Tag Archives: Lobbying

Down the Rabbit Hole: Working (and Surviving) as a Translator of Children’s Books

In 2020 and 2021, bookfairs were cancelled due to the global corona pandemic. Many panels took place virtually such as this international roundtable about the working conditions of children’s literature translators.

The speakers – CEATL and FIT representatives, child lit translators from the United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, France, Germany and Italy ­– talked about what it means to translate books for children, reminding the audience that is as difficult as translating adult literature. They illustrated the working conditions in the different countries as well as the Ceatl Code of Good Practices or Hexalogue and the Guidelines for Fair Contracts.

The invitation to an international children’s bookfair like Bologna was an important opportunity to explain what child lit translators do, give them more visibility and, as FIT president Kevin Quirk said: “stand up for our rights.”

Ode to Translators of Children’s Literature

On this most momentous day
Let bells peal and flagpoles sway.
Let’s raise our gazes and sing the praises
Of literary translators in every way.

For you are the ones who make thousands of choices
While lending your readers your very clear voices
Reflecting the cadence and the tone
Of utterances soppy or dry to the bone.

Whether it’s text or speech, you do your best
Ask any one of us; it’s always a test
Of your envious strengths as you work your magic
On texts highly serious or even most tragic.

Whether it’s trashy non-fiction
Or literary greats,
You create understanding
You’re truly outstanding!

You deserve to be praised
You deserve to be proud!
You deserve a poem to be read out loud!

© Kevin Quirk, FIT President