"Não Gosto de Plágio" by Denise Bottmann

Following up on my list of blogs dedicated to literary translation, here's the fourth installment to the RecBLOG section

Today I would like to recommend Denise Bottmann's "Não Gosto de Plágio" [I Don't Like Plagiarism]. Denise has been a literary translator since the 1980s and her blog specializes in providing a comprehensive list of book translations edited in Brazil in hopes to preserve the national memory when it comes to translators who have contributed to the literary diversity in the country. Additionally, and most notably, she points fingers at irresponsible Brazilian publishers that are trying to make money off the work provided by a translator without paying and/or giving them any credit for it.

I'll explain: Many publishers in Brazil are resorting to the "ghost translator" device and editing books that have been in the public domain while using previously published translations. Instead of reediting past work and giving credit to the original translator―or, better, hiring another translator to revisit a classic―these publishers are making up names for their "ghost translators" and capitalizing on someone else's work.

Denise has found out that some publishers have even credited these plagiarized translations to their own directors!

With an eye for details, her collaborators have helped her spot supposedly "new" translations that are 99% identical to old translations. The 1% difference is attributed to "updates," that is, a text editor has taken the time to sit in front of the text to correct spelling (Brazilian Portuguese has gone through some spelling reforms in the past few decades) and to change a word here and a word there to make these translations a little more "modern."

This plagiarism issue is fascinating―not to say revoltingly disgusting!―and her work has helped uncover this big editorial scam going on in Brazil. Hopefully many people, translators and readers alike, will get behind it to solve this problem, specially if they understand that some of these publishers are enjoying government incentives to fund their plagiarism projects.

For more information on Denise's career and perspectives, here is a great interview with iBahia's Blog de Literatura. Click here for a list of other blogs she contributes to, mostly about the books and authors she's been translating, but also the excellent "Tradução Lítero-Humanística" [Literary and Humanistic Translations], whose may target audience is translators who are beginners in this hard-to-break-into niche.