Translating for Children Means Greater Responsibility
An Interview with Filip Krajník, the Czech Translator of the Darcy Burdock Series
by Martina Krénová
edited by Blanka Šustrová
You are the translator of Laura Dockrill’s Darcy Burdock series. Why did you choose to translate a series for pre-teen girls? Tell us the backstory.
Actually, it wasn’t me who made the choice. I’d love to say that the book chose me or something like that to create a bit of cheap dramatic effect, but the truth is that I was chosen by the Czech publisher. More than two years ago, I stopped by the offices of Argo publishing house in Prague to discuss some translation I was doing for them at the time and decided to make use of the opportunity and say hi to Alena Pokorná, the editor in chief of Argo’s children’s department. She has an absolutely wonderful office in the attic of the building, with many bookshelves filled with children’s books – one of the most beautiful workplaces I’ve ever seen. I don’t actually remember what happened there, but I do recall myself leaving Alena’s office about half an hour later with a little blue book with some weird girl and a sheep on the cover which I promised to translate without actually having read a single word of it. When I arrived home, I opened the book and after a couple of pages my thoughts were like, “Oh my God! I’ve just made the biggest, fattest mistake in my life! I can’t translate this – this is a book for GIRLS. Narrated by a girl. Who is ten and paints her fingernails different colours. And yes, she’s totally CRAZY!” But then I learned that Darcy, the book’s eponymous narrator, hated mushrooms – which I despise as well – so I decided to give it a try. (Laughs.) Keep Reading