Archive for the ‘Resources for Translators’ Category

How Takami Nieda Came to Translate GO

By Louise Heal Kawai, Tokyo

In June 2019, teacher and literary translator Takami Nieda gave a fascinating talk to SCBWI Japan on her translation of Kazuki Kaneshiro’s Go: A Coming-of-Age Novel. She has now followed this up with a wonderfully informative essay for TranNet.

This account of how she got started on her literary translation career is essential reading for those who wonder how to get into the field. I was moved by how she championed Go, a book she loved, and fought to get her translation funded and published; and also by how she manages to combine her career in translation with one in teaching. Her passion for both shines through. A highly recommended read.

Opening of Takami Nieda’s August 2019 essay for TranNet. Click to download full text in PDF.

SCBWI Work In Progress Grants Open to Translators

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, SCBWI International and Japan Translator Coordinator

Big news! SCBWI has opened the Work-In-Progress grant program to translators. Starting in 2019, SCBWI member translators can follow the instructions here and here to submit to the WIP Translation category. Tell the world!

 

 

This new grant category is the result of efforts by International Regional Advisor Chairperson Kathleen Ahrens and by Board of Advisors Co-Chair Christopher Cheng, as well as SCBWI founders Stephen Mooser and Lin Oliver, in recognition of membership and participation in SCBWI by translators.

Deepest thanks to all!

Note: Translators should apply in the Translation category of the WIP. Submit a translation into English of a text that fits one of the following categories: Picture Book, Chapter Books/Early Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult Fiction, Nonfiction. As part of your cover page/synopsis, identify the text’s category. In addition, give its genre, original author and language, original publisher and publication date (if published), and rights status (if known). Please also describe why this text needs to be translated into English now. What is its relevance for the market?

Despite the word “completed” here, where it says to send in “The first 10 pages (US letter size) of your completed manuscript,” translators need not have translated the full book on spec. All a translator needs to, or can, submit is 10 pages.

Submissions must follow the guidelines linked above. Submissions will be accepted March 1 – March 31, Midnight PDT 2019.

Much gratitude, and happy translating!

 

SCBWI Japan Translation Day 2018 in Yokohama

By Emily Balistrieri, Tokyo

SCBWI Japan held Translation Day 2018 on October 20 in Yokohama. The fifth in this biennial series of single-day conferences for translators and translation-lovers alike had a fantastic line-up of speakers with both inspiring and practical wisdom to share.

Kicking off the day was a pre-recorded Skype interview with Takami Nieda whose translation of Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro was published by AmazonCrossing this past March. Go is a great example of a book that while not particularly marketed for teenagers in Japan fits perfectly in the YA category in English. Nieda discussed that as well as how nice it was to work with AmazonCrossing. People unsure about Amazon as a publisher might be interested to know that she found the editors friendly and the editing process rigorous.

For aspiring translators, Nieda recommended attending a short translation program, such as the British Centre for Literary Translation summer school or the Breadloaf Translators’ Conference, and pairing with another translator for peer editing. It also sounded like she would recommend having a day job because it allows you to pick and choose your projects more.

After the participants in the day got to know each other a bit and receive some SCBWI, SWET and submission news, the second session began. In another pre-recorded Skype interview, publisher and managing director of Pushkin Press Adam Freudenheim talked about publishing translations in the UK. People often observe a lack of demand for translations, but he said the key is finding your market. Pushkin’s (and Penguin Random House’s) series of six novellas translated from Japanese—including Ms. Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami, which was a centerpiece of this event—has been doing great. Sometimes finding your audience can be tricky, though: Freudenheim shared that the collection of Akiyuki Nosaka stories translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori originally published for children as The Whale that Fell in Love with a Submarine has been doing much better repackaged and expanded for adults as The Cake Tree in the Ruins.

In response to questions about the nuts and bolts of publishing translations, Freudenheim said that it’s easier to publish longer translations or otherwise take risks when there are subsidies or grants available, often from source countries’ governments. If translations can be co-funded by American and UK publishers, that also helps. He noted that it’s possible to be successful approaching Pushkin cold and emphasized sharing your passion for the book when pitching in addition to the whats and the whys.

