Women in Translation (WIT) Month, celebrated every August, is an opportunity to take stock of one's reading habits and focus on the women. I once made a survey of novels translated from Philippine languages. The list has since grown (see Annex below). This post enumerates the Filipina novelists who were already translated. So far, their number could only be counted by the fingers of two hands.
First, some general statistics:
- To date, a total of 23 novels were translated from Spanish or a Philippine language into English.
- Majority of the English translations (and retranslations)—86% (20 out of 23 novels)—appeared only in the last 10 years (2006-2016).
- All English translations save for the two José Rizal novels (91%) were published and distributed in the Philippines. Hence, they can only be accessed by a small readership. The novels of Rizal are available in Penguin Classics edition. A very limited number (3 or 4) are available in a digital format (Kindle or Kobo).
- Looking at the publication year in original language, 10 of the novels were published in original language between 1885 to 1947, eight of them appeared after the war (1960-1975), and only five (21%) were by contemporary novelists (1991-2013).
- Only four languages were represented: nine were translated from Tagalog/Filipino; six from Spanish; and four apiece from Cebuano and Hiligaynon.
- Of the 23 translations into English, nine (39%) are by women novelists.
- The 23 translated novels were written by 15 individuals, only four (26%) of whom were women.
- About 60% of the "primary and latest" translators were women.
- Of the nine novels by women, seven (77%) were translated by women.
- The novels by women were translated mainly from Tagalog (4), Cebuano (3), and Hiligaynon (2). None were translated from Spanish.
9 TRANSLATED NOVELS BY WOMEN WRITERS FROM THE PHILIPPINES
Magdalena G. Jalandoni (1891-1978)
1. Juanita Cruz, tr. Ofelia Ledesma Jalandoni (University of the Philippines Press, 2006).
2. The Lady in the Market, tr. Edward D. Defensor (U.P. College of Iloilo, 1976).
Jalandoni was a very prolific female writer in Hiligaynon language. She also wrote in other languages and was considered a proponent of feminism. I recently bought a copy of Juanita Cruz, translated by her niece. The Lady in the Market was out of print and only available in libraries.
Austregelina Espina-Moore (1919-2000)
3. Ang Inahan ni Mila (Mila's Mother), tr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu (National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2008).
4. Diin May Punoan sa Arbol (Where a Fire Tree Grows), tr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu (USC Press, 2010).
5. House of Cards, tr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu (National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2013).
Austregelina Espina-Moore (aka Lina Espina-Moore) wrote several novels in Cebuano and three novels in English: House of the Lotus; A Lion in the House; The Honey, the Locusts. I have already read the three translations above and will probably post about them in this blog. They are all available from the Cebuano Studies Center.
6. The Death of Summer, tr. Soledad S. Reyes (De La Salle University Publishing House, 2013)
7. What Now, Ricky?, tr. Soledad S. Reyes (Anvil Publishing, 2013)
8. The Cloak of God, tr. Soledad S. Reyes. (De La Salle University Publishing House, 2013)
Lingat's novelistic voice was one of the most profound during the Marcos dictatorship. What Now, Ricky? [review] recently won for its translator Soledad S. Reyes the triennial award A.L. Becker Southeast Asian Literature in Translation Prize (yes, there's such an award). Reyes also wrote a biography of the writer, Rosario de Guzman Lingat, 1924–1997: The Burden of Self and History. An article by Reyes about Lingat's fiction can be read here (pdf).
Of the three translated novels, the best is probably The Cloak of God [review], which I also read in its original Tagalog.
Luna Sicat Cleto (1967- )
9. Typewriter Altar, tr. Marne L. Kilates (University of the Philippines Press, 2016)
Luna Sicat Cleto is the only contemporary Filipina novelist translated to date. The original work, Makinilyang Altar, appeared back in 2002. She also produced a second novel, Mga Prodigal (The Prodigals). Translator Marne L. Kilates is a poet and a seasoned translator of poems, notably the multiple poetry collections of Rio Alma.
I started reading it though I'm not sure if I can finish it within the month, let alone post something about it. Based on the first chapter alone, I believe this is worth translating and reading.
