Hands, Alligators (or Crocodiles?), and the Invisible: Theory and Practice in Translating Children's Literature

Posted by av128 at Mar 11, 2021 12:55 PM |
Dr B.J. Epstein, University of East Anglia


In this talk, I will explore both the theory and the practice of translating children’s literature, from my dual perspective as an academic and a translator. First, I will discuss some of theoretical issues involved in translating works for younger readers, including the significant challenge of defining the audience and the form, as well as intertextuality and illustrations. Then I will discuss some of the works I have translated and tell you about my process. The session will finish with us looking at some examples of English-language children’s literature and thinking through what approaches might be needed for translating them.


B.J. Epstein is a senior lecturer in literature and translation at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. She’s also a writer, editor, and Swedish-to-English translator. She is the author of Are the Kids All Right? The Representation of LGBTQ Characters in Children’s and Young Adult Lit; Translating Expressive Language in Children’s Literature; and Ready, Set, Teach!; the editor of two books on translation in the Nordic countries and co-editor of Queer in Translation; and the co-editor of a forthcoming collection entitled International LGBTQ+ Literature for Children and Young Adults. B.J. is currently writing a book about the portrayal of breastfeeding in literature. She is the translator or writer of many other essays, articles, short stories, and other texts. Her most recent translations are The Bird Within Me by Sara Lundberg and Mapping the Invisible by Ylva Hillström and Karin Eklund.

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