Sample Translations of Children’s Books

Please click on the links to see some sample translations for children’s books.

You will see how I often had to change the “exact” wording to make the English text rhyme, while still keeping the original idea.

Because of the different syntax and the fact that (obviously) two words that rhyme in one language will generally not rhyme in the other, creative solutions are always required.

When “creating” solutions, I also take into account the rhythm and rhyming schemes in the source language. But my goal is always to make the English text as engaging as the source.


gaya dickermanedelman sun






A very short sample from the over 3,ooo words of rhyme in the book, The Bell Maiden, by Nava Semel.


אֵין לִי מְנוּחָה

מַמְלַכְתִּי אַדִּירָה

אֲבָל אֵין בִּי שִׂמְחָה

רֵיק, רֵיק, רֵיק

שָׁכַחְתִּי אֵיךְ לְנַשֵּׁק, לְחַבֵּק

כְּאִילּוּ אֲנִי מֵת

אֲפִילּוּ דִּמְעָה מְסָרֶבֶת לָצֵאת

מַה שֶּׁהָיָה לִי אֵי פַּעַם

רַק צְלִיל מּופְלָא – הוּא יָשִׁיב לִי הַטַּעַם.


I have possessions beyond measure,

but nothing brings me pleasure.

I can’t fall asleep,

I can’t find any peace.


All is empty, all is amiss,

I’ve forgotten the joy of a hug or a kiss.

My heart is like stone, no tears can I shed,

I have no emotions, inside I am dead.


I believe only music that is perfect and true

will bring back the gladness that at one time I knew.






Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Twisted Canary.

*** A creative writing assignment. A combination of two classes that I took: American Drama and Contemporary Literary theory. In the former, we discussed the play, A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell. In the latter, we discussed various literary theories using the writings of Conan-Doyle as a point of departure. So I started to think: how would have Conan-Doyle dealt with the story told by Glaspell. (The footnotes indicate actual quotes from SH stories.)

dead canary

Read it all here: The Adventure of the Twisted Canary


Choosing a Poet

I’ve never been much
for poets, or words
arranged in some way
to express what they say.

To listen for symbols
or grasp something obscure,
is it deep down inside
they have something to hide?

And though I’m lost in a sea,
of strange waves and strange lines,
Amongst millions I find,
I must make up my mind.

So poet, who are you
whose thoughts will I see through?


(*Written for class 727.)

Shakespearean Bones

The Milton paper is done and submitted (over a week already) and I was challenged by a friend to write a “Shakespearean sonnet” about my dogs’ bones (the kind they chew, not the ones inside them).

You can read it here.

Another ITA conference over… and I was a speaker!

The annual ITA (Israel Translators Association) conferences have always been one of the highlights of the year for me. There are always plenty of interesting lectures to listen to, and it’s fun renewing and making new acquaintances.

This year’s conference was no less enlightening, except for one difference. I was one of the presenters! I offered to share the (little bit of) knowledge I have about a couple of nifty software programs that I enjoy  using.

My first idea was to present Paymo ( but realized that I didn’t need the entire allotted time of 30 min just for that, so I added Memsource, and then Stretch Break. And because I’ve just started exploring Scrivener, I mentioned that too. I have been asked to write a blog about the programs (i.e. to do my presentation “as a blog”), and I’ll do that later. Here, I’d just like to talk about the preparations.

I had the idea that I could just stand up and “do it live” in front of the audience, but then I was afraid of computer glitches, or even worse, internet failure, and also a lot of dead “air time.” So I decided to record my actions and put them as video clips into a power point presentation.

Now, I, unfortunately, didn’t TIME myself to see how long it would take me to make up the demo, but I can say it was in the range of HOURS! and HOURS. I realize why it takes 3 years to film an hour-and-a-half movie! And after I had the films cut down nicely, and I practiced with one of my “guinea pigs,” I was told that it wasn’t good that people could see the names of some of my clients. So I had to go and redo them. Of course, by this time I knew the exact sequence I needed, so at least it went quicker.

By the way, I used the program “Screen Recorder” to capture my screen.

I went through a long complicated process preparing screen shots: Prtscr -> paste into Paint -> save as. And then go into power point -> add file -> and find the file where I’d saved it. After doing it this way umpteen times, I realized all I had to do was to Prtscr -> paste into the power point page.

