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Translated Children’s Fiction in New Zealand

History, Conditions of Production, Case Studies


Anne Siebeck

In 2005, a new publisher entered the New Zealand market – the first to specialise in English translations of children’s books. The notion of «homegrown translations» was a new departure for a post-colonial book market dominated for several decades by literary nationalism. This study aims to illuminate the history of translated children’s books in New Zealand and the sociocultural context in which the translations of this new publisher are produced and received in order to account for the peculiarities of marketing and reception associated with them. For this purpose, diachronic and synchronic perspectives are combined with case studies of individual books and series.
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Discussion: Translation, Identity and Children’s Literature in New Zealand


This chapter discusses the findings of this thesis in the light of the field of translation studies, as well as discourses concerning identity in postcolonial and cultural studies. The discussion is guided by the question of the function of literary translation in New Zealand. The chapter then reflects on the significance of the present dissertation for research and gives recommendations for further study.

In studies concerned with postcolonialism and literary translation, several trends can be identified: linguistic analyses focusing on the transferral of cultural identity in translations of postcolonial writing, studies which explore distinct translation strategies that could be described as ‘postcolonial,’1 and texts that consider ‘translation’ metaphorically in a postcolonial context, particularly the concept of ‘cultural translation.’2 Studies on translation driven by a postcolonial political agenda mainly focus on oppositions between native languages and the languages of the colonisers.3

The linguistic situation in New Zealand is different from that of other former British colonies as it has an indigenous, formerly purely oral language as one of its official languages. New Zealand’s “country cousins,”4 English-speaking white settler colonies such as Australia, Canada and the United States, have different relationships with their indigenous languages. The United States is officially monolingual; English is the only national language. The same goes for Australia. Despite the fact that there are similarities between New Zealand and Ireland – an island with a rather small population and an indigenous language as one of two official languages – there are also...

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