If we are able to reach thousands of children through our books in different languages, it is largely because of our translators and reviewers. After a pleasant get-together of translators in Pune and Delhi, we recently had a small get-together for our Bengaluru-based translators. Twelve translators representing our Kannada, Telugu and Tamil work were present, and many others who could not attend had responded to our request and sent their points for debate ahead of the meet. They all expressed their joy at meeting the people behind the email ids, and actually being in the office of the organization that they worked for with so much love.
We're quite chuffed to have an eclectic mix of translators – theatre persons, a head of an NGO working in the field of eye donation, a communications and documentation veteran, a government school teacher, an engineer, writers, an early childhood education worker, and so on. After a healthy discussion around translation and language, we also had some small games for them.
Language is a tricky thing. When you translate for children you need to be true to the author, and the child. Your language has to be simple yet attractive, accurate but playful. You have to show off the beauty of the language, but keep in mind brevity and word count. In fact, translators are our super heroes.
We're happy the discussion brought to the forefront many topics we discuss in-house – the use of different dialects within a language, conversational language versus text-book language, proper names and how to localise them, suitable use of punctuation and idioms and use of appropriate technology (like in our Storyweaver platform). We hope the discussions will continue, and we get more translators on board so that we can publish books in many more languages.