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What should be translated?

June 7, 2021

[Update 6/17/21: nominations are now closed. Thank you to everyone who suggested a text! The text chosen for translation will be announced on Monday, June 21st.]

Is there a short piece of nineteenth-century Russian prose that you wish were available in English? If so, nominate it here! One piece—probably a short story or novella, though nonfiction articles will be considered—will be chosen, translated, and released under a Creative Commons license so anyone can download it. You can share it with your friends who don’t read Russian or assign it to your students without making them buy another book.

Here are the rules:

Anyone can nominate works they would like to see translated. If you wish to nominate more than one work, please fill out a separate form for each.

For a work to be nominated,
• the original Russian text must be in the public domain,
• it must be primarily in prose, and
• there must not be an English translation of the entire work currently in print or online.

Preference will be given to works that
• are under 125 pages long,
• were written or published between 1800 and 1900,
• have never been translated into English, and/or
• are by writers underrepresented (for any reason) in the Russian-literature-in-English canon.

To nominate a work,
• identify where the Russian text is available,
• explain in one or two sentences why you think it is worth translating, and
• say whether you would like to be acknowledged by name if the work you propose is selected.

The finished product will look something like this or this. You’re welcome to share this post with anyone you think might want to nominate a work. Please get your nominations in by June 15th.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Veronica Muskheli permalink
    June 8, 2021 3:39 pm

    This is an interesting poll. But how is it decided who should translate the text once it is selected? How is the translator chosen?

    • June 8, 2021 5:13 pm

      I plan to translate the text myself. In the past I’ve translated things I was interested in and posted them online, and this time I thought I’d see if there were particular gaps people wanted filled, so the translation might find more readers.

      If there is enough interest in the project, I might repeat it in future years, and would be open to inviting other translators if 1) funding is found to pay them or 2) others are interested in volunteering their work. (Other translators can of course publish their translations of texts in the public domain independently, too. The more the merrier!)

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