In the NYT, Stephen Kinzer easily pulls some horrible quotes from major publishers about how Americans don't want to read books translated into English. From a marketing hack at Harcourt: "We [Americans] are into accessible information. We often look for the story, rather than the story within the story. We'd rather read lines than read between the lines." And from a hack at Hyperion: "The hard fact is that given the reality of the world, we [Americans] simply don't have to be concerned about Laos, but people there might well want to be or have to be concerned about America."
Granted, it's not literature, but if a webful of kids can translate Harry Potter in German in two weeks [read Kottke comments here], why can't the world of people who don't work for ridiculous publishers start bubbling these things to the top and translating them collaboratively? Just to see what sticks.
If I were Jeff Jarvis, I'd say this was a project for webloggers.