Soviet and American publishing officials are meeting here this week in another effort to explain to each other exactly what they do.

The two nations deal with authors and produce and market books as differently as they design and manufacture cars or grow and distribute foodstuffs.

There are even some distinctions of vocabulary as Boris Stukalin, chairman of the Soviet state committee on publishing, printing and book trade, made clear in replying to a questioner who suggested that there was censorship at last September's Moscow book fair.

"There was no censorship," Stukalin replied. "All books were exhibited except for those that cannot be published because of Soviet laws."

These laws do not censor, but prohibit the publican of pornography and works that encourage war or violence or offend the Soviet national dignity, he explained.

George Orwell's "Animal farm" and "1984" were among the books banned at the Moscow fair.

The 14 Soviet publishing officials are here as guests of the Association of American Publishers to explain Soviet publishing practices. A year ago, an American delegation gave similar presentations in Moscow.

Townsend Hoopes, president of the publishers association, said he expected the major benefits of this visit to come from the opportunities for private and informal contacts at receptions and luncheons, particularly on Thursday when the Soviets and number of U.S. executives adjourn to the Yale guest house in Mount Kisco, N.Y., as guests of the Yale University Press.

The Soviets speakers at the opening public session in the Baltimore Hotel today made several specific proposals for publishing ventures, including books relating to the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, books of Russian and American fairy tales and a literary exchange in which each nation would select about 50 volumes to introduce its readers.

Each Soviet speaker remarked that books by American authors available in the Soviet Union far outnumber Soviet authors' works published here.

In response to a question, Hoopes said, "American authors don't consider themselves in a contest" to publish greater numbers of titles. For the U.S. publisher, he said, the ultimate criteria is where there is a market for a Soviet book.

Stukalin said that an American representative had informed Soviet publishing officials that made than half the books published in the United States do not make money, and therefore economic reasons could not reasonably bar publication of more Soviet books here.

"Everything depends on the goodwill of both sides," Stukalin said.

Hoopes said the Soviets had little understanding of book marketing in the United States. U.S. publishers are presented with enormously long lists of Soviet books with little information on which to decide if any of them would be valuable to translate and publish.

Hoopes and American publishers are urging the Soviets to hire an American consultant who could advise them which of their books have a real chance for publication here and help them concentrate on selling here.