How to Find Translated Books


I love reading internationally, so finding good translated books is a fun challenge.

I’m always eager to visit local bookshops (like those in Tanzania and Zambia) whenever I travel. They often offer local and national authors I can’t find in the United States. But when you can’t travel, there are still ways to discover excellent books in in translation.

Library

I don’t say this enough–visit your local library! Librarians have a wealth of knowledge that they’re happy to share.

Events

Check out events, like the PEN World Voices Festival. Even if you’re not able to attend, it’s still an excellent source for finding new titles.

Awards

If you search for “translated book awards,” there are a ton of large and small awards that may cater to your specialty or taste. PEN offers several awards, including the PEN Translation Prize, and there’s also the Best Translated Book Award through Open Letter Books.

Pro tip: Use these awards to discover publishers that regularly put forth excellent translated books.

There’s Open Letter Books, based at the University of Rochester; their literary magazine, Three Percent, hosts the Best Translated Book Award mentioned above. But Open Letter itself publishes ten translated books a year.

Other regular shortlisters include Soft Skull, FSG, Archipelago Books, Melville House, New Directions, Graywolf Press, New York Review of Books, and several others.

Tell me: What’s your favorite book in translation? How do you find translated books?

3 replies »

  1. I work for an audiobook publisher and we did the audiobooks for a few books from New Vessel Press, all of which were translated. I enjoy three of those – my favourite of them is The Good Life Elsewhere written by Maldovan author Vladimir Lorchenkov. To fill the translated book craving, I’ve been working my way through as many NVP titles as I can find. I’ll definitely check out the resources you listed, too. Thanks for these!

    Liked by 1 person

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