Scott Esposito, who compiled "Translate This Book!" (review coming soon...) posted a couple of weeks ago a controversial topic on his blog. Entitled "American Fiction Sucks," his post is not exactly a put down to books being published in the United States, but a strong case for literary translation as a form of cultural diversity.
His main point was that, if he wanted to discover a new author, he would have a better time going for someone who has written books in another language and is now available in English through translation.
He then followed up with "On American Fiction Sucking" with further explanation to back his views:
Obviously part of that is the fact that translated literature is much, much more curated, but people tend to undercut the importance of this. Finding a compelling new voice from a foreign language is a damn hard thing. There’s the fact that you’re not surrounded by media and agents from that culture like you are in the U.S. There’s the language barrier. There’s the simple distance involved, the larger amount of time and resources necessary for correspondence, etc. There’s the need to find someone who can translate it well, who really understands the source text. And people also need to take into account that pretty much all of the translation presses are, almost universally, constantly on the brink of insolvency because they tend to publish things that are truly strange and challenging.
As mentioned here, in the story about two publishers who joined forces to bring more translation into the literary world, the main idea behind book translations is to give readers access to fresh content that isn't available in their current language, not because the domestic product sucks, but because life in different parts of the world has different perspectives to offer.