It is the last day of September – and there is just enough time left to celebrate all our translated titles for National Translation Month!
Founded in 2013 by Loren Kleinman and Claudia Serea, National Translation Month seeks to honour all translators. Through their dedicated efforts we are able to overcome language barriers and “foster artistic unity across linguistic boundaries.” It also celebrates all literary works in translation.
Our translated titles: Chicken in the Kitchen and Phoenix Song
We may be a very young company, but already two of our books have been translated into foreign languages! Spanish publisher Planeta de Agostini picked up Nnedi Okorafor and Mehrdokht Amini’s Chicken in the Kitchen, a fun story about a young Nigerian girl named Anyaugo who wakes up one night and sees a giant chicken in her kitchen. Knowing that children in Spain and Argentina could now join Anyaugo on her curious adventure delighted us no end.
Equally exciting is the translation of Phoenix Song into Malay by Malaysian publishing house Oyez!Books. People often think our books are stories in translation – in fact, they are English-language originals. Phoenix Song is a story inspired by a traditional Malaysian folktale and reimagined for an English audience. We feel that the Malay translation is a wonderful homecoming for the Phoenix. In a way, it symbolises the powerful return of folklore to a culture where local tales have been overshadowed by Western stories.
Photo by Tutu Dutta
In the UK, the call to publish more translated fiction to better represent our country’s multicultural reality has become increasingly louder. At Lantana, we have already begun looking into translating foreign-language picture books that feel like sisters to our own in terms of their style and vision, inspired by fantastic organisations such as Outside In World, Literature Across Frontiers and Booktrust. But the literal translation of stories is only one facet to diversity. Our books are examples of stories that translate cultures – books that celebrate cultural realities that are different to our own and make them accessible to new readers. And long may we bring the best new writing from around the world – in translation or otherwise – to UK readers!
Happy National Translation Month everyone!
Katrina and Alice