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Translations or Versions of Foreign Folktales for Magazines

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ChristineIAm

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Hi, I am new to the boards and to magazine submissions. I majored in Italian in college and studied, in particular, Italian fairytales and folktales. I have kept up the interest over the past ten years and have quite a few versions of Italian fairy tales. I say versions because they aren't just translations; I've made them more interesting and relevant to modern American readers. Is there a market for such stories in magazines? I have heard that it's really hard to sell translations and I'm just not sure where to start. Has anyone out there had success with this?
#1 - January 21, 2010, 01:08 PM

MaudeStephany

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I wouldn't be doing any actual translations of folk tales of a region unless you are writing for a magazine that specifically is looking for that sort of thing. I know, for example, that FACES magazine features different places around the world all the time (a new place in every issue, you would have to check to see what country/region they are doing on their website) and they may be interested in a translation of a folk tale - by which I mean that you stay as much as possible to the authenticity of that particular story in the region that it came from. You will have to document your sources (yes, even in Italian) as these magazines like to know that you haven't just copied and pasted something together from the internet. It's that CYA thing, you know, as their name is on the line if you plagiarized (and yours of course). I'm not saying that you would... just letting you know the drill.

Now, lots of children's magazines enjoy well-done retellings of old folktales. You just have to be up front with the magazine editor and tell them "This story was inspired by ..." or "This is a retelling of the ancient Italian story of ..." Again, you're going to have to cite your sources so that they can cross reference and make certain that your story is yours and not someone else's or anything else like that. Read your writer's market books - and choose your publisher carefully (after you have read some of their magazines and done some analysis of the style/tone/content/reading level etc) before you submit. And follow their guidelines TO THE LETTER. You'll do fine.

Maude  :frog
#2 - January 21, 2010, 07:20 PM

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Christine, Aaron Shepherd has published quite a few folktale retellings and has lots of info his book (can't remember the name of it now but if you do a search you should find it). There's also info on his site:
http://www.aaronshep.com/storytelling/A65.html

As Maude says, you'll have to provide some evidence of the folktale's authenticity. It could be worth looking at other retellings of the same folktales, if they exist - they may well include some information about the history of the story.

For some reason, I imagine these Italian folktales to be particularly wonderful. Full of wise words and delicious dishes, with some passion thrown in for good measure. Hope we get to read them some day!
#3 - January 21, 2010, 07:39 PM

ChristineIAm

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Thank you both so much for the advice--very good words of wisdom. Maude, that's a great point about finding the publisher and using their guidelines and requirements as a starting point. Siski - yes, there are such great Italian fairy tales that are actually really different than the ones American readers are familiar with. Often quite dark in a Roald Dahl kind of way...such fun!
#4 - January 22, 2010, 12:58 PM

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