Resources for Publishers

Finding readers and translators

We often hear that the biggest hurdles to translating books from other countries are:

  1. hearing about books from other countries
  2. finding a reader to assess a manuscript in another language
  3. finding a translator

One of the aims of Project World Kid Lit is to solve all these problems with the help of the World Kid Lit community. We especially aim to encourage more translation from languages and countries beyond Western Europe.

Here’s how:

1) hear about new CHILDREN’S books from around the world

You can use the wealth of material on the World Kid Lit website and blog to find new authors and illustrators, by searching by country of origin or language of origin. Our contributors regularly highlight books under the Translate This! rubric: this is a great way to find children’s and teen books that haven’t yet been translated into English but perhaps should be!

In most Translate This! posts, you’ll find a synopsis and in some cases a sample translation, as well as contact details for the rights holder and/or the translator of the sample. If you can’t find the info you need, email us at worldkidlit@gmail.com and we’ll try to help!

For picture books, there’s also dPictus where you can explore some of the world’s best illustrated texts. Online showcases such as dPictus 100 Outstanding Picturebooks or the Bologna Children’s Book Fair Illustrators’ Exhibition are a fabulous way to explore the work of picture book makers from around the world. 

2) COMMISSION a reader’s report

Perhaps you’re intrigued to know more about a book you’ve heard about, but it’s in a language you can’t read? Or you come across a gem at a book fair, but don’t know anyone to read it and assess it for you?

Please download and make use of the following list of readers who can assess children’s and YA books in a range of languages. You could commission these bilingual children’s book experts to provide a reader’s report, to help you assess titles you like the sound of but can’t read in-house. These readers may also be able to act as book scouts. (Please note, these readers are not necessarily translators into English.)

3) find a CHILDREN’S BOOK translator)

In the UK, you can find a literary translator via the Translators’ Association (a subgroup of the Society of Authors). The translator directory here. You can search by language or keyword e.g. children’s to find translators with specific experience.

In the USA, many literary translators are members of ALTA. The translator directory is here

In Australia, the organization representing literary translators is AALITRA.

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has translator members and you can search the directory here.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair translator directory

4) get funding for your project

There are many grants available to help publishers to cover the costs involved in translation. See Literature Across Frontiers for an extensive list. The amount covered varies from grant to grant, so please check specific details.

PEN Translates: For UK-based publishers. Any language combination. Funding up to 100% of translation costs. Ensuring translators are acknowledged & paid properly. Submissions are open twice a year, usually with the closing date of 31st May and 30th Nov. Books for young people are eligible. See English PEN website for more details.

There is also a wealth of information for publishers on the Book Trust In Other Words page

5) CELEBRATE BOOKS in translation FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS

The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative Translated YA Book Prize celebrates the best translated literature for young adults. Submissions currently closed. Check back later in the year.

The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation is awarded annually to the best eligible work of fiction, poetry, literary non-fiction, work of fiction for children or young adults, graphic novel, or play text, written by a woman, translated into English by a translator (or translators) of any gender, and published by a UK or Irish publisher. Submissions open NOW. Deadline 28th May 2021.