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Borders Should be Broken



An interview with the Head of Amir Kabir Publication Institute about the achievements of Frankfurt Fair.

Amir Kabir Publication has took action to establish a relation and interaction with the foreign publishers, and had participated in the International Book Fair in Frankfurt after the establishment and inauguration of counseling office of international affairs in Amir Kabir Publication Institute. So, we have organized an interview with Ahmad Nethari, the Head of Amir Kabir Publication Institute, in order to review the results of this journey and evaluate the first experience of attendance in the International Book Fair.


Basically, Frankfurt Book Fair is remembered as the most important cultural movement of book area in the world. It is the first time that Amir Kabir Publication attends this arena. Now, the question is that what idea or necessity has caused Amir Kabir Publication to attend this arena?

Generally, there were some necessities based on which we planned to attend the international arena and especially Frankfurt Book Fair. First of all, the basis of attendance in the international arena is important and notable, because we should be able to enter the universal arena so that via this way, we can present the produced content in our country to the international markets.

Unfortunately, the problem is that we have not succeeded to supply our very rich, powerful and valid content (which exists inside of the country) to the world-wide level desirably, and this content is just limited to the Persian language. The reason of this matter is due to the lack of benefiting from or using the important instrument such as the international languages.

We should remove these limits and enter into the universal arena, and use the various common languages in the international arena so that we can introduce and present our works which are also desirable to the people of the world. In fact, there is a great and unimaginable demand for the conceptions which are on our hand in the universal level. The content that we have inside of the country is a treasure which we cannot imagine how much demand exists for it until it is not supplied to the universal level. 

Considering our background in the arena of culture and intellection at the present and past time, we should have more shares in the cultural changes and universal intellection arena; this affair requires the continuous and active attendance in the international arenas.

The other issue is that it is true that the speed of universal changes have been very high; however the universal findings must be investigated in a natural current and then be supplied to the internal arena. This matter is fulfilled when we can list and accomplish our purposes beyond the national borders. In other words, we should try to use the experiences of others desirably and begin to select and transfer these knowledge, experiences and perceptions to our addresses inside of the country in a critical manner. The translation of this content into Persian language is an action which causes the subject of thoughtful-cultural interaction to be posed, and the two sides could benefit from the experiences of each other in a suitable cultural ground.

Furthermore, Amir Kabir Publication has the necessary capability for the attendance in the international levels regarding his sixty-year-old experience in the Publication area and also the rich content which is on its hand. So, we have decided to enter into the circle of the cultural interactions via this way and have a little portion in the middle of all this. The idea existed in the mind of the Amir Kabir management from some years ago; but its opportunity had not been provided till recently; the opportunity of the participation in Frankfurt International Fair was prepared by the preparation of International counseling office of the Publication. Of course, we had participated in Italy Bologna Fair which is held on the children and youngsters domain regularly.


    You had an idea that you pointed to some part of it, I want to know how much of this idea was fulfilled in the journey to Frankfurt; and did this journey create a new horizon?

The fact is that the participation in Frankfurt Fair had an efficient experience concerning some of the matters in addition to the relative achievements concerning the cooperation with the other publishers that I already pointed to them. For example, some publishers of other countries did not have any word to say especially from the viewpoint of content in comparison with the Iranian publishers. However, they had spent time and worked on that little ability of themselves. The condition of these publisher's attendance showed that they had a codified plan for this kind of cultural events, formulated a suitable strategy and had expansive publicity; however, we did not do such work in spite of the fact that we have been excelled them highly from the viewpoint of content, which in my opinion, we should try to have continuous, active and efficient attendance in the universal culture arena in accordance with the present capabilities and capacities.


 How do you evaluate the achievements, or it is better to say the functional and objective experiences resulted from the Fair?

 There are some important matters which seem that the publishers, who think about the globalization, should always have in mind. For example, many foreign publishers strongly desire to cooperate with the Iranian publishers. Also, they take action to consult and discuss with them. However, there is a fundamental problem which is considered as a serious obstacle in the way of these co-operations and interactions; and that problem is the copyright condition in Iran. Of course, I believe that our serious attendance in this arena can solve most of the matters and problems especially with the portion that we can have meanwhile. The other important case which I believe in it constantly and we can speak about surely, is the mistaken conception that we have about holding the Book Fair. Inside of the country, the Book Fair means a big book shop which is active in a specific moment of time and the addressees can purchase books in addition to visiting. The activity of the publishers is mostly limited to the attendance in the fair, and having effective and active attendance. However, this condition is completely different outside of the country; because outside of the country the fair arena is the domain of competition and the fair is as the location of the presentation of the capacities and abilities which is not limited to a specific moment of time absolutely. In other words, the attendance in the fair requires the preparations and actions which should be continued throughout the year.


