Gifted in translation: specialist publishers

Peirene Press Christmas Package 2010

Blood Sisters by Alessandro Perissinotto (Hersilia Press)Books are always a lovely Christmas present, all the more so if they’re carefully chosen and a wee bit out of the ordinary.

Hersilia Press and Peirene Press both specialise in books in translation.

Hersilia is “an independent publisher bringing you the best of Italian crime fiction” and Peirene “specializes in contemporary European literature in English translation”, only publishing though-provoking and well-designed books of less than 200 pages. Peirene also offers subscriptions, or you can buy their cotton “book-bag” for just five pounds.

So both are pretty niche publishers, but their books are such a lovely fit for anybody who love language(s) or crime novels, or is a translator, or all three. If you know them well enough to judge their taste in books, Peirene and Hersilia books could also make good gifts for clients — and act as a little reminder to them of translatorly skills.

For more ideas on books in translation, check out the Booktrust’s Translated Fiction website.

PS: It’s interesting that both Hersilia and Peirene have taken their names from ancient mythology. Hersilia was the wife of Romulus, the founder of Rome. And Peirene “takes its name from a Greek nymph who turned into a water spring. The poets of Corinth discovered the Peirene source and, for centuries, they drank this water to receive inspiration.The idea of metamorphosis fits the art of translation beautifully.”

PPS: More Christmas gift ideas coming later this week!

By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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  1. Lovely post, Marian. I’m so glad I’ve discovered your blog – plenty of food for thought on translating and “things Italian”!

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