Publishers’ Pledge on Chinese Translations
As the International Publishers Association prepares to announce the acceptance of China as its newest member during the Frankfurt Book Fair, twelve U.S. publishers have signed onto a PEN American Center pledge to monitor and address incidents of censorship in Chinese translations of books by foreign authors.
Signed by Archipelago Books, Beacon Press, Graywolf Press, Grove Atlantic, Hachette, Macmillan, New Directions Press, OR Books, Other Press, Penguin Random House, Verso Books, W.W. Norton, and Workman, as well as the Association of American Publishers International Freedom to Publish Committee, the pledge affirms a commitment to assess whether any book for which the publisher controls Chinese publication rights includes political or historical content known to be censored in China, and to work with authors and trusted Chinese editors to minimize excisions and changes in the translation. VIEW THE PLEDGE »
A May 2015 report by PEN American Center, Censorship and Conscience: Foreign Authors and the Challenge of Chinese Censorship, revealed that many Western authors, agents, and publishers have not paid close attention to what happens to their books when published in China, to the point where many are not even aware that they have been censored. READ THE REPORT »
In response, PEN compiled a new set of guidelines for foreign authors and agents considering publishing in China on how to negotiate proposed cuts or changes with Chinese publishers and how to vet the final translation to identify any unauthorized changes. PEN recommends that authors and publishers resist any changes that would fundamentally alter their books or distort references to major historical, political, and human rights concerns in China, and to use alternative channels to call attention to altered portions of their translated works when censorship does happen. DOWNLOAD THE GUIDELINES »
Press Release: With PEN American Center, U.S. Publishers Pledge to Address Chinese Censorship
The New York Times: China’s Publishers Court America as Its Authors Scorn Censorship
The Washington Post: What U.S. Publishers Owe China