Before lunch Louise Heal Kawai, translation of Ms. Ice Sandwich among many other books, spoke on the importance of networking, which is how she ended up on that project. She also shared how she localized Mieko Kawakami’s punny nickname for a girl whose fart smells like tea! (Let’s just say that’s what you get when the book’s protagonist is a boy in fourth grade.)

After a sunny lunch break, during which participants could practice her networking advice, Kawai led a translation workshop on an excerpt from the sequel to Ms. Ice Sandwich, Ichigo jamu kara ichigo o hikeba (which can be variously translated as If You Take the Strawberries Out of Strawberry Jam or Strawberry Jam Minus the Strawberries, among other ways) from the volume Akogare (Longing, or Longings or Yearning). Although there were plenty of challenges regarding the Japanese, including the name of a candy bar that was actually fictitious and finding the correct tense, the main exercise turned out to be writing in voice for a sixth-grade girl. Words like “adept,” “disgusted,” and “smitten” were frowned upon, while choices like “super popular,” “stuff like that,” and the exchange “No way,”-“Yes way,” got the nod.

One of the challenges in translating books from Japan, especially for young people, is packaging them for English-language book categories. Author and SCBWI Japan Co-Regional Advisor Holly Thompson led a session explaining some of the most common definitions of middle-grade and young-adult fiction, which can seem strict but do offer room for crossover success. Participants broke into groups for an exercise in classifying novels as MG or YA based on the opening pages. Drugs and sex references were the most obvious markers of YA besides older protagonists, while MG books seemed immediately to contain more family references and simpler vocabulary.

In the last session, Thompson was joined by Japanese Board on Books for Young People president (not to mention prolific translator) Yumiko Sakuma and SCBWI Japan Translator Coordinator Avery Fischer Udagawa in a discussion about Japanese book categories vs. US/UK book categories.

In Japan, the consideration is less about age-appropriate vocabulary than age-appropriate kanji. Then, even if a child is the protagonist, you can simply decide as a marketing strategy that it’s a book for adults if you want adults to read it, too, as happened in the case of Tonneru no Mori 1945 (The Tunnel of Trees 1945) by Eiko Kadono, winner of the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing. Sakuma also explained that to some extent there’s a belief that it’s better not to set ages for books because kids all read at their own pace. Given what people throughout the day noted appears to be a more fluid mindset about especially protagonist age in Japan, it can be a challenge to make English categories fit.

After this nine-to-five Saturday of kidlit translation immersion, surely even the most exhausted of the participants were feeling inspired to get going on some new projects.

 

 

Cathy Hirano Papers and More, at the Kerlan Collection

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Have you ever wondered where the drafts of a children’s book translation go after publication? Did you know that “typescript, corrected typescript, front matter, correspondence, page proofs and corrected page proofs” for three MG/YA novels translated from Japanese by Cathy Hirano, may be found in the Cathy Hirano Papers in the Kerlan Collection, University of Minnesota?

Lisa Von Drasek, Curator of the Kerlan Collection, spoke to SCBWI Japan on April 14, in an event described here by writer Mari Boyle and translator Andrew Wong. Take a look for more surprises!

All About the Freeman Book Awards

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Sponsored by the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), the Committee on Teaching about Asia (CTA) of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), and Asia for Educators (AFE) at Columbia University, the annual Freeman Book Awards “recognize quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of East and Southeast Asia.”

When her translation of the novel Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan from Chinese won the 2017 young adult/middle school literature award, Helen Wang wished to know more and asked David Jacobson, whose Are You An Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko received a 2016 honorable mention in the children’s literature category. Here is David’s response, which also appears at Chinese Books for Young Readers.