Women in Translation Month is initiated by Biblibio.
ANNEX. PHILIPPINE NOVELS IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION (AS OF 21 AUGUST 2016).
NOTE: THE UPDATED LIST WILL BE UPLOADED HERE (EXCEL FILE).
|No.||Title||Author||Gender||Translator||Gender of Latest Primary Translator||Original Language||Pub. Year of Original||Pub. Year of Latest English Translation|
|1||The Golden Dagger||Antonio G. Sempio||Male||Soledad S. Reyes||Female||Tagalog||1933||2016|
|2||La Oveja de Nathán (Nathan's Sheep)||Antonio M. Abad||Male||Lourdes Castrillo Brillantes||Female||Spanish||1928||2013|
|3||Ang Inahan ni Mila (Mila's Mother)||Austregelina Espina-Moore||Female||Hope Sabanpan-Yu||Female||Cebuano||1969-1970||2008|
|4||Diin May Punoan sa Arbol (Where a Fire Tree Grows)||Austregelina Espina-Moore||Female||Hope Sabanpan-Yu||Female||Cebuano||1960||2010|
|5||House of Cards||Austregelina Espina-Moore||Female||Hope Sabanpan-Yu||Female||Cebuano||1973||2013|
|6||Fort: A Novel||Buenaventura S. Medina||Male||Buenaventura S. Medina||Male||Tagalog||1991||2006|
|7||Eight Muses of the Fall||Edgar Calabia Samar||Male||Mikael de Lara Co & Sasha Martinez||Male||Tagalog (Filipino)||2008||2013|
|8||El Folk-Lore Filipino [vol. 1 of 2]||Isabelo de los Reyes||Male||Salud C. Dizon & Maria Elinora Peralta-Imson||Female||Spanish||1889 [vol. 1]; |
1890 [vol. 2]
|9||Ang Diablo sa Filipinas ayon sa nasasabi sa mga casulatan luma sa Kastila||Isabelo de los Reyes||Male||Benedict Anderson, Carlos Sardiña Galache, & Ramon Guillermo||Male||Spanish||1886||2014|
|10||Noli Me Tangere||José Rizal||Male||various||Male||Spanish||1887||2006|
|11||El Filibusterismo||José Rizal||Male||various||Male||Spanish||1891||2011|
|12||Orosa-Nakpil, Malate||Louie Mar A. Gangcuangco||Male||Carla Mae Sioson & Louie Mar Gangcuangco||Female||Tagalog (Filipino)||2006||2009|
|13||Typewriter Altar||Luna Sicat Cleto||Female||Marne L. Kilates||Male||Tagalog (Filipino)||2002||2016|
|14||The Gold in Makiling||Macario Pineda||Male||Soledad S. Reyes||Female||Tagalog||1947||2012|
|15||The Lady in the Market||Magdalena G. Jalandoni||Female||Edward D. Defensor||Male||Hiligaynon||1935||1976|
|16||Juanita Cruz||Magdalena Gonzaga Jalandoni||Female||Ofelia Ledesma Jalandoni||Female||Hiligaynon||1966||2006|
|17||Nínay||Pedro Alejandro Paterno||Male||E. F. du Fresne||Male||Spanish||1885||1907|
|18||Margosatubig: The Story of Salagunting||Ramon L. Muzones||Male||Edward D. Defensor ; Ma. Cecilia Locsin-Nava  ||Female||Hiligaynon||1946||2012|
|19||Shri-Bishaya||Ramon Muzones||Male||Maria Cecilia Locsin-Nava||Female||Hiligaynon||1969||2016|
|20||What Now, Ricky?||Rosario de Guzman Lingat||Female||Soledad S. Reyes||Female||Tagalog||1971||2013|
|21||The Cloak of God||Rosario de Guzman Lingat||Female||Soledad S. Reyes||Female||Tagalog||1975||2013|
|22||The Death of Summer||Rosario de Guzman Lingat||Female||Soledad S. Reyes||Female||Tagalog||1969||2013|
|23||Driftwood on Dry Land||T. S. Sungkit Jr.||Male||T. S. Sungkit Jr.||Male||Cebuano||unpub.||2013|