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Light On Light Through


You'll hear a little of this and lot of that on Light On Light Through - my reviews of great television series, my interviews with authors and creative media people and their interviews of me, my political commentary, thoughts about my favorite cars and food and space travel, discussions of my music, and a few of my readings from my science fiction stories. These are usually audio and a few are video.  In the first years, starting in 2006, I put up a new episode at least once a month.  More recently, it's become more or less often than once a month, usually a lot less often.  But now, in the Fall of 2018, I'm getting more in the mood to podcast, and you can expect new episodes at least once a month.  - Paul Levinson

Found in Translation

Sep 15, 2007


Translations ... in some ways, they are the most exciting, profound thing that can happen to an author.   Your words translated into another language, read by people halfway or even completely around the world.

I've been pretty fortunate with translations of my books.  I was just looking them over.   Here are some stats and details [updated March 2017]:

. My work, at present, has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Farci (Persian), French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech, Polish, Romanian, Macedonian, Croatian, Russian, Turkish, and Arabic.
. Chinese holds the record, at this point, with translations of eight of my books (all nonfiction):  Mind at Large: Knowing in the Technological Age, The Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of the Information Revolution, Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium, Realspace: The Fate of Physical Presence in the Digital Age, On and Off PlanetCellphone: The Story of the World's Most Mobile Medium, and How It Has Transformed Everything, New New Media, The Essential Levinson, and Human Replay: A Theory of the Evolution of Media (my 1979 doctoral dissertation, published in Chinese translation in China in 2017)..  Second editions of New New Media and Digital McLuhan were published in Chinese translation in China in the summer of 2014.
.Polish holds second place, with five translations.  Three are of my nonfiction books, The Soft Edge, Cellphone, and New New Media, and two are of my science fiction novels, The Silk Code and The Consciousness Plague.
.Digital McLuhan has received the most translations - seven - Japanese, Chinese (twice - Taiwan and PRC), Korean, Croatian, Romanian, Macedonian (I love that - Alexander the Great!)
.The Soft Edge has received the second most translations - five - Chinese (twice), Portuguese, Polish, and Turkish.
.The most money I was ever paid as an advance for a translation was for the Japanese edition of Digital McLuhan.
.The most royalties I have received for any translation has been for the Korean translation of New New Media.
.Three of my science fiction novels have been translated: The Silk Code and The Consciousness Plague were translated into Polish.   A Romanian translation of The Plot to Save Socrates was published in 2014, Spanish and Portuguese translations in 2015, and an Italian translation in 2016.
.The French, Italian, and Czech translations have been of my science fiction short stories.  The Farci (Persian) translation was of a scholarly article about social media in 2010.  All the other translations have been of my books.
 

You might wonder why there is much more translation from Eastern Europe than Western Europe.  There are at least two reasons.  One is that more people read English in Western Europe than in Eastern Europe, so translations are less necessary.  Another is that the end of the Cold War has led to a remarkable intellectual renaissance in the former Soviet block.

Of course, speaking of reading English, I'm not fluent in most of these languages - I can't really read even a single word in a few - so I have no way of knowing if I'd be happy with the fidelity of the translations.

But I have confidence in the cosmos.

A few covers follow ... I'll add more as I get a chance to scan them, or find them on the Web...

The Consciousness Plague - Polish editionCellphone - Polish editionDigital McLuhan - Japanese edition
The Soft Edge - Portuguese editionThe Soft Edge - 1st Polish editionThe Silk Code - Polish editionDigital McLuhan - Romanian editionDigital McLuhan - Chinese editionNewNew New Media

Human Replay: Chinese edition

The Plot to Save Socrates photo 8f1b24a4-80af-464d-8093-a9f140889bc5_zpslv5t9ftr.jpg photo e2f41832-9edd-4cd6-bdc7-140a5471709f_zpsxasqnahf.jpg