 

David: Thanks, Helen, for this opportunity. To be frank, I didn’t know much about the Freeman Book Awards either, when my publisher applied for consideration. That was in the winter of 2016, and we had just learned that a new Asia-related prize would be added to the slew of children’s book awards announced at the American Library Association’s annual mid-winter meeting. So, of course we applied…

In April, we received word that Are You an Echo?  had received an honorable mention, so I did a little sleuthing online to find out more about the awards. In so doing, I discovered that the University of Washington’s East Asia Resource Room was about to hold a National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) seminar using my book as one of its teaching materials. So I contacted them and offered to introduce the book and answer questions, if they desired. They did, and I ended up teaching a seminar to about 25 elementary and secondary school teachers.

The NCTA aims to make a “permanent place for East Asia in K-12 classrooms in the United States.” 

 

Which brings me to what I find so striking about my experience with the Freeman Award: the immediate connection it has helped me create with teachers who care about introducing Asia to their students. Besides the seminar last spring, NCTA also invited me to participate in two sessions at its upcoming summer institute (one about Echo and the other about the database of translated children’s books in Chinese, Japanese and Korean that we published here), and possibly an online webinar in the fall.

That, it turns out, is the essence of NCTA’s mission: to make a “permanent place for East Asia in K-12 classrooms in the United States,” according to Mary Hammond Bernson, who is both NCTA co-founder as well as the director of the East Asia Resource Center at UW, one of the seven national coordinating sites that make up NCTA.

Founded in 1988, NCTA’s principal vehicle for aiding teachers has been its teacher seminars; some 22,000 educators have participated to date. But a few years ago, it discovered that other organizations were recognizing and promoting international children’s books with prizes such as the South Asian Book Awards, but there were none for East and Southeast Asia.

So it started the Freeman Book Awards. Unlike other prizes such as the Scholastic Asian Book Award and the APALA Children’s Book Awards (which are limited to those who are Asian or of Asian descent), the Freeman awards do not consider Asian-American focused topics.

“We are simply hoping to promote literature, as opposed to text books, that will interest K-12 students,” says Roberta Martin, a senior researcher at Columbia and also a co-founder of NCTA (Columbia is another of the national coordinating sites).

The awards are named for the Freeman family, whose foundation (the Freeman Foundation) funds both NCTA and the book prizes. For a colorful history of the Freeman family’s 100-year-long association with Asia, see this interview of Houghton Freeman.

The Freeman Book Awards are offered in two categories, children’s and young adult literature. Submission guidelines and instructions can be found here. This year’s deadline for books published in 2018 is August 31.

Winners and Honorable Mentions 2017 

Children’s Literature

  • Winner: The Crane Girl by Curtis Manley, illustr. by Lin Wang (Shen’s Books) – Fiction, set in Japan
  • Honorable Mention: An’s Seed by Zaozao Wang, illustr. by Li Huang, tr. Helen Wang (Candied Plums; Bilingual edition) – Fiction, set in China
  • Honorable Mention: Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet by Sanae Ishida (Little Bigfoot) – Fiction, set in Japan
  • Honorable Mention: My First Book of Vietnamese Words by Tran Thi Minh Phuoc (Tuttle Publishing; Bilingual edition) – Fiction, set in Vietnam

Young Adult/Middle School Literature

  • Winner: Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan, illustr. by Meilo So, tr. Helen Wang (Candlewick Press) – Fiction, set in China
  • Honorable Mention: Hotaka: Through My Eyes – Natural Disaster Zones by John Heffernan, edited by Lyn White (Allen & Unwin) – Fiction, set in Japan
  • Honorable Mention: Ten: A Soccer Story by Shamini Flint (Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) – Fiction, set in Malaysia
  • Honorable Mention: The Emperor’s Riddle by Kat Zhang (Simon & Schuster; Aladdin) – Fiction, set in China

Young Adult/High School Literature

  • Winner: The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball by Doris Jones Yang (Spark Press) – Fiction, set in Japan and the U.S.
  • Honorable Mention: Want by Cindy Pon (Simon & Schuster; Simon Pulse) – Fiction, set in Taiwan
  • Honorable Mention: Tanabata Wishby Sara Fujimura (Wishes Enterprises, LLC) – Fiction, set in Japan

