Our narrative literature is an acceptable level in terms of international standards


Mohammad Reza Bayrami

My job requires reading lots of stories. Therefore, I’m familiar with literature of my country and the literature of all around the world as well through translation. No worries because every good work published in the world will be translated into Persian either immediately or at last with some years of delay. Therefore, I can compare them and conclude that our narrative literature is an acceptable level in terms of international standards especially in specific areas, particularly the literature of children and young adults while having a few writers. I think it’s a worldwide challenge and represents additional function of our writers. A western writer especially the one who writes in English has a wide horizon to present his/her work. More circulation and wide range of audiences in several countries as well as English language as an international one. These facilities are encouraging. They know that if they bother themselves and take many years to provide a good work it will be a great hit. But we don’t have such facilities. We shoot, sometimes we hit the target and sometimes we lose it. Even if an Iranian author offers a great work at least in his/her country, this time translation will be a barrier, for there are few translators from Persian to English. Therefore, everything depends upon personal pursuit of the publishers in translating or not translating our narrative literature. It means nothing is basic and systematic, so it prevents offering our perfect vision to the world, everything is selective and sometimes a relation. For example, sometimes our writers who are in academic centers outside the country and can have a representative role create some mentalities from domestic literature which is naturally one-way. These are definitely effective in choosing works and preventing the formation of perfect image of our literature. It seems that the world is curious about life and the events of Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq in particular, because we have always been in the hurricane of great incidences, willingly or unwillingly. Brilliant writers like Khaled Hosseini confirm this saying. But, if he wrote in Afghanistan instead of west, would he have such success? Prejudgments sometimes have significant role in translating or not translating our works. Maybe, a work is paid atention or not considering which publisher published it, which is unfortunately a prejudgment. I faced one of these prejudgments when my first novel was published in German fifteen years ago. The book was translated won two awards in Switzerland. I didn’t have any role in the process of translation and introduction of the book. A publisher randomly got the summary and gave it to a well-known translator. Seeing Persian publisher of the book, the translator surprisingly told the Swiss publisher,” do you want this publisher to translate your book”?!! This is not a good publisher! I speculated that he thought my publisher only publishes advertising and specific books. However, the Swiss publisher who was aware of the content had said:” we want to translate this work and if you don’t do that, we will give it to someone else. At that time the translator said:” let me have a look”, after that he did so and verified that it lacks literary value. Unfortunately, sometimes such incidences make translators unwilling to our literature.

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