Catalan Language News, Ed. 17 - April 2007

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Apr 26 13:24:45 UTC 2007

  *Catalan Language News 17 - Abril 2007*        *WHO ARE WE?*
 The Catalan Language Observatory was set up in 2004 by cultural
organisations from all the Catalan-speaking lands, with the purpose of
monitoring the Catalan language rigorously and objectively.

 *The following organisations are members of the Observatory:*
· Acció Cultural del País Valencià <>
· Associació de Juristes per la llengua
· Casal Jaume I de Fraga <>
· Casal Jaume I de Perpinyà <>
· Centre Internacional Escarré per a les Minories Ètniques i les
· Centre Unesco de Catalunya <>
· Comitè de Seguiment de la Declaració Universal de Drets
· Consell de Col·legis d'Advocats de Catalunya <>
· Culturalnord <>
· Fundació Congrés de Cultura Catalana <>
· Institut Linguapax <>
· Obra Cultural Balear <>
· Observatori de la Universitat d'Alacant <>
· Omnium Cultural <>
· Omnium Cultural de l'Alguer <>
· Organització pel Multilingüisme <>
· Plataforma per la llengua <>

*With the support of:*
· Institute of Catalan
· Television of Catalonia <>
· IJLV <>- the Joan Lluís Vives Institute -, whose
members are the following universities:
- Abat Oliba CEU University<>
- Autonomous University of
- International University of Catalonia <>
- Jaume I University <>
- Miguel Hernández University <> (Elx)
- Open University of Catalonia <>
- Pompeu Fabra University <>
- Ramon Llull University <>
- Rovira i Virgili University <>
- Technical University of Catalonia <>
- Technical University of Valencia <>
- University of Alacant <>
- University of Andorra <>
- University of the Balearic Islands <>
- University of Barcelona <>
- University of Girona <>
- University of Lleida <>
- University of Perpinyà <>
- University of Valencia <>
- University of Vic <>

*With the support of:*


 Generalitat de Catalunya <> Government
of Catalonia
Govern de les Illes Balears <> Government
of the Balearic Islands
Generalitat Valenciana<http://http//>Government
of the Valencian Community
Parlament de Catalunya<,33596&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL>Parliament
of Catalonia
IEC <> Institute of Catalan Studies
institut Ramon Llull <>


There are two official languages in Catalonia: Catalan and Spanish, the
latter being the official language of Spain. The inhabitants of Catalonia
know both languages; this is especially true of the last 25 years during
which period Catalan has been the official language of schools, a fact that
has given almost all younger Catalans linguistic competence in both spoken
and written Catalan. Hence the two languages influence each other

Howewer, the fact that Spanish is the only official language throughout
Spain means that this language has a very strong influence in all areas. We
believe that the vast majority of influential media expressions in Catalonia
are in Spanish, and that Spain has no any policies to foster the
dissemination of Catalan language or culture in all social and cultural
areas either inside or outside Catalonia. This job is seen as the sole
responsibility of the government of Catalonia: the Generalitat de Catalunya.

It is not surprising, then, that many Catalan publications end up with a
corresponding Spanish translation. According to the Index Translationum, 91%
of all tranlations from Catalan are into Spanish. Another important factor
in understanding the situation of Catalan literature is the fact that the
publishing industry, both Catalan and Spanish, has traditionally been
concentrated in Catalonia, and especially in Barcelona. Barcelona is an
important publishing capital for books not only in Catalan but also for
those in Spanish.

The dependence on the Spanish language makes itself visible in literature
too. According to the TRAC archive, between 1998 and 2004 just over 200
literary works of all genres (prose, poetry, plays and essays) were
translated from Catalan into Spanish. Translations into Spanish represent
more literary works than in all other languages put together (some 170 books
in 24 different languages).

Only part of the Catalan literary legacy is translated into Spanish.
Translations of classic works are rather thin on the ground, while
contemporary classics represent 23% of translations into Spanish. This means
that the majority of translations into Spanish are of books by living
authors (77%).

It is worth highlighting that, in many cases, translations are of books by
authors of children´s literature, by fiction genre writers, or by
media-friendly or socially influential authors. On the other hand, some
authors contribute simultaneously to the literature of both languages, and
normally launch all their books in Catalan and Spanish. Moreover, around the
1990s, some publishing houses which normally publish in Catalan (Edicions
62-Empúries, Quaderns Crema) tried to expand into the Spanish market. This
is why they sometimes publish their own authors simultaneously in Catalan
and Spanish.

Extrat of "Catalan literature and translation in a Globalized world".
Published by Institut Ramon Llull


Just a few of the contemporary Catalan authors whose works are most often
translated into Spanish have an international presence. The two literary
systems function independently, and getting into the Spanish scene does not
necessarily guarantee an international projection.
The same is true of the reverse situation: a work may be translated into
foreign languages, but have little or no ressonance in the other languages
of Spain. For instance, of Jaume Cabré´s latest books only Senyoria has been
translated into Spanish (1993). Although L´ombra de l´eunuc has already been
translated into French, Hungarian, Romanian and Slovenian, there are still
no plans to publish it in Spanish. In addition, the third important novel he
has written in the last few years was first translated into Hungarian.

There is a relative lack of exchange between literature written in the
various official languages of Spain (Basque, Catalan, Galician as well as
Spanish). In contrast to what would seem logical, Spanish, a majority
language, does not work as a bridging language to access other literatures
via translation. Being translated into Spanish does not of course guarantee
that a Catalan book will be well received in the literary system of the
Spanish language, and still less would it serve to launch a literary work
onto the international scene.

When it comes to other languages within Spain, a considerable number of
Catalan works are translated into Galician and a constant exchange is
maintained; whereas translations into Basque are rare.

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