek a license from the government to perform the routine
services necessary to publish foreign literature in the United States.
Representatives of the plaintiffs' organizations expressed frustration over a series of OFAC rulings that have created an atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion among publishers fearful of incurring prison sentences of up to 10 years or fines of up to $1,000,000."

Have your book purchases and library visits monitored under the Patriot Act, get fined if you decide to publish a Cuban, Iranian, or Sudanese author under the OFAC embargo--if this curtailing of access to information happened in another country, wouldn't it be called censorship?



Blogger nazia shah said...

really help full job, but i think the book translation is also very hard,
i find a site of the translation which is also very help full about translation,
Books Translation

1:04 AM  

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