(In)visibility of the Polish translators of the Latin American fiction in the time of the boom
Looking back, the Ibero-American literature boom is regarded as one of the most important literary phenomena towards the end of the communist period in Poland. The presence of Latin American prose modified considerably Polish literary culture: it changed readers’ expectations with regard to literary texts in general, influenced the sensibility of writers making their debuts at the turn of the 1980s and led to revisions of opinions in literary criticism. The number of translations presented to the readers at the time testifies to a huge translation effort without which these phenomena would not have occurred. That is why it seems justified to ask to what extent this effort was noticed. Using L. Venuti’s expression, we could wonder whether Polish translators of Ibero-American literature remained invisible. The present attempt to answer this question is based on an analysis of strategies used by the most important publishers of Ibero-American prose in the boom period — i.e. Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy and Czytelnik as well as Wydawnictwo Literackie from Kraków — and of reviews published in the Polish press. The attitude of publishers and critics towards translators has influenced the way the translators are perceived by the readers — whether they become visible as intermediaries in intercultural exchange or whether they remain craftsmen hidden in the shadow. Few translators of Ibero-American literature have become public figures in Poland; the names of most of them have not been remembered by the readers. What factors, therefore, played a decisive role in some of them remaining in the collective memory while others disappeared from it?