 Winners and Honorable Mentions 2016

Children’s Literature

  • Winner: My Night in the Planetarium by Innosanto Nagara (Seven Stories Press) – Non-Fiction, set in Indonesia
  • Honorable Mention: Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko by Misuzu Kaneko (Chin Music Press) – Non-Fiction, set in Japan

Young Adult/Middle School Literature

  • Winner: Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) – Fiction, set in Japan
  • Winner: The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky) – Fiction, set in Japan
  • Honorable Mention: Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth by Holly Thompson (Henry Holt BYR/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group) – Fiction, set in Japan

Young Adult/High School Literature

  • Winner: Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland (Amulet, an imprint of ABRAMS) – Non-Fiction, set in North Korea
  • Honorable Mention: Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson (Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group) – Non-Fiction, set in Japan

Creative Exchange in Tokyo on Dec. 17, 2017

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators presents

Creative Exchange and Year-End Bonenkai Lunch

Time: Sunday, December 17, 2017, 9:45 a.m.–11:45 a.m. (Creative Exchange), 12:00 – 1:30 pm (Lunch)

Place: Tokyo Women’s Plaza, Audiovisual Room B, 5-53-67 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (by the United Nations University; map) followed by Un Café, Tokyo Cosmos Aoyama Bldg. B2, 5-53-67 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (www.uncafe-tokyo.com)

Fee: 500 yen SCBWI members/800 yen nonmembers (Creative Exchange); order individually at Un Café (Lunch—1,000-1,500 yen)

RSVP:  Reservations required. Please state in your email: 1. Creative Exchange only, Lunch only (as space allows), or Both Creative Exchange and Lunch; 2. if you would like to reserve a critique slot and in what category. To reserve, email japan (at) scbwi.org by Tuesday, December 12, 2017Reserve early—space is limited!

This event will be in English for writers and translators; English and Japanese for illustrators.

Join us for an SCBWI Japan Creative Exchange followed by a casual lunch at Un Café restaurant (in the same building).

Sign up in advance to bring your children’s or YA work-in-progress to share with the group for constructive feedback at the Creative Exchange. SCBWI Japan Creative Exchanges are open to published and pre-published writers, illustrators, and translators of children’s and young adult literature. SCBWI members will have priority for the critique slots.

What to prepare for the Creative Exchange:

For MG and YA Fiction: Send up to 2,000 words of a story or chapter, per instructions received after making your reservation.

For Picture Books: Illustrators: bring 1–5 copies of a dummy or story board; Writers: send a picture book manuscript (recommended no more than 600 words) per instructions received after making your reservation.

For Translations: (Japanese to English picture book, MG or YA) Send up to 2,000 words of a story or chapter, per instructions received after making your reservation.

Attendees without manuscripts, dummies or storyboards are welcome to participate!

japan.scbwi.org

A New List of Children’s Books Translated from Chinese, Japanese, Korean

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

David Jacobson is known to many as the author of Are You An Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko, a picture book and anthology hailed for bringing a Japanese poet to life in English. Jacobson is now working to bring attention to more Asian writers and stories, by chairing a panel at the upcoming 12th IBBY Regional Conference in Seattle (October 20-22, 2017)—and by surveying children’s literature available in translation from Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

David Jacobson’s Survey of Translations of Children’s and YA Literature Translated from Chinese, Japanese and Korean – Jacobson – Survey of Translations (2017)

 

An exciting new resource, Jacobson’s list gives ideas for librarians and booksellers hoping to expand their offerings from Asia for children. Jacobson’s introduction to his list also lays out important information about the small percentage of English-language children’s books that are translations, and the skewed representation of the world’s languages within that small percentage.

Jacobson hopes to add to his list, so if you know of titles he might include, please comment on this post. The list covers picture books through YA.

Children’s Literature Translation FAQ and Model Contract

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Further to my post about the “3 Cs” for translators (copyright, compensation, credit), here are two places to learn more about arranging children’s book translations.

