I'm translating a Russian text about a writer who only got famous in his home country AFTER hitting the big time abroad. The author of the text calls his success at home a kind of "reverse success" in two separate phrases with two different Russian words that translate roughly as "reverse" (obratny and vozvratny). These two words are all about things being reversed, back to front or reflected. Is "reverse success" fine here, or might you put a different English adjective there, or else abandon literal translation altogether and go for some more roundabout phrase? One of the instances is a headline, so it would have to be something fairly concise.
No, reverse success wouldn't work. The most likely interpretation of that phrase would be, more or less, failure.
An example from google books:
a reverse success mapping (failure mode map) technique was applied...
Here is another (source):
In the context here, however, these phenomena are indicators of the failure of technological transfer to Third World countries — even in this case, in a country which has officially adopted a pro-science- technology stance. Of course, in reverse, the policy is a success. The emigrant engineer (and doctor and scientist) keeps our own technological culture thriving. The growing number of co-authors with Indian surnames in science literature is indicative of this reverse success.
I don't know that there is an established word that you could use instead The following are kind of metaphorical and improvized, but I wonder what you and others might think of them:
retroceded success: to retrocede means 'to cede (territory) back again to a country'. If coutries can be conceptualized as 'giving' and 'taking away'success to someone, this suggest that the home country first withheld success, and now is giving it back.
retroflected success: this has association with retroflex ('bend over backwards') and retroreflection ('The reflection of light in such a way that it travels along the path it took prior to reflection, but in the reverse direction'). It (perhaps) suggests the success streaming in the direction back towards the home country.