BookTrust to re-run kids books translation scheme

BookTrust to re-run kids books translation scheme

BookTrust is to run its children's book translation initiative In Other Words this year, for a second time.

The scheme was launched by the literacy charity in 2016 to encourage UK publishers to publish more titles from around the world. It invites international publishers, agents and scouts to submit "outstanding works of fiction" for readers aged between six and 12 to a panel of expert judges who will select 10 titles for translation. The charity will pay for sample translations of these texts, and present them to the UK publishing community, at an event at the next London Book Fair, in April 2018.

Chaired by journalist Nicolette Jones, the judging panel includes translators Sarah Ardizzone and Daniel Hahn, Emma Langley, relationship manager for literature at Arts Council England, as well as author Candy Gourlay, publishing consultant Elaine McQuade and BookTrust’s director of children’s books Jill Coleman.

The judges will select 10 outstanding entries, with up to four declared “BookTrust In Other Words Honour Titles”. These entries and the "honour titles" will be showcased at the special event at the London Book Fair, with information about all shortlisted extracts included in a rights guide. Three out of the four titles selected last year as “honour titles” have now been acquired by UK publishers.

Any UK publisher acquiring rights to publish one of the texts will be given a £1,500 grant per book from BookTrust to promote the author and translator with marketing, publicity and touring in the UK. The project is funded by Arts Council England. The Bologna Book Fair will again be working with BookTrust to help promote the project to international publishers.

Coleman said: “Our first year of In Other Words has been an outstanding success. Three out of four of the honour titles selected by our panel of judges have been taken on by UK publishers and many new connections forged between publishers around the world. Cultural and artistic diversity is essential to the creativity of the UK and it all starts with children’s reading, and we are delighted to be embarking on the project for a second year.”

Emma Langley, Arts Council England said the team are strengthening the scheme with more submission information as well as a publisher-led seminar. She said: “I am delighted that In Other Words has been so well received. We will build on this success to develop the project and spread the word to an even wider global audience with the aim of empowering editors to publish translated fiction.

She added: “To that end, we will produce more detailed submission guidance for international publishers and hold a publisher-led seminar to help UK editors to acquire, publish and promote children’s fiction in translation successfully.”

Shadi Doostdar, commissioning editor at Oneworld who acquired 2017 "honour title" A Good Day for Climbing a Tree by Jaco Jacobs in April, said: “As soon as I started reading A Good Day For Climbing Trees, I knew that Jaco Jacobs was perfect for our Rock the Boat list. In Other Words is a brilliant and inspiring initiative, it’s so exciting to add Afrikaans to our growing list of translated languages, and it wouldn't have been possible without all the hard work BookTrust have put into the initiative.”

BookTrust will run a seminar for publishers and commissioning editors on children’s literature in translation, which will be chaired by Jones, in February 2018 in London.

Submissions for In Other Words are now open and close on 25th July 2017. For more information, visit