Finding readers and translators
We often hear that the biggest hurdles to translating books into English from other languages are:
- hearing about books from other countries
- finding a reader or book scout to assess a manuscript in another language
- 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.
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 #SeekingaPublisher rubric (formerly Translate This!). 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 #SeekingaPublisher (or 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 email@example.com and we’ll try to help.
Other ways to find new children’s and YA books not yet published in English translation:
- IJB’s White Ravens: annual selection of international children’s and youth literature
- IBBY’s annual selection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities
- Bologna Children’s Book Fair Illustrators’ Exhibition
- dPictus where you can explore picture books from around the world and connect with agents
- dPictus 100 Outstanding Picturebooks
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 use our World Kid Lit Bilingual Expert Readers List: of readers who can assess children’s and YA books in a range of languages (over 25 languages so far).
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 all necessarily translators into English. Please see their biographies at the end of the PDF for more details.)
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 Australia, the organization representing literary translators is AALITRA.
Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association (ITIA) / Cumann Aistritheoirí agus Ateangairí na hÉireann. Translator directory here
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.
CEATL, the Conseil Européen des Associations de Traducteurs Littéraires / European Council of Associations of Literary Translators. CEATL lists the 34 member associations here, with links to their websites and translator directories.
4) get funding for TRANSLATIONS
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) promote your BOOKS in translation and celebrate your translators
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.
Don’t be shy – send us your translated book news and PDFs or paperbacks to review! We feature everything from picture books, emerging readers, to middle grade and YA, nonfiction and poetry to graphic novels and comics.
We also publish lists of upcoming titles in our monthly roundups, and an annual list of children’s books in translation, from all over the world. This is a volunteer-run initiative, so we welcome your help! Please check out the lists below and let us know of any recent publication we’re missing; we’d be only too happy to include them. We’re slowly working on the 2022 list so please send us your translated book titles!