How do you define these interactions?

 In fact, I mean that these interactions include the whole action and relations that a publisher should have with the foreign publishers during the year. The establishment of relation and the related prosecutions are the elements by which we can obtain the considered results in the Fair. In fact, the international fair is an opportunity which provides the possibility of face to face relation and also the accomplishment of continuous interactions during the year.

Inside of the country a publisher tries to take part with all his/her works in the Tehran International Book Fair, and considers more selling as the key of his/her success, while it is not true outside the country. Sometimes, a reputable publisher presents only three of him/her works in a very expansive pavilion that of course, he/she has a specific strategy for marketing and advertising. Also, it is seen that sometimes a publisher does not show any book physically. In fact, he/she has used the fair atmosphere as a ground for the creation of the international interactions, conclusion of the agreement and recognition of his/her co-workers.


 Has Amir Kabir Publication been successful in this domain?

Unfortunately, when we took action to attend Frankfort Fair, a short time has been left in order to get the pavilion and provide the requisites of maximum attendance of Amir Kabir Publication Institute in the fair, so, we consulted with Islamic Culture and Communications Organization and attended the Fair jointly. On the other hand, since we had done the first serious experience for attendance in an international fair as feasible work, we didn't gain our purposes completely concerning this matter. Of course, a good preparation was provided in order to cooperate with some of the foreign publishers and preliminary discussions were done that it is supposed to pursue continually these interactions, and we have a codified plan concerning this matter now. So, we can be hopeful via such actions surely that these prosecutions and interactions will be effective in Frankfort future fair.


What is the necessity of this interaction and how shall be its condition?

There is a fundamental issue concerning the interactions in the domain of translation, production and publication of books which is considered less basically, that is, we should enter into the domain of translation as a professional. Generally, our mistake is that we want to do the translation in both forms inside the country. For example, we go to a translator and want him/her to translate a work into Persian language from another language or vice versa, we give a book to a translator and ask him/her to translate it from Persian language to another language.


What is the problem of this work?

In my opinion, this view towards translation has got some basic problems. Firstly, it does not seem that these kinds of translations are very technical and exact, because the translator, who is outside of the language's context, will not have the efficient and necessary command for translating the work. Also, I believe that the translation of a work should be done by a powerful and outstanding translator who has lived in the cultural situation of the target language; and has updated information and knowledge in that cultural context. Accordingly, foreign books should be given to the outstanding Iranian translators and Persian books to the outstanding foreign translators; of course, recognizing these translators can be done directly and also via the active publishers who are interested in Persian works and are active outside of the country.

The other issue concerning this matter is that when we want to translate one of our works into the other languages, we will be involved in the subjects other than technical and scientific issues related to translation that these matters will have influence on the quantity and quality of the work. So, it is better to entrust the production of the work to a foreign publisher.


What can be these matters for an Iranian publisher?

The important matter which involves a publisher in a translation of the work from Persian language to other languages and is beyond the content is the issue of the presentation of the work. When a publisher or even a translator purchases the right of a work's translation from us outside of the country, s/he try to find a way in order to present the book which is beyond our facilities and ability, because s/he has invested on that work. According to the difference which exists in the number of the books inside and outside of the country, the issue of marketing and supply of the works will completely be different, because the number of the book is different inside and outside of the country considerably, and an internal publisher is not able to print and supply a work in the volumes that the global market requires. So, it is better to give the translation to a foreign publisher whenever we want to translate a Persian work into other languages due to the technical issues of the translation and also the way of its presentation.

This prepares the opportunity of bilateral interaction and helps us to use the facilities of foreign publishers in order to print and present the works.

The other issue is the face and shape of the works. Unfortunately, we do not pay attention to the outward characteristics of the works published inside of the country. However, the issues such as cover, graphic, typography, size and related subjects to outward shape of the work are very import abroad and if we do not say that these matters are more important than the content of the work for the publisher and producer, we should accept that this matter is of equal importance to the content; but we consider these subjects less inside of the country and focus on the work's content more.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 12:42

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