1) Benjamin Moser discusses the importance of remedying the lack of enough translations into English in Found in Translation:
In college in the 1990s, I happened upon a Brazilian writer so sensational that I was sure she must be a household name. And she was — in Curitiba or Maranhão. Outside Brazil, it seemed, nobody knew of Clarice Lispector. […]
As I later learned, Lispector’s first name was enough to identify her to most Brazilians. But two decades after her death in 1977, she remained virtually untranslated; among English speakers, she was unknown outside some academic circles. One pleasure of discovering a great writer is the ability to share her work, and I was stymied. Lispector’s obscurity reinforced itself. People couldn’t care about someone they couldn’t read. And if they couldn’t read her, they couldn’t become interested.
It took me years to realize that this vicious cycle would not magically be broken. I started writing Lispector’s biography, a project that took five years. The result, “Why This World,” generated interest in a series of English translations of her novels. […]
It shouldn’t be assumed, as I long did, that all great foreign writers will eventually reach English-language bookstores. As publication in English becomes more important, even editors open to translations are overwhelmed. (And few read Norwegian.) For every Karl Ove Knausgaard or Elena Ferrante, who are translated almost as soon as they appear in Norwegian or Italian, there are many Lispectors.
2) And Andrew Roth reports on an attempt to do something about it in Columbia University Press to Publish New Translations of Russian Literature:
Russian and American academics, publishers and Russian government officials announced on Saturday that they would collaborate on an ambitious new series of Russian literature in translation to be published by Columbia University Press.
The idea, tentatively named the Russian Library, envisions dozens, and perhaps more than 100, new translations of Russian modern literature and classics, selected by the publisher with support from a committee of Russian and American academics. […]
Jennifer Crewe, the director of Columbia University Press, said that the book list should include a “smattering of classics” that needed new translations, as well as post-Soviet and current Russian literature. With time still needed to select the first series of titles and translate them, the soonest they would be published is 2017.
Needless to say, I welcome this project. (Thanks, Eric!)