En esta ocasión reproduzco una nota que, considero, debemos de tomarnos muy en serio. En África se ha comenzado a plantear que "Los niños se encuentran perdidos sin traducción". Habría que tomar en consideración de qué se están perdiendo; que reflexionar acerca de los limites que puede sobrepasar la traducción. Todos los niños deberían de tener acceso a los grandes clásicos infantiles que, hoy en día, forman parte del patrimonio cultural de la humanidad por su carga emotiva, su narrativa didáctica y por sus historias que han transitado de generación en generación.
Jorge Pérez Arteaga
Children are lost without translation
On monday, this week, International Translation Day, we celebrated the invaluable role of children's literature in translation in bringing children together through stories.
What greater hope could we have for our youngest citizens than that they grow up marvelling and wanting more of the treasury of stories from the vast patchwork of world culture, past and present? Stories that have travelled and crossed borders through translation allow us all to discover what it means to be human, in both unique and shared ways.
Reading memorable stories from near and far in our own languages of course also stimulates the writing of other memorable stories, inspiring potential and actual authors to conjure up new stories from old and, in the process, to take ownership. It's what has always happened.
But is this something we can celebrate in multilingual South Africa?
Not a problem for English-speaking and some Afrikaans-speaking children who hear and read collections such as Grimms' Fairy Tales and classics such as Pinocchio as a normal part of childhood.
But sadly they rarely, if ever, get to read stories written or retold in African languages and then translated into English. And African language speaking children are simply left out in the cold.
I believe that the translation industry in South Africa, the craddle of humankind, could and should be like a deep river, carrying and depositing the finest flow of chlidren's stories from here, there and everywhere, to all our children and not only to those who happen to speak English.
A floeing river of stories implies a lively children's literature coaxing children into books. It also implies that translation is valued and growing as an industry, making know-ledge of one another's languages potentially an economic good. But it's not. At best we struggle to nurture a trickle of translations from English to African languages and almost none in other directions.
The relatively youthful history of children's literature is also a history of translation. A distinctive litearture for children came about over time with the adaptationof adult texts for child audiences.
This was done largely by translators, the "invisible storytellers", who retold storiesin what were considered appropriateways, in accordance with the dominant societal views of childhood. Although a separate children's litearture only emerged in the 18th century, translated tales have been enriching children's lives since medieval times.
In the 21st century, is it right for African-language-speaking children to be excluded from access to the world canon of children's literature, including African literature? No? Well, in 2013 they are — and to a significant extent.
Dr Carole Bloch is the director of the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa, which is a founding partner in the Nal'ibali campaign