Posts Tagged ‘SCBWI Summer Conference’

SCBWI LA 2014: A Translator’s View

SCBWI Summer Conference 2014

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Last month I attended the 2014 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, thanks to a generous Tribute Fund Scholarship. I soaked up info from keynote speeches, panel discussions, break-out sessions, intensives, a manuscript critique, and socials, and talked up translation and the SCBWI Japan Translation Group.

Theme Building, Los Angeles International Airport

Theme Building, Los Angeles International Airport

Children’s Book People Everywhere!

This conference was a meet-up of 1,235 children’s book people at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Los Angeles.

The first person I met was my roommate, illustrator and fellow Tribute Fund recipient Marsha Riti of Austin, Texas. This piece of hers shows how excited I felt!

"Feisty Tricycle" by Marsha Riti

“Feisty Tricycle” by Marsha Riti

I soon also met up with friends whom I see too rarely in Asia, beginning with SCBWI Japan Regional Advisor Holly Thompson.

Avery Fischer Udagawa, SCBWI Japan Regional Advisor Holly Thompson, Writer Li-Hsin Tu, Illustrator Kazumi Wilds

Translator Avery Fischer Udagawa, writer Holly Thompson, writer Li-Hsin Tu, illustrator Kazumi Wilds

One of many delights of SCBWI LA was the International Social for members of all non-US regions worldwide. Special thanks to International Regional Advisor Chairperson Kathleen Ahrens of Hong Kong, Assistant International Advisor Angela Cerrito of Germany, and International Awards and Publications Coordinator Christopher Cheng of Australia. It was a bonus delight to connect with Kenneth Quek of Singapore, Director of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content!

Oodles of Opportunities

I met few translators in LA. 😦 On the upside, I found many chances to study craft and ask how to publish more translations. To quote my bit of SCBWI Japan’s blog coverage, I valued . . .

Chances to improve my work: I took part in a one-on-one manuscript critique with SCBWI President Stephen Mooser, who has authored more than 60 children’s books. He reviewed the first ten pages of my middle grade novel translation as writing in English, providing feedback on how I could improve my language. I also took a half-day intensive on novel revision with Linda Sue Park, a Newbery Award-winning author. From her I learned several ways to make a completed draft “strange” to myself, in order to spot where to streamline the language. Every segment of her intensive applied both to writing and to translation.

Opportunities to ask editors how they acquire translations: I attended break-out sessions by Alessandra Balzer, co-publisher of Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books; Mary Lee Donovan, editorial director at Candlewick Press; Dinah Stevenson, publisher of Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; and Julie Strauss-Gabel of Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group. Each of these editors fielded a question about how/whether she considers works in translation and how these might be submitted. So did Arthur Levine of Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., and Andrea Welch, senior editor at Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Andrea’s half-day intensive on picture books exposed me to numerous new ideas, and again applied 100 percent to translations.

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Discovery while jet lagged: Source text + bobby pin + laptop = setup to prevent over-editing a first draft

 

Time to network with members of the We Need Diverse Books Campaign: The We Need Diverse Books campaign took the US children’s lit world by storm in May, showing the need for main characters of color and of diverse cultural backgrounds (among many kinds of diversity). Since translations are a source of diversity, I was thrilled to talk with authors Lamar Giles and Meg Medina, leaders in the We Need Diverse Books initiative. I also hung out at a We Need Diverse Books lunchtime chat and heard a panel by Lamar Giles, Meg Medina, Linda Sue Park, authors Sharon Flake and Suzanne Morgan Williams, and agent Adriana Dominguez. Their discussion galvanized me to bring more books from overseas to young readers. Kids deserve to explore stories from their whole world!

I got mine!

I got my button!

US Children’s Publishing in Microcosm

SCBWI LA was my best glimpse to date of the US children’s publishing world. This was partly due to “state of the industry” keynotes that detailed trends in the US market—noting, for example, that picture books are aiming younger as chapter books take off, or that contemporary realistic YA fiction still has a place, or that literary MG novels are in demand. (Hooray!)

