Posts Tagged ‘SWET’

Publishing with Translators in Mind: Bento Books

bb_logo_full_largeBy Wendy Uchimura, Yokohama

An in-depth interview with the three founders of Bento Books, a publishing company that focuses on Japanese contemporary fiction, is now up on the SWET website.

Bento Books: A Translator-Driven Publisher

Alexander O. Smith, Tony Gonzalez, and Joseph Reeder talk about how they set up their company, spurred by dissatisfaction at the issues translators face in the publishing process, as well as the company’s acitivites in the market and its vision.

Titles available from Bento Books include the Math Girls and Math Girls Talk About… series, Cage on the Sea, and Avatar Tuner, Vol. 1. Click here for an interview on this blog with Gonzalez, the translator of Math Girls.

SCBWI Japan Translation Day 2014 in Yokohama


By Deborah Iwabuchi, Maebashi, Japan

Thirty-one translators and future translators from throughout Japan (and beyond) gathered on October 18, 2014, at Yokohama International School for SCBWI Japan Translation Day 2014. This event was packed with sessions guaranteed to satisfy and inform Japanese-to-English translators of all interests and levels.

We participants gained valuable insight into many aspects of translation. Along with learning about theory, new trends, new equipment, resources available to us, and advice for doing a better job, we were encouraged by the need for translated children’s literature in the world as a whole, and in the English-language market in particular.


Cathy Hirano discusses the importance of and barriers to children’s literature in English translation.

Cathy Hirano, translator of the Moribito series by 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Nahoko Uehashi, began the day with a moving talk about why she translates for children and teens in a translation-resistant environment. Juliet Winters Carpenter followed with a talk about translating voice, based on her work translating A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, which won the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award Grand Prize for Fiction and the 2014 Lewis Galantière Award from the American Translators Association.

A Skype session followed with Daniel Hahn, program director of the British Centre for Literary Translation, about pathways to publication in the UK. Located in Karachi at the time, Hahn gamely used video, audio, and instant messaging to describe ways to approach British publishers.

Daniel Hahn appears via Skype from Pakistan.

Daniel Hahn appears via Skype from Pakistan.


Juliet Winters Carpenter discusses developing characters in her translation of A True Novel.

After lunch, Carpenter offered a workshop in which she critiqued translations of two excerpts from A True Novel. Fifteen translators had submitted versions of one or both excerpts in advance, and Carpenter considered each submission in turn. Later, Carpenter selected and edited several translations of one passage for the SCBWI Japan Translation Group blog:

One Passage, Seven Translations—Minae Mizumura

After Carpenter’s workshop, Alexander O. Smith, translator of the Batchelder Award-winning novel Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe, demonstrated how he uses voice recognition software to translate first drafts. Finally, Lynne E. Riggs and Avery Fischer Udagawa spoke about resources offered by the organizations SWET and SCBWI.

Lynne E. Riggs introduced SWET and the book Japan Style Sheet, a guide to publishing in English about Japan.  Avery Fischer Udagawa next described SCBWI and its resource The Book, focused on children’s publishing.


Alexander O. Smith (seated far left), among others, offered an impromptu seminar during lunch.

SCBWI Japan’s biennial Translation Days (see reports from 2010 and 2012 in PDF) are characterized by the intimacy of a small gathering. The YIS venue provides us with an ample, comfortable room and the equipment for presentations and workshops. Talks and breaks and lunch are all held in the same space, so there is a great deal of mingling. Friends enjoy time together, and we get to know people we usually only see on email lists and Facebook. At this year’s sessions, about half of the participants were “old hands,” and about half were younger translators and graduate students thinking about a career in the field.

Speakers at Translation Day are top professionals in our field. Some had traveled quite a distance to be there this year, and all had prepared well for their presentations. That, one might assume, would be sufficient, and yet each and every one of these talented people spent any free time they might have had answering questions and giving advice to anyone who cared to approach them. Most of us translators work in relative isolation, so we appreciate (more than words in any language can express) these rare opportunities for enrichment and networking.

Participants were delighted with this event, and non-SCBWI members commented on how impressed they were by its organization. The program was coordinated and emceed by SCBWI Japan Translator Coordinator Avery Fischer Udagawa. Avery, based in Bangkok, together with Regional Advisor Holly Thompson, traveling in Massachusetts, and Assistant Regional Advisor Mariko Nagai in Tokyo, miraculously planned and executed Translation Day. YIS teacher and SCBWI member Trevor Kew kindly and efficiently took care of logistics. Many thanks to all in charge, to all who spoke and to the many translators who attended!

Most of the group at the end of a productive day—translators from all over Japan and beyond.

Most of the group at the end of a productive day—translators from all over Japan and beyond.


SWET Interview with Juliet Winters Carpenter

Minae Mizumura, author of A True Novel, and translator Juliet Winters Carpenter

Minae Mizumura, author of A True Novel, and translator Juliet Winters Carpenter

By Wendy Uchimura, Yokohama

An in-depth interview with Juliet Winters Carpenter, talking about her experience translating Minae Mizumura’s award-winning book A True Novel, is now up on the SWET website.

“True Collaboration on A True Novel,” by Anna Zielinska-Elliott and Lynne E. Riggs

The English version of A True Novel has received many positive reviews and won the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award’s Grand Prize in Fiction. The story explores growing up in various Japan-related backgrounds and time periods, and it conveys the many forms that love can take. Young adults will find this an interesting read as it shows them how life can take many different paths.

Carpenter will be appearing at the SCBWI Japan Translation Day 2014 on Saturday, October 18, in Yokohama to talk about how to translate voice. She will also hold a translation workshop. It promises to be an exciting and productive event, so please come along. More details here.

IJET 2014: SCBWI Japan Translation Group Connects with SWET and Yamaneko Honyaku Club

IJET 25 TokyoThis summer brought IJET 2014: the 25th-anniversary conference of JAT (Japan Association of Translators), held for the first time ever in Tokyo. SCBWI Japan Translation Group was there! Thanks to SWET (the Society of Writers, Editors and Translators), SCBWI members displayed materials at a shared table and enjoyed a SWET-SCBWI networking lunch. Also displayed were materials of Yamaneko Honyaku Club, whose members translate children’s literature from English into Japanese.

SCBWI Japan Translation Group focuses on translation of children’s lit from Japanese into English, but we sometimes receive queries for translations into Japanese, and always refer them to Yamaneko Honyaku Club. We treasure our bond with SWET, a haven for all who write, edit, and translate in English about Japan. And we thank JAT for prompting this meet-up at IJET!

Top: SWET-SCBWI luncheon at IJET. Bottom: Wendy Uchimura and Sako Ikegami with George Bourdaniotis. Photos courtesy George Bourdaniotis and SWET.

Top: SWET-SCBWI lunch at IJET. Bottom: Wendy Uchimura and Sako Ikegami with George Bourdaniotis of SWET. Photos courtesy SWET.

SCBWI Japan Translation Group and Yamaneko Honyaku Club materials on display. Photo by Sako Ikegami.

SCBWI Japan Translation Group and Yamaneko Honyaku Club materials on display. Books are translations by SCBWI Japan members (J to E) and Yamaneko members (E to J). Photo by Sako Ikegami.

Naoko Awa in Translation

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

SCBWI Tokyo Translation Group member Misa Dikengil Lindberg reviews The Fox’s Window and Other Stories by Naoko Awa, translated by Toshiya Kamei (UNO Press, 2009), in SWET Newsletter No. 128. As Lindberg writes, it is exciting to see this collection of Awa’s children’s stories appear in English. Awa has been compared to Beatrix Potter and Hans Christian Andersen.