Anthea Bell (Translator)
Children’s literature is an increasingly important strand of the publishing industry, and the study of such texts is becoming a well-established field of academic research. However, there have been comparatively few studies of translations of children’s literature, especially in Anglo-American culture where English versions of children’s books originally written in other languages have never been particularly numerous. Nonetheless, prompted in part by the burgeoning interest in world literature and the rise of multiculturalism, there has been an increasing demand for foreign children’s books. This in turn has resulted in a larger number of translations and a significant growth in academic scholarship (Oittinen 2000; O’Sullivan 2005; van Coillie and Verschueren 2006; Frank 2007; Gonzáles Davies and Oittinen, 2008; Lathey, 2006 and 2010; Di Giovanni, Elefante, and Pederzoli 2010). Georges Mounin (1964) regarded children’s books as perhaps the most challenging of all for a translator because of their hybrid voice (e.g., narrative, poetic, dramatic), the constraints imposed by visual elements, the oral dimension (e.g., baby talk, non-verbal language), the double readership they address (the children and the adults that select them), and other factors. These are all important questions that have started to receive the critical attention they deserve.
Award-winning translator Anthea Bell will explore the translation of specific foreign children’s literary texts into English, providing opportunities for participants to consider the theoretical and practical demands that the task entails.