Brazilian books sell in Cairo
Publication of the staff report on the outlook
“A kind of push to take risks”
As Publication prospects will remember our story on Editora Pallas in Brazil and Trinta Zero Nove in Mozambique, publishing houses in Brazil are expanding their visibility and sales in global book markets with international publishing rights sales supported by the Translation Grant of Brazilian publishers (PDF).
“Grants help us take risks,” says Ranya Bakr of the venerable Al Arabi Publishing and Distribution in Cairo, “a kind of push to get us to take risks with titles.”
And on the Brazilian side of the deal, Paula Cajaty, CEO of Editora Jaguatirica (Ocelot, the Brazilian brand) and Gato-Bravo (the Portuguese edition), says, “The grant is essential to get Brazilian titles published in many of the countries.”
Under the aegis of Brazilian publishers, a national program directed by Fernanda Dantas and well known to Publication prospects readers, especially for the professional program it organized at the end of June in association with the 26th biennial São Paulo International Book Fair.
Supported by the Export Support Partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil), the translation grant is designed to support translation into any other language from the originals Portuguese of books originating in Brazil.
Some have taken to calling the program a “translation grant,” and when you speak with the publishers who have accessed it, you begin to understand the collegial relationships that seem to accompany these grants and the interactions of these publishers. In their discussions with Publication prospectsfor example, Cajaty in Rio de Janeiro tells Bakr, “We are very happy to visit Cairo and your publishing house sometime in the future.”
Scholarships of all kinds were discussed in a session led by the Vice President of the International Association of Publishers (IPA) and Editorial Director of Girassol Brasil Edições, Karine Pansa, during the June Professional Program, laying the groundwork mutually supportive interview commentary you’ll find here today (August 12), as we explore a grant-supported Egyptian-Brazilian translation project.
Ranya Bakr: “Fill the void and create a wave”
Titles translated by Al Arabi with the translation grant in this case include:
The third book, Infamy, Bakr says, is still being prepared for release, while the first two have moved faster in the market.
Our objective today is therefore, O ensino do futebol, the main title was translated into Arabic from Brazilian Portuguese with the support of the translation grant.
The book itself is an interesting choice. Cajaty’s Jaguatirica is a house focused primarily on Brazilian fiction – poetry, short stories, and novels – and non-fiction, which Cajaty says is mostly in the humanities.
Asked about the kinds of challenges she sees in her work, Cajaty cites three issues, each familiar to publishers in other markets, but perhaps they could all be seen in her first:
- Struggling to grab readers’ attention
- Trying to monetize our books as margins shrink every year
- Try to maintain as many distributors as possible to avoid becoming too dependent on Amazon
In Cairo, Al Arabi is a 47-year-old publishing house where Ranya Bakr’s brother, Sherif, opened a translation project in 2010 under the name #differentbooks. And this initiative turns out to be the reason why many of our readers who work in the field of international rights know Al Arabi’s name: “We have books translated from 65 countries around the world”, says Ranya Bakr, “including Guatemala, Macedonia, Nepal and many more.
“This project presented to Arab readers has translated books from different and unique parts of the world. We were able to fill the void and create a wave in the market with contemporary fiction since most translated books in the Arabic market were either bestsellers or public domain titles.
Over the years, the house’s translation work has grown to include more non-fiction – having introduced narrative non-fiction to many clients, says Bakr – and today production is at about 70% fiction and 30% non-fiction, the latter being where teaching soccer Between,
Al Arabi is so highly regarded for its translation work that earlier this summer the house won the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Translation. “Giving this award crowned our success,” says Bakr, “because it is seen as an award for the publishing house as a whole and it honors our translation project,” which is in its 12th year.
“Winning such an award was very important, as we are the first independent publishing house to receive it,” she says. “The award made us believe that not only are we on the right track, but we are being rewarded for it.”
In terms of challenges, when Bakr talks about those she and her colleagues face in Cairo, you can hear echoes of those Cajaty just named in Rio, with readership and distribution more closely aligned.
The Arab market, says Bakr, “is considered huge in terms of population, but in terms of readership, it is still below its potential. Yet we continue to work hard, trying to reach all readers in the Arab world by attending most Arab book fairs and traveling throughout the year.
“We also work with e-books,” she says, “trying to keep the books available either in Arab countries or for Arabic speakers around the world, so that we don’t lose any chance of distributing the books.”
Paula Cajaty: Targeting “the English and American markets”
The translation grant for O ensino do futebol, the book supported by the scholarship between Jaguatirica and Al Arabi, was awarded in 2021, says Cajaty, and the Arabic edition came out quickly in Cairo.
Cajaty points out that the grant “gives international publishers the autonomy to choose and support their own translators.
Jaguatirica has not only expanded its translation work since its inception, but in 2015 opened Gato-Bravo, the company’s press in Portugal. “And now we’re trying to reach the US and UK markets,” she says. The company, a frequent presence at international book fairs, is proud to have an author in Massachusetts, one in New York and two in London, as bids for English expansion continue.
“With this international effort,” says Cajaty, “we already have books published in Mexico, Egypt, and we are also going to publish a Brazilian book in Malaysia. Jaguatirica has also become a member of a Chinese association, the Alliance of International Publishing Education (AIPE), and participates as a mentor in a program of the Publishers Circle with a publishing house in Morocco. ”
In Cairo, Bakr says the Brazilian scholarship program “helped us cover a percentage of the cost of translation, and we covered the rest of the editing, proofreading, production and paper costs.” The program provides a set amount for each pound, she says, “which is easier, in a way, for a lot of reasons,” but maybe not as convenient for a large book.
In terms of risk taking, she describes choosing a book to translate: “When we like a book, we start working on it, usually we do it with or without a grant. Sometimes, with certain books that have a lot of risk, we wait for the grant decision to start working on them.
Regarding the three books supported in translation by the Brazilian Publishers Grant, Bakr says: “Raphael Montes, the Brazilian author [his book is from Companhia das Letras], we believed in him and his style of writing and wanted to introduce his formula to Arab readers. We started with his first novel Dias Perfeitos, and now we are working on his fifth book. It has a lot of fans in the Arab world and it is considered one of the first steps in our new genre of translation, which is the detective story.
“Besides that,” she says, “the grant helped us find the right and efficient Portuguese translators, because it’s not that easy since the Portuguese language is not so popular in Egypt.
“So getting the grant helps us not only to choose and/or select the best translator, but also to invest in a new one.
“Furthermore,” she says, “and after the increase in the prices of paper and printing supplies due to the global economic situation, the grant helped us to maintain the same quality with suitable prices.”
This is the 141st awards report from Publishing Perspectives within 148 days of publication since the start of our 2022 operations on January 3.
Read more about Publishing Perspectives on the Brazilian and Portuguese-speaking market here, Global Publishing Industry Rights Trade, Brazilian Publishers Program, and Translation and Translators.
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