来源:International Publishing Journal

作者:Dou Yuanna


Roderick Harold Fee

Managing Director of Eunoia Publishing Group

  Children’s and adults’ books, whether of fiction or of nonfiction, inform the reader about those similarities which helps respectful understanding recognition of others are as oneself and this leads to tolerance. And where there are differences, the reader comes to understand just what those are, what the values of another person or culture mean to them, to recognise that those things that are important in forming the reader’s life have a parallel in the lives of the people or characters in the story. They are the same human beings but with different values that are no more or no less valuable to them than the reader’s are to him or her. This also fosters understanding, tolerance and acceptance, and the value of honouring and preserving those differences. Together, keeping the differences and the similarities always in view means that people come together better and that is to the benefit of all.

  Where I often see the differences leading to difficulties is first in the translation. That is in two parts: first, the extreme difficulty of a true accurate translation that gives the same feel as the original but in the target language. This is difficult enough with non-fiction. It is extremely difficult and so much more expensive in time and money if done correctly with fiction where literary style, emotions, unwritten subtext, is often so important. Trust is also so important here because it is unusual for each side to be not only experts in the other’s language but also with the same literary talent and sensibility.

  The second part of translation difficulty I want to address, is in the need to take into account the sensibilities of the target culture. This can only be properly handled after full translation and is a matter of what we refer to as a literary or sensibility edit. Here an understanding of the differences in the cultures is vital.

  The next difficulty in localisation that occurs is aesthetic. It is just a fact of life that different cultures have different expectations and appreciations of art. This is so over time in any one culture as well as in comparing different cultures. It has surprised us somewhat to find that illustrations and the physical makeup of a book which is so popular and normal in the origin is not attractive to a target culture. This is easier to overcome with a book-length non-fiction or fiction work. The cover is redesigned and the physical structure redesigned with the cooperation of both sides in order to make the work attractive to the audience in the target culture. IT is usually a matter of style of the illustration than of its content. With photographs no such problem exists usually. But in a heavily illustrated book such where the illustrations are as important as the story it causes real difficulty in being able to be introduced in the target culture. So often the style is just no liked by the target culture. This means that with children’s picture books as the obvious example we have to be very careful to pick not only the best stories such as those of Cao Wenxuan, but also the most culturally acceptable illustrated ones.

  The best way to overcome this and allow a greater exchange is to work collaboratively to have an alternative illustration style made with the other target culture in mind. This is expensive but otherwise the most important books in some ways, children’s picture books, will not be purchased or read. They are so important because childhood is when a large volume of books are consumed by children who are forming all sorts of attitudes at that age. We all need not only great translators and great literary editors but also illustration translators.