by Janan Cain
About Yanitzia Canetti
The text for Así me siento yo, the Spanish edition of The Way I Feel, was created by Yanitzia. Fluent in Spanish, Italian and English, she is the award-winning author of more than 30 books and the translator of more than 100, including Dr. Seuss, Curious George, Berenstain Bears and Amelia Bedelia stories. Dr. Canetti has also written thousands of articles, catalogues, and literary reviews for newspapers and magazines in countries including the United States, Cuba, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
Reared in Havana, Cuba, she received a B.A. in journalism, an M.A. in linguistics and a doctorate in literature, all at the University of Havana.
When Criticas Magazine asked Dr. Canetti about the job of translating children's books, she explained, "The biggest challenge is balancing all of the elements involved."
Continuing, she said, "Each element is just as important as the other: rhyme, meter, rhythm, humor, play on words, multiple-meanings conveyed through idiomatic expressions, lexical variations in old English, modern English, British English, American English, or Caribbean English, etc.
"There are also the issues of fitting the text into a limited space—Spanish tends to take up more space—and matching the translated text to the original illustrations. . . . In the end, the only thing that matters is having children feel like the book was written especially for them, and not just translated. Ultimately, all of the talent and effort in the world won't make a difference if children don't like the story. That is why the first judges of all of my books and translations are my own children, who are sometimes hard to convince."
According to the Boston Globe, Dr. Canetti's translation talents have earned her a reputation among some of the top publishers, who seek her out for novels, textbooks, workbooks, and poetry.
''It's just incredible what this woman can do," said Teresa Mlawer, president of Lectorum Publications, the publisher of Dr. Seuss books in Spanish, and a unit of Scholastic.
Dr. Canetti is the president of Cambridge Brick House, a Lawrence, Mass.-based publishing company which translates hundreds of books into Spanish each year. She is a resident of Andover, Mass.
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