I heard these updates and more in presentations by Justin Chanda, vice president and publisher of three Simon & Schuster children’s imprints, and Deborah Halverson, editor of SCBWI’s detailed and ever-evolving Market Survey. While neither of these speakers mentioned translations, both spoke to the need for diverse books and provided big-picture info useful to translators.

I also got an overview by looking around in the socials and sessions at this large conference, and seeing how many US authors there are. This conference was larger than one small town I lived in as a child! I learned that lots of people are creating content for US readers in English. Their work for the highly competitive US market sets the standard for translations from overseas, as well.

Conference-goers in costume to celebrate Tomie dePaola's 80th birthday

Conference-goers in costume to celebrate Tomie dePaola’s 80th birthday

We love Strega Nona!

We love Strega Nona!

Finally, insofar as SCBWI itself represents US children’s publishing, I found reasons to take heart: SCBWI has established a new Translator category for members! In addition, an Advisory Board meeting after SCBWI LA included a discussion of initiatives to support translation. I see these as encouraging signs.

Meanwhile, stocked with info from LA plus the fuel of renewed and new friendships, I am ready to return to work!

P.S. When I got home, my daughters pored over picture books I had bought in LA and claimed illustrators’ postcards to use for crafts. It was a treat to watch creators’ efforts feed hours of play!

 

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Six-year-old’s expansion on postcard by Ryan Jackson

 

For even more info on the 2014 SCBWI Summer Conference, click here for the official  blog coverage and recaps.

Translators to Appear at 2014 Events in Singapore, Tokyo, LA, Yokohama

Members and friends of SCBWI Japan Translation Group will appear at several events in coming months. Here is a sampling!

AFCC logoAFCC in Singapore (30 May–4 June 2014)

Cathy Hirano, translator of acclaimed novels by Noriko Ogiwara, Kazumi Yumoto, and Nahoko Uehashi—winner of the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing—will appear at the 2014 Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), Singapore.

On 3 June, Cathy will present the session “Found in Translation: Asian Content for the World’s Children,” discussing why young readers need Asian stories and how translators can “channel” the voices of Asian authors. She will also join a roundtable discussion called “Go West: Translations for North American and European Markets,” focused on challenges that translators face when taking their work overseas. Cathy will join panelists Cheryl Robson, founder of Aurora Metro Books (UK), and Stacy Whitman, founder and publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books (US). Also attending AFCC at Singapore’s National Library will be Paul Quirk of SCBWI Japan Translation Group.

IJET 25 TokyoIJET in Tokyo (21–22 June 2014) 

Sako Ikegami, translator of works by Ryusuke Saito, and Alexander O. Smith, translator of Batchelder Award winner Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe, will present at IJET-25, the 25th annual conference of the Japan Association of Translators (JAT), in Tokyo.

At IJET, Sako will speak about both medical translation and “Teen Angst—Painful, Moving in Any Tongue,” a topic of keen interest to young adult (YA) translators. Sako’s session description alone deserves a look by wordsmiths in the category. Alex will speak about the paradoxically liberating restrictions on translation of video games, manga and other forms of entertainment. Also attending IJET will be Deborah Iwabuchi and Wendy Uchimura, among many others.

SCBWI Summer Conference, Los Angeles (31 July–4 August 2014)

Avery Fischer Udagawa will attend this year’s SCBWI Summer Conference in LA thanks to a Tribute Fund scholarship. She will trawl for info on how to publish more children’s translations from Japan in English; she also hopes to connect with translators from other languages. Inquiries are welcome via her website or SCBWI Japan.

SCBWI Summer Conference 2014

Translation Day in Yokohama  (18 October 2014)

This just in! SCBWI Japan plans its next Translation Day on 18 October 2014 in Yokohama. As in 2010 and 2012, Translation Day 2014 will include presentations, critiques, and conversation for published and pre-published translators of Japanese children’s literature into English. Featured speakers will include Juliet Winters Carpenter, a prolific translator of everything from folktales to poetry to novels—including A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, which just won the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award’s Grand Prize in Fiction. Is this retelling of Wuthering Heights set in postwar Japan a YA novel? Join us at Yokohama International School to find out!

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