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Ode to Translators of Children’s Literature

A poem by Kevin Quirk, FIT President, at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2021

  |   TOPICS: Translators
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During the International Forum on Children's Literary Translation, Kevin Quirk, President of FIT (Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs/International Federation of Translators) declaimed this poem on translating for children's books.

The forum took place on June 14TH, at the 2021 Online Edition of Bologna Children's Book Fair.

On this most momentous day
Let bells peal and flagpoles sway.
Let’s raise our gazes and sing the praises
Of literary translators in every way.

For you are the ones who make thousands of choices
While lending your readers your very clear voices
Reflecting the cadence and the tone
Of utterances soppy or dry to the bone.

Whether it’s text or speech, you do your best
Ask any one of us; it’s always a test
Of your envious strengths as you work your magic
On texts highly serious or even most tragic.

Whether it’s trashy non-fiction
Or literary greats,
You create understanding
You’re truly outstanding!

You deserve to be praised
You deserve to be proud!
You deserve a poem to be read out loud!

©Kevin Quirk, FIT President

Kevin Quirk was born and educated in the United Kingdom, where he studied for a Bachelors of Arts degree in Scandinavian Studies at University College London. He  translated a number of books from Norwegian into English, including Norwegian fairytales, and for the last 20 years, he has taken a keen interest in the issue of translators' rights. He has held a number of positions of office in national and international translators’ associations and is currently the President of the International Federation of Translators (FIT).  

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