The General Map gives you a good general impression of the distribution of Jane Eyre translations through space and time. The ‘World Map’ below focuses on spatial distribution, and immediately gives you a more precise picture of that dimension of the phenomenon. You can easily spot outliers such as Izhevsk and Reykjavik. You can see the vast numbers of acts of translation concentrated in and around Europe; and the smaller but still very substantial number published in and around China, South Korea and Japan.   

As you zoom in, the picture becomes more complicated, and more interesting. You can discover the importance of huge publishing centres like Seoul, Tokyo, Tehran, Milan, Barcelona, Istanbul, Paris, Moscow and Amsterdam. You can trace the various places where translations into Arabic have been published, including Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Damascus and Aleppo. And you can identify isolated particular acts of translation such as the Armenian Chēyn Ēyr done by Marinos H Stampōlluean in K. Polis in 1908.

The map shows the areas covered by present-day nation states; they are coloured according to how many acts of translation have occurred in the area covered by each one. However, it is important to remember that the boundaries, names and natures of states have shifted over time: a translation published in 1950 in the area we are calling ‘Russia’, for instance, was in fact published in what was then the USSR. Kasia Szymanska gives another, earlier example: a Polish version by Emilia Dobrzańska (1880-81) was published in an area then ruled by Russia.

Ideally, we would like to create another map in which each translation appears in the world as it was when it was published, with the boundaries of states shifting to match the historical moment. However this is not possible for us to do technically (now, in our own moment); so, when you explore the map, please read it with historical awareness.

As you explore the map you will find that the numbers in the circles are not pegged to any country or geo-political region: they are simply an indicator of the number of translations in a given geometrical area. We like this aspect of the map because it gives us a fresh, alternative way of seeing the translations – in space, rather than necessarily embedded in the story of a nation-state or a language. For instance, we can see that the Arabic Jane Eyre by Munir Baalbaki published in Casablanca in 2005 is a long way from the locations of the other Arabic translations. At the same time, the numbers of translations published within the area of each modern-day nation-state will appear when you hover your cursor on top of it.

This World Map is also a good medium through which to explain our definition of ‘an act of translation’ – that is, not only the first publication of a new translation, but the re-publication of an existing translation in a new place. To give an example: the Baalbaki translation was first published in Beirut in 1985: why then are we showing it again in Casablanca twenty years later?

The reason is that translations are done, not only into languages, but also into places and cultures. Translators do most of the work of translation, of course; but the publication of a book in a new location, with new scope for circulation, is also a kind of translation, effected by publishers. It enables Jane Eyre to reach more readers. And often a translation is presented differently in its new place (see our Covers Maps for the importance of how the books look).

So we haven’t put a new point on the map for every re-print and re-edition in the same place (you can see that information, where we have been able to dig it out, in the pop-up window for each act of translation). But when a translation has been re-published in a new location it figures on this map as a new act of translation, each one with a separate point.

The Spanish translation by Juan G. de Luaces is an interesting case to explore in this regard. It was first published in Barcelona by Iberia publishers in 1943, and much reprinted. But it was then republished by different publishers in Buenos Aires in 1954, Madrid in 1967, and Bogota in 1985. Each time, Jane Eyre was brought to another place, and made available in a different way to new readers.

The translations done in the areas that now form Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan are another interesting instance that you might like to explore …

Text by Matthew Reynolds; map constructed by Giovanni Pietro Vitali