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01/2011 Translation


Translators are always “mediators between worlds of knowledge”, as Ciaran Cronin puts it. By means of their translations they build bridges into the literary worlds of foreign countries, allow us to look beyond the rim of our teacup and to mentally dive into different cultures. Therefore, good translations don’t consist of linguistic finesse and accuracy alone the cultural background, too, needs to be translated.

In this respect, translations of children’s literature meet particular challenges since they cannot strain their readers as much as adults by giving footnotes or long-winded paraphrases or explanations. The compressed language of picture books in particular bears similar translation problems to poetry. Are the loss of cultural meaning, the loss of puns and poetry thus inevitable?

This issue of interjuli is dedicated to the wide field of translation. Susanne Riegler and Gabriela Scherer address the translatability of national characteristics using the example of Orsenna’s La grammaire est une chanson douce and Lea Grimm suggests possibilities of using hot words in language classes. Kevin Anding and Peter Reisenzein examine translatory works in their contributions: Anding analyzes strategies of translation and transfer in the discourse of Yuri Gagarin and one of the questions Reisenzein addresses in his analysis of two German translations of Tove Jansson’s Trollvinter is what a Swedish troll sounds like in German. We are particularly delighted for Kristine Harth to have been able to talk to author and translator Uwe-Michael Gutzschhahn about the joys and perils of translation in our new interview section. If you are interested in reading any of the contributions in English, please don't hesitate to contact us!