Thanks for joining us on this lovely Friday afternoon! Today we’ll be speaking to Cathryn Bergman of Clevo books, originating from Cleveland, Ohio! Clevo Books will honor the hundreds of ethnic communities in Cleveland by bringing exceptional translated works to the fore, as well as good English language works, occasionally!
Alrighty, let’s dive in! So, what circumstances led to the creation of your company? Some publishing companies start out as passion projects—was this the case for yours? Tell us about yourself!
I was a freelance translator working on cookbooks and translation projects for other publishers. I got tired of waiting for interesting projects to come to me. It occurred to me that if someone else could publish a book, so could I. I did research and discovered it was within my power to do it, so Clevo Books was born.
Makes sense! A lot of things seem out of reach, but are more achievable when people look into them. I’m glad you took that closer look. Continuing along the theme of publishing, many publishing houses operate based on a set of core concepts or values that they would like to see propagate throughout the world—or at least the areas the publishers can reach! What would you say are the values that you search for when considering whether to publish a work?
At Clevo Books, we want people to “connect to the world through art and craft”. I think it means that we strive to connect people to the rest of the world through the art of translation and the craft of bookmaking. Or through the art of writing and the craft of food or fiber processing, or any cultural tradition or history that might form the content of the book. We have found that many Americans want to connect to their ancestors and to other cultures, so we look for titles we think will facilitate making those connections.
Lovely! Interesting point to make about a lot of Americans wanting to make that past connection. So obviously we are a blog about translation, and as such are very interested about your thoughts regarding it, especially since you specialize in it. Do you gravitate towards specific languages or genres? Linking back to the previous question, what about the languages or genres draws your attention?
As a principally one-woman operation, I am currently only buying German language titles that I can translate or edit, but I look forward to expanding our catalog to include other languages and even other genres. I love working on cookbooks personally, so those comprise our next two titles; but I also love reading literature, so I expect to publish novels eventually.
When you work with translators and authors in other languages, how do you go about contacting them? Do they find you? Do you have in house translators that you prefer to use? What’s the thought process behind the decision, whether it is artistic or pragmatic?
We haven’t worked with other translators yet, so we look forward to reading what other publishers are doing.
Ah, that makes sense! There have been a few people we’ve talked to in this feature that have had some good ideas for reaching out to other translators. Some of their answers may be worth checking out! What are the upcoming titles in your catalog that you are most excited about?
We’re not ready to announce titles just yet, but we have a cookbook featuring Jewish cuisine from around the world, a travel diary that features recipes from an Asian country, and a novel.
Thanks for the opportunity to share information about Clevo Books and for the work you do!
Our readers can check out Clevo Book’s website here for more info and contact information!