Parallel Worlds: Translators Behind the Scenes
On the other side of every book in translation is a translator connecting the two different cultures, bringing not only the words of that parallel world into English, but also its thoughts, values, and viewpoints. In this series of discussions, we talk to translators of literary fiction, manga, genre fiction, and children’s literature to tease out the challenges and thrills of bringing a wide variety of Japanese works to English readers.
Parallel Worlds: Translating for Young Minds
Interview with translators Avery Fischer Udagawa and Cathy Hirano, moderated by Jeff Chiba Stearns
Date: Thursday, March 3, 2022
Time: 8:00 PM (ET)
Join us for a behind-the-scenes conversation with veterans of Japanese and Canadian children’s/YA literature. Animator and author Jeff Chiba Stearns (Yellow Sticky Notes, On Being Yukiko) sits down with Avery Fischer Udagawa (Temple Alley Summer) and Cathy Hirano (The Beast Player) to discuss the specific challenges of localizing Japanese culture and language for a younger, English-speaking readership. How do translators approach differing cultural taboos? What assumptions must be made about the reader’s prior knowledge or lack thereof? If illustrations are present, how do translators corroborate the text with the visual narrative? Come find out the answers to these questions – and more – in this last of our Parallel Worlds series.
Avery Fischer Udagawa and Cathy Hirano’s translated works are now available to borrow from JFT’s OverDrive Library! Borrow these great reads anywhere from Canada as long as you have a JFT library card (apply online today!).
Avery Fischer Udagawa’s translations of children’s literature from Japanese include the 2022 Mildred L. Batchelder Award-winning novel Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba, illustrated by Miho Satake, and the historical novel J-Boys: Kazuo’s World, Tokyo, 1965 by Shogo Oketani. Her short story translations have appeared in Kyoto Journal, Words Without Borders, Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction—An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories, The Best Asian Short Stories 2018, and A Tapestry of Colours 1: Stories from Asia. Born in Kansas, she lives near Bangkok.
Born in Canada, Cathy Hirano moved to Japan in 1978 and graduated from university in Tokyo in 1983 with a BA in cultural anthropology. She has been translating professionally since 1984. Her translations of Japanese YA fiction and fantasy have won several awards, including Mildred L. Batchelder Awards and Honors and a 2020 Michael L. Printz Honor award for The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi. Her translations of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and its sequels by Marie Kondo are international bestsellers. Her translation of Anne’s Cradle: The Life & Works of Hanako Muraoka, the Japanese translator of Anne of Green Gables, was published in 2021. She lives in Shikoku, Japan.
About Jeff Chiba Stearns
Jeff Chiba Stearns is an Emmy® nominated and Webby award-winning animation and documentary filmmaker, as well as an acclaimed author and illustrator. After graduating from the Emily Carr University with a degree in Film Animation, he founded Vancouver-based boutique animation studio and publishing company Meditating Bunny Studio Inc. in 2001. Jeff’s short and feature length films such as Yellow Sticky Notes (2007), One Big Hapa Family (2020) and Mixed Match (2016) have broadcast around the world, screened in hundreds of international film festivals and garnered dozens of awards. Jeff has also written and illustrated the children’s books Mixed Critters (2018) and Nori and His Delicious Dreams (2020) and has just released his first graphic novel, On Being Yukiko (2021). Jeff is also the host of the upcoming animation podcast, Animation Meditation and the creative director for the pre-school animated series The Treebees.