NINA E TEO
I’ve been working with Kalandraka and other Italian publishing houses since 2017. I have translated several picture books, including “Nina e Teo“, a delightful book about a little girl and her cat, written by Antonio Ventura and illustrated by Alejandra Estrada.
The original version (Nina y Anton) received an honourable mention at the ninth edition of the International Compostela Prize for Picture Books and my translation was shortlisted in the Best book (0-6 years) category at the 35th edition of the Andersen Prize in 2019.
As it often happens with children’s books, the content looks easy. Yet, coming up with a suitable translation of the title was a true challenge.
In fact, the publishing house expressly requested the localization of the cat’s name into Italian so that children could connect more easily with the story and the characters. The name had to resemble a person’s name (as in the Spanish original) and be suitable for a furry friend.
After some trial and error, Teo checked all boxes. It was short, appropriate for a cat, and suitable as a boy’s name – just like Anton. And that’s how “Nina y Anton” turned into “Nina e Teo” for the Italian audience!
All in all, translating literature is not just about preserving a story. It also requires striking a balance between the style and tone of the original work and the understanding of the target audience, so that the translated work stays true to the author’s intentions and flows well in another language. That’s the key to captivating and engaging readers from different backgrounds.