Translating a children's book for the first time
Thread poster: Estelle Demontrond-Box

Estelle Demontrond-Box  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 08:57
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Feb 1, 2010

Dear colleagues,

I have recently decided to spend more of my time working on literary translation and more specifically, I have decided to try and translate a children's books author I really enjoy (English to French translations).
Now, I am facing quite a few difficulties here, hence my call for help!

1) I have NEVER dealt with translating an author and therefore I am not familiar with the modus operandi: I was told to approach publishing houses directly (I assume French ones since the translation would be in French). THe author has been translated on a couple of occasions but the books I am working on have not yet been translated. Also, that it was better not to translate the whole book but only parts of it.
Now, I contacted two publishers and reception had NO IDEA what I was on about when asking for whom to contact to submit a translation project.
So, I guess my question is: how do you approach this, who do you contact and when?

2) Also, since this is children's stories, they are obviously short and I do not see how being paid per page could be financially sustainable. Has anybody got experience in this type of translation?

3) Now, I am based in England so would this be a problem (that is if I approach French publishers)?

4) Finally, any tip is welcome since I am obviously rather lost and feel out of my depth!

Thank you


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JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:57
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
No answers? Feb 18, 2010

Hi Estelle

I'm interested to see that nobody has answered your question (though I see that there have been plenty of views). I'm afraid I don't know the answers either.

I do wonder if everyone is looking at your question and thinking "I know how to do that but I'm not saying", "I know how to do that but I know there's no money in it so I'm not going to encourage the poor woman" or, like me, "I wonder how you do approach this?"

In the absence of any expert response, I suppose the thing to do is to try different approaches like you would with anything else - approach publishing houses who have produced similar things with some part translations and see what they say. Try researching the contact in advance using LinkedIn or something similiar. If they tell you you need a whole translation, then you need to go away and do that before you try again.

I have also heard (but I'm afraid I don't remember where from) that an alternative approach is to contact the original author (via their publisher?), because it's in the author's interests to have the book translated and they *may* be in a better position than you in terms of contacts.

Just some ideas - I expect this all seems hopelessly naive to someone who has done literary translation, and there's probably some much better way of accessing this market!

Jane


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:57
English to French
+ ...
ATLF in France, society of authors in UK Feb 18, 2010

For legal matters I suggest you have a look at the website of ATLF - www.atlf.org , Associaition des traducteurs littéraires de France.
Or contact the writers' association in UK
www.societyofauthors.org/subsidiary_groups/translators_association

Basically you have to sign a specific contract (contrat de droits d'auteurs).

To approach a publisher, ask for the name of the person in charge of foreign/children literature in the company. Don't say you have already translated the book ! Send a few pages (as a sample of your style) and a synopsis of the story, insisting on why this book could be of interest for the French market.

Usually the author is in no position to help you, since he transferred translation's rights to his publisher for some years.

Bonne chance !


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:57
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
No answers because... Feb 19, 2010

I think there are no answers because this question has been asked too many times and people are getting tired of answering it again and again. If the poster would search the forums, I am sure she would find many answers and suggestions.

janed wrote:

Hi Estelle

I'm interested to see that nobody has answered your question (though I see that there have been plenty of views). I'm afraid I don't know the answers either.

Jane



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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:57
Member (2006)
English to French
"Salon du livre" in Paris Feb 19, 2010

Estelle Demontrond-Box wrote:


So, I guess my question is: how do you approach this, who do you contact and when?



I suggest that you look at the Paris Book Fair's website and its list of exhibitors. Usually you get details on publishing houses (series editors, foreign right, etc).

Stéphanie


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Estelle Demontrond-Box  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 08:57
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your support Feb 19, 2010

[quote]Tina Vonhof wrote:

I think there are no answers because this question has been asked too many times and people are getting tired of answering it again and again. If the poster would search the forums, I am sure she would find many answers and suggestions.

[quote]janed wrote:

Dear Tina,

I HAVE looked through the forums and am looking for support not for a lecture.

Estelle


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