“Retranslating children’s literature”
February 8th and 9th, 2013
University of Rouen, France
Organized by ERIAC, University of Rouen, with the support of Institut International Charles Perrault, Eaubonne
If the practice of retranslating texts has long characterized literature, it appears that children’s literature has become the object of a growing number of retranslations which obviously consecrate its legitimacy and the renewed interest triggered by various books (from the novel to the picture book) in different countries. These many revivals are proof enough that children’s literature goes through the same process of selection and canonization as mainstream literature, whatever forms of retranslations we may take into consideration –whether we think of “retranslation” as the second translation of an original text into a foreign language, or as a new translation based on another translation instead of the source text, or as a back-translation from a translated text into the native language of the source text. Bearing in mind this diversity of situations, we would like to discuss the specificity of children’s literature in the particular field of Translation Studies and analyze through examples borrowing from various periods, cultural traditions and authors the reasons why a given book is chosen to be translated again (and again and again, for some of them).
Papers may choose to tackle one or several of the following issues:
- Focusing on the text itself, one may think of looking into the aesthetic dimension of the source text so as to raise questions pertaining to its narrative organization, stylistic features and literary creativity. What elements, whether in the original work or in its first translation, make it necessary to retranslate the said original work?
- Beyond the space of the text itself, one may decide to examine the cultural background of the country where the retranslation is undertaken, as well as publishers’ policies and strategies in building up their lists of publications.
- Comparisons between languages, countries and publishing houses (about a similar work or about different authors) may also provide answers specific (or not) to the cultural history of the countries and publishers discussed.
- The institutionalization of “children’s literature” may also be an angle to engage with the way retranslation feeds on this increasing financial and academic authority.
- More pointedly even, one may wonder what part the growing importance of Children’s Literature Translation Studies within the field of Children’s Literature Studies plays in such translating-retranslating dynamics in this literary scene.
- Conversely, it would also be relevant to see whether and why some texts have resisted or still resist the retranslation urge while others have been regularly reappraised through constant linguistic reappropriations.
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