Just received in the post a copy of one of the textbooks for medical students I have edited, and I can’t read it. Elsevier wrote a cover letter with the book to inform us (co-editors and I) that the third edition of our successful textbook Psychology & Sociology Applied to Medicine: An Illustrated Text has been translated into Greek (see http://onlinebooks.parisianou.gr/index.php?page=shop.browse&category_id=20&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=17&vmcchk=1&Itemid=17). A long time ago I did one year of Ancient Greek in High School in the Netherlands so I can recognise some of the Greek letters, but that’s all. The original third edition (in English) was published in late 2010 (http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/hsc/news/2010/sep/contentonly_1_5404_5404.html). The Greek edition was apparently published late 2011. Interestingly, since the textbook’s contributors and editors have signed over the copyright of their work to Elsevier the negotiations have been without our knowledge between the publishers Elsevier and Parisianou (Athens). As we did not know this was happening we received a nice unexpected surprise.
What fascinates me is why a translation into Greek? The textbook sells well in the UK and Ireland and it appears to sell well in English-speaking countries like Australia and New Zealand and in North-West Continental Europe. Greece is some economic, political and social upheaval and the process of translation costs money and the market for a textbook in Greek is considerably smaller than for one in English. Perhaps Greek medical students find it more difficult to study in English than other Continental students?
Professor Edwin van Teijlingen
School of Health & Social Care