They’re Women & They Work: Why Does Italy’s La Repubblica Refuse to Name Translators? – An Open Letter to Sheryl Sandberg

Disrespectful, Discriminatory, and Illegal:
They’re Women & They Work!

Leggete in italiano: Una lettera aperta a Sheryl Sandberg.

In a simultaneous release with the American edition, the new and controversial book by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s CEO (Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead), will appear in Italy under the title Facciamoci Avanti

In the “Culture” section of the March 10, 2013 La Repubblica newspaper, Italy’s largest, a three-page spread appeared to promote Sandberg’s book and ideas. The article was signed Enrico Deaglio. 

Sandberg’s two Italian translators, however, Sara Crimi and Laura Tasso, were invisible. Their names appeared nowhere. 

no translatorThis is not a one-time oversight. La Repubblica repeatedly and categorically refuses to name translators in features and reviews of translated books. Over the years, repeated letters of complaint to La Repubblica’s editors have either been ignored or met with derision.

Last October, for example, No Peanuts! published a letter by Giuliana Lupi, translator of Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open. Her name, too, was omitted from features and other articles about the book that were published in La Repubblica.

Other Italian publications follow suit. For example, in a March 8th feature on Facciamoci Avanti in the Italian magazine Panorama, writer Antonella Sbriccoli also omitted the  translators’ names. (Panorama is owned by Mondadori, the publisher of Facciamoci Avanti in Italian.)

To give some perspective: La Repubblica is Italy’s largest daily newspaper. Panorama is Italy’s largest weekly news and information magazine. Translated tradebooks represent two-thirds of all books published in Italy, and women are the vast majority of English-to-Italian literary translators. And yet, as far as major magazines and newspapers are concerned, books magically appear in Italian without the involvement of a translator.

No Peanuts! for Translators recognizes that the refusal to name translators contributes to a climate in which language professionals – and Italian literary translators are now among the lowest paid in the West – can be paid like monkeys. Their work is so insignificant that there’s no reason we should even know their names.

More importantly, editorial policies that ignore translators are not solely a slight against cultural work generally and translators specifically; they have the clear effect of rendering the work of women invisible.

We think Sheryl Sandberg ought to care about that.

Ms. Sandberg, No Peanuts! respectfully asks you to do two things.

First, please contact La Repubblica to add your voice to a growing protest against that newspaper’s policy of ignoring translators. (Under Italian law, by the way, the failure of a news medium to name the translator of a work is actually illegal. Newspapers like La Repubblica ignore this law because they know no translator who intends to keep working will ever lodge a formal complaint.)

Second, whenever you are interviewed by journalists in the foreign press in future, would you ask for assurances that your translators will be named in any medium or venue in which your book is mentioned?

A commitment on your part will help turn this tide.

Sheryl Sandberg can be contacted on Twitter at @sherylsandberg, or write to her organization: partners@leanin.org, info@leanin.org, press@leanin.org. LinkedIn members with paid premium accounts can send her InMail directly.

Neither her personal Facebook profile nor the Leanin “community” page allows FB mail, but Facebook members can go to http://leanin.org/book, https://www.facebook.com/leanincommunity, or (in Italian) https://www.facebook.com/FacciamociAvanti and leave comments.

In Italian, the book’s page is here on twitter: @MiFaccioAvanti.

Write to Antonella Sbriccoli at antonella.sbriccoli.7@facebook.com.

Write to the writers and editors of La Repubblicae.deaglio@repubblica.it; ezio.mauro.3@facebook.com; ezio-mauro@facebook.com; v.zucconi@gmail.com; larepubblica@repubblica.it; rubrica.lettere@repubblica.it; Vittorio-Zucconi@facebook.com; vittorio.zucconi.3@facebook.com [Sample letter here/lettera modello qui]

La Repubblica on Twitter: @eziomauro, @redazionerep, @vittoriozucconi, @repubblicait, @rep_roma, @rep_milano

No Peanuts! is attempting to develop better contact information for Ms. Sandberg. If any NP! supporters can shed any light, we’d be grateful.

One Response to They’re Women & They Work: Why Does Italy’s La Repubblica Refuse to Name Translators? – An Open Letter to Sheryl Sandberg

  1. hermione says:

    Just because La Repubblica is one of the major newspapers doesn’t mean the journalists working there are any good. On the contrary, it means probably the opposite.
    As for the translators, they should just create a union and go on strike,, I don’t see any other solution.
    The Italian institutions are not interested in cultural issues and they haven’t been for some time. Berlusconi – culture: an oxymoron, if ever there was one (pun intended).

No Peanuts! doesn't pretend to be a representative democracy. We don't publish comments that denigrate our movement, attack our writers, or show disrespect for translators. All comments must be signed with first/last name and include a verifiable email address.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s