Project Translating the World



Follow the project #translatingtheworld in Twitter and Facebook.

What is this project about?

Translating the World is a challenge aimed at translating a children’s book from every country in the world (from the list provided by the UNESCO) into Spanish or Catalan. This is a personal project inspired by another challenge created by the writer and editor Ann Morgan. Her TED talk called ‘My year reading a book from every country in the world’ was the motivation for starting a collection of translations that will represent the children’s literature from a global perspective.

Why a collection of children’s books and not adult ones?

Some people think that children’s books are easier to translate because they have fewer pages (and many illustrations) and the vocabulary is not as complex as the adult literature. However, translating for children requires creativity, imagination and plasticity in a way that is unique to this kind of literature. Translating for children is fun, challenging and exciting.

Why a book from every country?

The idea is to have a global vision of the children’s literature. As this is a personal project, my goal is to have a better understanding of the children’s books and I expect to learn many different things along the way. We tend to have a very narrow perspective of the world because we only read books that are close to our culture and we miss so many diversity in the form of traditions, characters, sceneries, or even writing style.

How will I manage to translate from languages like Dutch or Japanese?

I obviously can’t translate from all the languages in the world because that’s not even possible (and I’m not crazy enough to try). I can translate from English, French or Polish so I will choose books that have been translated already into one of these languages and they will be my sources. I will be translating into Spanish or -in the case of countries where Spanish is the native language- into Catalan, since I’m bilingual. Translators generally work with original books written in the source language but this project would not be possible without the use of translations as original texts.

How do I chose the books I am going to translate?

I am searching for books that are accessible, that have been published less than 10 years ago and that have around 100 pages (max.) or less. I try to make the choice as diverse as possible, in order to get a broader view of the children’s literature. Books with cultural references are my favourites. I am not too picky but as a guide I try to choose books that have something special to them.

Is there a time restriction?

Translating a book is way more complex than just reading it. Since I have a full-time job and I also want to post some articles in the blog and manage the social media related to this project, I haven’t given the project a deadline in order to enjoy it to the fullest.

Am I going to publish the translations?

Nope. All the original texts chosen for the project have copyright and I do not have permission to publish or share any of the translations that I will create. This is, again, a personal challenge and it is meant to stay that way. However, I will write in this blog about the original books and about any problems that will arise from the translating process, as well as any anecdotes related to the books.

How can you contribute to this project?

I really need people from all over the world to help me choose the books I will translate. Write a comment with your suggestion or contact me through the blog/Facebook page/Twitter account and let me know your ideas.