Why did I choose Pippi? Part of the canon – few books in languages other than English are Radio plays, movies, toys, puzzles, dolls, games, apps
Russia, 1968; Poland; Italy, Belgium, Japan Comics versions by original Swedish illustrator, Ingrid Vang Nyman, recently released (translations 2011-since) Also issued a version for Free Comics Day in 2013. Originally published in Sweden in late 1950s.
2Eyes – Pippi song, the Simpsons
Should a text be adapted to be more familiar to a new audience? Visibly borrowed or familiar sounding? Ideas about this have differed over time -- A child audience has been treated differently. Ideas of what is “appropriate” for children have also changed, and vary according to cultures and to individuals as well.
Is humor cultural? Pippi is full of deliberate misspellings, alterations of songs & rhymes Wordplay/puns – in addition to being translators, now supposed to have comic talent? Wow!
The Hurup translation leaves out this second exchange altogether. Definitely some creativity required by the translator, and both Lamborn & Nunnally try to capture the sense of it. – tack adds a cultural element
Most like Alice in this twisting of a well know children’s song
Pippi’s play on a traditional summer song known to most Swedish children is very like Alice in this twisting of a well know children’s song – How Doth the Little Crocodile parodying Isaac Watt’s How Doth the Little Busy Bee
All 3 translations note that the salewoman is a foreigner. Lamborn, no attempt to capture the accept – just says spoke broken Swedish.
None of these differences in the Lamborn translation. In the Nunnally translation, Pippi asks, “Why is he speaking Arabic?” – Notable as an omission from the Lamborn translation
Finding Pippi – yes, it’s possible!
English language edition covers: Tony Ross (50th ann), Scholastic edition by Nancy Seligohn, Sweden – Ingrid Vang Nyman
Tony Ross Michael Chesworth
Lost in Translation: Searching for Pippi Longstocking
US, 1988 Soviet Union, 1982
3 English Translations
Looking for the voice of the
Real Translator(Interpreting reader) Implied Reader
Implied reader (target audience)
-Emer O’Sullivan, Comparative Children’s Literature
Communicative model of translation
Are the translations closer to
source text or target audience?
Examined culturally specific items
• proper names
Issues in Translation
Hurup 1954 Nunnally 2007
pepparkakor ginger snaps
strawberries & cream
kronor dollars pence kronor/öre
meters yards/feet yards/feet metres
schottische schottische polka polka
Mr. Nilsson Mr. Nilsson Mr. Nelson Mr. Nilsson
Villa Villekulla Villa Villekulla Villakulla Cottage Villa Villekulla
Malin Malin Martha Malin
Schtarke Adolph Mighty Adolf Mighty Adolf Schtrong Adolf
How do you translate wordplay, irony, puns, and convey
“The purifying translation of wordplay which
contravenes linguistic rules is primarily influenced by
educational norms in the target culture, but differing
degrees of comic talent and linguistic creativity among
translators are also factors.”
–Emer O’Sullivan, Compartive Children’s Literature (which itself
is translated from the German)
The burglars, when surprised by Pippi, ask her what
the clock says. She replies, “Big strong fellows like you,
and you don’t even know what a clock says? Who
brought you up anyway? Haven’t you ever heard a
clock before? A clock is a little round thingamajig that
says “tick tock” and keeps going and going but never
gets to the door. If you know any other riddles, let’s
hear them.” (Nunnally, 2007)
When the burglars take their leave, Pippi yells, “I’m
not asking you to play tic-tac-toe! . . . But you could at
least play along with my tick-tock riddle. I don’t
know what makes you tick! But never mind, go in
In the Lamborn translation, the clock says “tick
tack, tick tack.” – wordplay, as this version
depends upon knowing the Swedish
pronunciation of “tack” which is “tock.”
“I don’t demand that you say ‘tack’ [thanks in
Swedish], shouted Pippi after them, “but you
could at least make an effort and say ‘tick.’ You
haven’t even as much sense as a clock has.”
Nu ska här bakas pannekakas,
Nu ska här vankas pannekankes,
Nu ska här stekas pannekekas.
Lamborn, 1950 Hurup, 1954
Now we’re going to make a pancake,
Now there’s going to be a pankee,
Now we’re going to fry a pankye.
Here pancakes will be baked now
Here pancakes will be served now,
Here pancakes will be fried now!
Now it’s time to make Pancakes,
Now it’s time to flip panclips,
Now it’s time to shape panchapes!
When Pippi has wet clothes after an outing, they make different sounds
“It says ‘klaf, klafs’ in my
dress and ‘squish, squish
in my shoes. Isn’t that
Lamborn, 1950“Hey , just listen to
how it squishes
when I walk!”
“my clothes say
‘squish, squish ‘and
my shoes say ‘slosh,
“Listen to the skwuffling
when I walk . . . It says
‘skwuff, skweep’ in my
clothes and ‘skwipp,
skwipp in my shoes.”
Lamborn, 1950 Hurup, 1954
In the jolly summertime
Through field and wood I make my way.
I do exactly as I wish,
And when I walk it goes squish, squish.
Squish, squish. Squish, squish.
And my old shoe—
It’s really true –
Sometimes says “chip” and sometimes
For the shoe is wet.
The bull sleeps yet.
And I eat all the rice pudding I can get.
In the jolly summertime
I squish wherever I go.
When summer days are warm and still
And I go over wood and hill
I do exactly as I will
And it drips as I go, Hi ho, hi ho!
And in my shoes,
Because I choose,
It squelches just like orange juice
Because the shoes are soaking wet.
Ho, Ha, what a silly bull we met!
And I – I do like chicken croquette!
When summer days are warm and still,
It drips as I go.
Drip ho! Drip ho!
i is for . . .
Original Lamborn Hurup Nunnally Comic (Nunnally)
ibex island iguana ivan the
AT THE CIRCUS
Original Lamborn Hurup Nunnally
Yes No Yes yes
Phonetic depiction of
accent: Liddle girl, it is
constink vive crones the
front row and dree
crones the back row
and wan crones the
(plus font is
Miss Carmencita Miss Carmencita Senorita
“Horrible child!” “Derrible child” “You schtupid
“In a moment you vil behold the greatest marfel of our
time, the schtrongest man in the world, Schtrong Adolf,
who iss schtill undefeated. And now, ladies and
chentlemen, I give you Schtrong Adolf!”
“Zo, ladies and chentlemen,” shouted the ringmaster, “iss
there rrreally no one who vishes to earn a hundert
kroner? Am I rrreally going to haff to keep the money all
“No, I rrreallly don’t think so,” said Pippi. -Nunnally, 2007
And now, ladies and chantelmen, I
giff you a grrreat offer! Weech of
you dares to try a wrestling match
with Mighty Adolf, who dares to
try to beat ze world’s strongest
man)?” – Hurup, 1954
Shaun Tan’s tribute