1) A Model Contract for Literary Translations | PEN American Center

This document gives clear guidelines and links to PEN’s comprehensive Translation FAQs. I highly recommend reading the Model Contract and Translation FAQs top to bottom if you are a translator or hope to hire a translator. This will save you much wondering and puzzlement!

PEN Model Contract

2) Translation: Some Frequently Asked Questions | SCBWI

I wrote this far-less-comprehensive FAQ (posted 2 September 2015) to address basic procedural questions about children’s book translation. The page links to recent articles and book lists.

SCBWI FAQ article

Thanks for reading!

3 Cs for Translators: Copyright, Compensation, Credit

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

As Translator Coordinator for SCBWI Japan and the first International Translator Coordinator for SCBWI, I often encounter questions about recognition and remuneration of translators.

Translators need to know if they are accepting terms that uphold the profession. Publishers need to know translators’ roles and needs.

All translators deserve certain terms and conditions, what I call the 3 Cs:

Copyright

  • Translator holds copyright to the translation
  • Author holds copyright to original text
Copyright information for The Devil's Whisper, authored by Miyuki Miyabe and translated by Deborah Iwabuchi. Published by Kodansha USA.

Copyright information for The Devil’s Whisper, authored by Miyuki Miyabe and translated by Deborah Stuhr Iwabuchi. Published by Kodansha USA.

Compensation

  • Adequate advance
  • Royalties

Credit

  • Name on book’s cover, title page
  • Profile in biodata
  • Name on publisher’s website and entries with online retailers

For examples of appropriate crediting of translators, please click here.

Translation of a children’s book is a creative act. The translator reads and interprets what an author has written—and not written—and renders it in a language that may look, sound, and act utterly unlike the original.

The translator considers cultural gaps, the background knowledge of new readers, and literary values of the target market. The translator must also write well—as well as established authors in the target language.

Far from converting a text, a translator renders or performs it much as a musician performs a piece. The composer has notated music in one form, and the musician brings it to life in another.

As a harpist deserves the 3 Cs for recording a sonata composed by someone else, a translator deserves the 3 Cs for translating a story authored by someone else. The translator’s task differs from the author’s, but it is creative and essential. In children’s publishing it is also a freelance not in-house task, so must be credited for the translator to build a career.

Increased awareness of the 3 Cs promises to help translators pursue their vocation, resulting in a great body of world literature for children. There’s another C!

Further information:

Skirting the Juniper Brambles: A Translator Narrowly Misses Getting Trapped in the Copyright Thicket
By Anne Milano Appel with legal commentary by Erach F. Screwvala, Esq. in the ATA Chronicle

Copyright “Rustling” in English-Language Translation: How Translators Keep (and Lose) Rights to Their Work—Data from Translations Published in 2014
By Wendell Rickets on ProvenWrite.com
Copyright “Rustling” in English-Language Translation: How Translators Keep (and Lose) Rights to Their Work—Data from Translations Published in 2014

An Author Asks: Why Should a Translator Get Royalties When the Story is Mine?
By Lisa Carter on Intralingo.com

Intellectual Property and Copyright: The Case of Translators
By Linda M. R. Esteves in Translation Journal

Short Stories Japan: Literary Fun for All Ages

Short Stories Japan logoBy Hamish Smith, Osaka

Short Stories Japan is a new website that is just what you might guess it to be—a place for short stories from Japan translated into English. Most of what gets posted is suitable for all ages. While the internal monologue of a twentieth century feminist might not be up everyone’s alley, there are plenty of ghosts, wandering bards, vampires, mischievous talking animals and wine-sipping demons to keep both young and grown-up readers entertained. We also have a growing number of “weird tales” that encompass fairy tales and other stories for children. It is still early days yet, but if the current trends continue, Short Stories Japan will be a site with something for everyone.

Short Stories Japan is also a place for people to discuss the soul-crushing process of literary translation. All translations are discussed openly on the message board, making the site not only entertaining for readers, but also useful for learners of Japanese and literary translation.

I created and operate this site in cooperation with Edward Lipsett of Kurodahan Press. All translators who post at Short Stories Japan retain the rights to their translations.