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The Translation of Children’s Literature into Minority Languages


Reading children’s literature is of great value in language and cultural acquisition and is a powerful contributor to academic success. However, the range and volume of children’s literature available in minority languages, either produced within the minority language or translated into it, are usually very limited. Children growing up with minority languages therefore often have few reading choices, and thus, few of the benefits of reading. This paper examines the sociological situations of minority languages, including the sometimes-conflicting pressures of cultural and language preservation, and the perceived merits and demerits of translating children’s literature into a minority language. A reluctance to translate is based on very real concerns, but ultimately, it is argued that translation is a necessary and valuable tool for maintaining minority languages and for allowing children the variety of reading choices they need for enjoyment, for a positive self-image, and for educational success.

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Correspondence to Dominic Cheetham.

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Dominic Cheetham teaches children’s literature at Sophia University, Tokyo. He is interested in all aspects of children’s literature, but is currently focussing on poetry, picturebooks, and translation of children’s literature into minority languages.

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Cheetham, D. The Translation of Children’s Literature into Minority Languages. Child Lit Educ (2022).

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  • Minority languages
  • Indigenous languages
  • Immigrant languages
  • Translation
  • Language acquisition