Sunday, August 30, 2020

WITMonth Day 30 | WIT worldwide | Brief thoughts

This isn't the post where I'll talk about what women in translation and WITMonth specifically look like worldwide. While I posted my stats and analysis for Israeli publications in the context of WIT last week (in Hebrew), it will likely take a few more weeks before I'm able to publish an English-language summary of the data. While it may seem somewhat boring to non-Israelis, the fact is that there's quite a bit buried within that data that has implications worldwide. And that's what I want to touch on today.

WITMonth has been celebrated across different countries since its very inception and there have been multilingual (non-translator!) readers from the beginning. Year after year, more readers have joined from various countries, some predominantly reading in non-English languages, others reading in their non-native English. The conversation, however, has remained in English. As I've pointed out before, there is English-language bias/centering embedded in the fact that this blog is in English. The @read_WIT Twitter account is in English. The Women in Translation project, as a whole, is carried out in English. Yet I don't want it to be exclusively English. How does that work?

I look at this movement and I do want to see more work being done in other countries, in other languages. I make a point of sharing #WITMonth tweets that are relevant to WIT even when in languages I don't speak (often utilizing friends or Google Translate to help me out), and it's actually one of my very favorite parts of WITMonth. WIT shouldn't be English-only. It can't. It may end up meaning different things in different countries and different languages, but the core, I think, remains in acknowledging how little literary attention is given to women writers from backgrounds beyond the "accepted" US/UK Anglosphere, just as it is in our English-language conversation. If for some regions/cultures/languages this means that English-language women writers from Africa are highlighted, I think I can understand it, even if it goes against the original intent of the project. If for some languages it means promoting works by women within the language and not actually "in translation", I definitely understand it (I myself have been doing this since the beginning). 

WIT is in its nature a worldwide effort, despite its current perception suggesting an English-only focus. I wish I spoke a dozen more languages so I could make this point to a wider, multilingual audience - WIT is for all of us! - but I am also willing to see you, o fellow international readers, spreading that message instead. There's so much more to discuss in terms of what the Women in Translation movement looks like outside of English and outside of the Anglosphere, whether in terms of publication stats across the world or in terms of different literary cultures. 

I intend to begin these conversations more loudly, in both English and Hebrew, and I would love to see other multilingual readers doing the same worldwide.

1 comment:

  1. This is a really good point and I wish you very well with this effort.


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