​Translating for Children

​Translating for Children

We all have favourite books and stories from our childhood, but how easy is it to translate children’s literature from one language to another? This field of translation requires a different skill-set to translating adult literature, marketing, education or legal materials and it is a lot of fun to work on.There are a few ways in which we can ensure the translation of children’s literature is as accurate as possible.

We all have favourite books and stories from our childhood, but how easy is it to translate children’s literature from one language to another?

This field of translation requires a different skill-set to translating adult literature, marketing, education or legal materials and it is a lot of fun to work on.

There are a few ways in which we can ensure the translation of children’s literature is as accurate as possible.

Firstly, the translator should familiarise themselves with the story, reading it multiple times to fully understand the subject matter and appreciate the message the story is aiming to convey. Discussion with the original author regarding any areas of doubt or to gain general further background information is always beneficial when possible.

The text for translation may also relate to a film franchise and so it is important that the translator understands the context of the book and where it fits within the series. It may be that the translator watches the film(s) before they begin.

It also helps for the translator to have a background in fictional or creative writing. Much in the same way as we would use those with knowledge of the legal world to translate legal documentation, this should be the same with the translation of a fictional book. In children’s literature, the integrity of the translation is essential as the nuance and cultural implications of a story or the different voices present in it could lose their value. For this reason, a translator of children’s stories knows to avoid changing any ideas or for example character names, until discussed with the author. The translation may then run through several edits, as with writing an original story, before the final translation is decided upon.

Wessex Translations is experienced in translating children’s literature, and enjoys playing its part in bringing wonderful stories to children across many countries and languages. Contact us for more information, including how we can provide a complete translation and typesetting service to provide you with a print-ready book.

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