|Man of words: Translator Xuan Hong (left) speaks at the book launch of the Vietnamese-language version of Inferno. — Photo dantri.com.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — Bach Viet Publishing House in HCM City has bought the rights to translate and publish American author Dan Brown's Inferno, which was recently released in bookstores under the Vietnamese title Hoa Nguc.
After local audiences responded enthusiastically to The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol by the same author, Bach Viet began final negotiations with its foreign counterparts to buy the copyright for the book.
Bach Viet is one of the country's 12 leading printing companies competing for the copyright.
Inferno is one of many foreign works that are being translated and published locally, largely due to greater demand among younger readers.
Last year, a series of three books under the title Fifty Shades by English writer E. L. James made waves in the market.
More than 35,000 copies of her first book Fifty Shades of Grey were sold and its publisher, Information Publishing House, released the subsequent sequels, shortly after to meet demand.
Several local publishers, citing an increasing number of requests from their readers, have announced they will translate and publish best-selling books like Inferno and Fifty Shades.
Interest in foreign works has been on the rise since 2004, when Viet Nam became a signatory to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
After Viet Nam signed the international agreement, local publishers began to find it easier to negotiate with foreign publishers.
Many State-owned and private publishers, such as Phuong Nam and Tre (Youth), have recently been negotiating with foreign partners to purchase the copyright for books by well-known authors from China, Japan, France and the US.
"Foreign books are big sellers," said Nguyen Quynh Tram, who works in a bookshop owned by state-owned Fahasa Company in HCM City's District 1.
"The Vietnamese, particularly urban youth, like to read translated versions of literary works and comic books," she added. By adopting a simple but engaging style, these writers have struck a chord among young readers in urban areas.
Tram said most buyers of Fahasa's products are students and children under 15, while customers at Phuong Nam and Nha Nam are lovers of more serious literature.
The increasing availability of foreign literary titles has encouraged young Vietnamese writers to get involved in translating. .
Books by young translators Cao Viet Dung, Nguyen Xuan Hong and Trang Ha have proved very popular in recent years.
Dung, 34, a graduate of Sorbonne University, made his name translating French books like Michel Houellebecq's Les Particules Elementaires. For his colleague Hong, working on Inferno, was his biggest challenge yet.
"I was under pressure while translating Inferno. But I loved it," said Hong, in his recent interview with the The Thao &Van Hoa (Sports & Culture) newspaper.
" I taught myself to translate," he added. — VNS