• Project
  • Help me translate the world

    Ok, not literally.

    As you all know, I have challenged myself to translate a children’s book from every country in the world. It’s a very ambitious (some people would call it “crazy”) project but I’m very excited about it and it’s working out perfectly… but I need some extra help. Finding a book from different countries is not an easy task.

  • Project
  • Pieni suuri tarina huomisesta – the adaptation of books

    One of the best experiences I get whilst doing the Translate the World Project is the little surprises that appear along the way. That’s the case of the Finnish book I am translating: the Polish version is a rhymed text but the original book wasn’t written in verse! Yet children’s books are rich in literary devices such as rhyme. The texts include songs, chants, alternations of prose and verse, popular sayings, etc. That is why the fact that the Polish translator decided to adapt the original book into a rhymed version is not so shocking. However, it is very interesting in terms of translation methods and techniques.

  • Project
  • The perks of being a translator

    One of the perks of being a translator is that it allows you to be a (better) reader. They say that translators are better at playing Trivial Pursuit since they need to know about many different subjects and knowledge areas. The thing about translating books is that you are bound to read many different stories, some of which you probably wouldn’t choose to read given the chance.

  • Children's Literature
  • On the marginalisation of children’s literature

    Yesterday, Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 by the Swedish Academy. It is the first time in history that a songwriter wins the award and this situation has spurred polemical reactions with some people supporting the decision and others criticizing the fact that it’s not a novelist or a poet who won the prize.

    Interestingly enough, The Nobel Prize in Literature has only been awarded once to a children’s book author since its origin. The laureate was Rudyard Kipling, famous for his novel Jungle Book. Even though he didn’t write exclusively for children, it is the closest to a children’s writer that wins the Nobel Prize.

  • Translation
  • On translation techniques or impossible translations

    One of my favourite things to check on the internet are the so-called “untranslatable words” (or expressions) from different languages, where you can find many different foreign sayings that don’t exist in the rest of the cultures, so they are accompanied by a description of their meaning. It’s nice to see how different countries use words for things that they experience daily that the rest of people do not experience in such a way that you need a word for it. You’re not just learning about languages, you are learning about perspectives too.

  • Project
  • Wat zou jij doen? – The translation of meaning

    Sometimes you find a book that you really need to buy. I remember taking this one and checking it, and putting it back in the bookstore’s shelf only to take it again, check once more, doubt, decide not to buy it, hesitate again and finally move towards the register very fast so that I can’t change my mind. How glad I am that I did buy the book. Wat zou jij doen? (in its Polish version, I co teraz?) has been a pleasure to read and translate, and now it’s standing in my personal library where I can check it any time I want.

  • Translation
  • On the importance of diverse books

    Ever since I have memory, I have loved books. I can’t remember which was the first book I read, or which was my favourite book when I was 6. But I do remember libraries. Like the one in my Primary school. It was colourful and warm and full of books. I remember spending many afternoons in the library of the village where I grew up. I am pretty sure I ended up reading all the books from the children’s section.

  • Translation
  • Happy International Translation Day!

    “You’ll never know exactly what a translator has done. He reads with maniacal attention to nuance and cultural implication, conscious of all the books that stand behind this one; then he sets out to rewrite this impossibly complex thing in his own language, re-elaborating everything, changing everything in order that it remain the same, or as close as possible to his experience of the original. In every sentence the most loyal respect must combine with the most resourceful inventiveness. Imagine shifting the Tower of Pisa into downtown Manhattan and convincing everyone it’s in the right place; that’s the scale of the task.”