Some of you will have noticed that this seemingly wilful ignoring of the role of translators is a part of the culture of the BBC. If you listen to a translated novel on the programme "Book at Bedtime", the translator is usually credited after, on average, one in five episodes - whereas both reader and adaptor will be mentioned after each episode. And it is the same with all too many programmes.
Nowadays no respectable newspaper or journal treats translators in such a cavalier manner. Why the BBC behaves in this way I do not know - but I think it is important that we do what we can to change things. I'll be very grateful to everyone who can write a brief letter of complaint. Here is an email address:
In the words of the Unesco Nairobi Recommendation on the Legal Protection of Translators (1976), “the protection of translators is indispensable in order to ensure translations of the quality needed from them to fulfil effectively their role in the service of culture and development.” In other words, if translators remain as undervalued as they generally are, it is very difficult for them to earn a living. And if it is difficult for them to earn a living, it means that much good literature either gets translated badly or does not get translated at all. Which is a loss for all of us.
All the best,
Robert Chandler, 42 Milson Road, London, W14 OLD