The same with clips. Sometimes I realized they were too long or needed bits cut out. So I opened them again in Movie Maker and started again with the editing, and then saving and then publishing as movie. Until I realized that Power Point offers a “trim video” option. And if I needed to cut out bits in the middle, I simply could duplicate the slide, and then trim the first one back, and the second one from the beginning, and just click to make the slides start one after the other.

On the whole, I enjoy doing PPPs. I love fooling with the animations and stuff. So it was quite a learning experience.

Just a pity it took soooooo long!


What’s the difference between editing and proofreading? And translating for that matter?

There are various levels of “perfection” between the processes of translating, editing and proofreading.

The client who understands the differences will be the client who is satisfied with the product he receives.

A document that is translated is NEVER ready to go directly from the translator to the publisher, and woe to he that believes so. It is virtually impossible for a translator to edit his own work, because translating is, for all intents and purposes, writing. No writer can edit his own work. Of course, the translator strives to deliver a perfect document, but don’t count on it!

The next stage is editing, where the foremost job is to make sure that the writer’s prose is flowing and coherent, and may often include suggestions regarding changes in the content or order of the text. The editor looks for errors in logic or holes in the story that the writer may not have realized exist. Additionally, grammar is checked, style sheets are produced (addressing style issues such as serial commas, spellings of unconventional or foreign words), spelling of names and places are checked, and data is confirmed for accuracy (were thermoses actually used in 1829?), styles of heading levels are determined and much more. Furthermore, the editors job is

This is usually done on the manuscript using track changes.

Finally, proofreading is usually to check for typographical errors. In “old times” proofreading was actually done on a proof of the printed document (hence the name) using all those funny squiggly marks. Today it may be done on a pdf file.

For a full explanation of the differences between editing and proofreading, please go here to Daily Writing Tips. 

Funny en français

I can’t pass up funny stuff, even if I don’t understand it. So I will still post this, and explain why the translations are so funny (thank you to my good friend, El). (It’s a quick re-post of our Skype chat, with some editing.)

This is the link to a blog with some translation boo boos (i.e. fails) in Quebec.

If I had more time, I would copy the photos directly into the blog. For the present, you will just have to open the link in a new window and scroll along.

Following are the explanations (for you who do not speak French).

  1. Grosses assorties simply doesn’t make sense.  Jumbo assorted should be translated as format grand assorties or something like that. Grosse just means really really big.
  2. The next one is kind of an amalgamation of English and French which only makes sense in English. In French it would be: Petites bouchées, grands compliments. The 2nd one isn’t really meant to be a French xlation… it’s like saying “tres good”…
  3. Beef liver bites, which sounds like a liver with teeth, should be morceaux, not morsures.
  4.  For the nut and wheat free one, écrou doesn’t mean nuts. Nuts are noix. Ecrou is a hardware nut, not an edible nut.
  5. With the travel pillow, it’s actually obscene. Fourrer is slang for f**k in Quebec. So literally it says: “F**k the pocket with your clothes to get a pillow.”
  6. For the disney plate, coffre-fort is a safe that you would keep valuables in. Not an adjective. That would be sauf or something like that.
  7.  The beach one simply doesn’t make sense. Effectuer means to carry something out as in carrying out the order of the king. Not carrying something in your arms.There would be a better way to say that, along the lines of “don’t leave anything behind you”.”Portez dedans, portez dehors” or “en retour.
  8. First of all, we don’t say “sur les rochers” for on the rocks. It’s “sur glâce“. And jouir, while technically meaning “to enjoy” also means “to have an orgasm”: Un nouveau façon for aimer sur glâce. Or boire, instead of aimer.  But what’s here is totally stupid.
  9. The vegetarian one, is cute. Vegetables are participating in it.
  10. Poussin means a chick as in a hatchling. Pois chiches .
  11.  Preservatif is a  preservative. It should be concombre conservé.
  12. For the pepper,  con cassée should be concassée or écrasée.
  13. Low fat is faible en gras, not gros.
  14.  The popcorn is untranslatable. It means The flavour of very butter. Plus de saveur de beurre would fit.
  15. Polish sausage. Ha ha ha! That’s a verb. Like to polish the silverware. It should be saucisse polonaise.
  16. The next one says: mini bike made from a Chinese woman. It should say: fait en Chine.