Translating Children's Literature  book cover
1st Edition

Translating Children's Literature

ISBN 9781138803763
Published August 2, 2015 by Routledge
172 Pages

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Book Description

Translating Children’s Literature is an exploration of the many developmental and linguistic issues related to writing and translating for children, an audience that spans a period of enormous intellectual progress and affective change from birth to adolescence. Lathey looks at a broad range of children’s literature, from prose fiction to poetry and picture books. Each of the seven chapters addresses a different aspect of translation for children, covering:


·         Narrative style and the challenges of translating the child’s voice;

·         The translation of cultural markers for young readers;

·         Translation of the modern picture book;

·         Dialogue, dialect and street language in modern children’s literature;

·         Read-aloud qualities, wordplay, onomatopoeia and the translation of children’s poetry;

·         Retranslation, retelling and reworking;

·         The role of translation for children within the global publishing and translation industries.


This is the first practical guide to address all aspects of translating children’s literature, featuring extracts from commentaries and interviews with published translators of children’s literature, as well as examples and case studies across a range of languages and texts. Each chapter includes a set of questions and exercises for students.  

Translating Children’s Literature is essential reading for professional translators, researchers and students on courses in translation studies or children’s literature. 

Table of Contents



  1. Narrative communication with the child reader
  2. Meeting the unknown
  3. Translating the visual
  4. Translating dialogue and dialect
  5. Translating sound
  6. Retellings, retranslation and relay translation
  7. Children’s publishing, globalization and the child reader


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Gillian Lathey is Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Roehampton, and is a co-founder and judge of the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation. Publications include The Translation of Children’s Literature: A Reader (Multilingual Matters, 2006) and The Role of Translators in Children’s Literature: Invisible Storytellers (Routledge, 2010).


“Clearly and accurately written, Lathey’s study addresses all relevant questions concerning the translation of children’s literature. In addition to classic scholars, it also cites experienced translators and supports every topic through many examples from different languages. Translating Children’s Literature stimulates readers’ reflections and proposes a modern and pragmatic vision of translation as a non-prescriptive, decision-making activity that takes place in a specific cultural and editorial context.” - Roberta Pederzoli, University of Bologna at Forlì, Italy

"Gillian Lathey’s delightfully readable Translating Children’s Literature gives the impression of being a tête à tête in which she shares much personal knowledge and expertise of translation over the years. This she supports with fascinating references to the work of long-standing colleagues, which she interposes alongside her own thinking… The impression it leaves is that of being invited into a secret world, full of fascinating insights into the translation process. Translating Children’s Literature is not only an important read for translators but also an informative source text for all those interested in children’s literature." - Penni Cotton, Libri & Liberi, Volume 5, Number 1, 2016

"La saveur du guide, court mais exhaustif, réside dans l’abondance de pépites qui émaillent lepropos fort bien construit de Lathey…l' ouvrage est une référence utile pour les différents publics intéressés par le sujet de la traduction de la littérature enfantine, et de l'étudiant au professeur en passant par le traducteur, tous pouvant y trouver matière à réflexion, ou de nouvelles pistes de récherche.

(The pleasure of this short but exhaustive guide lies in the abundance of nuggets that embellish Lathey’s beautifully constructed prose ... The work is a useful reference point for the different constituencies interested in the subject of the translation of children’s literature and all, from the student to the professor or translator, will find material for reflection and new avenues for research.)" - Audrey Canalès, Meta: Translators' Journal (August 2017), translation by Gillian Lathey

"Translating Children's Literature can, therefore, be seen as essential reading for anyone working on the translation of children's literature internationally and as an empowering text for further studies of translation of children's literature on national levels." - Darja Mazi-Leskovar, Univeristy of Maribor, Slovenia, Bookbird, Vol. 56, No. 1, 2018