Reflections of a Solitary Hamster

25 Jul

This is another one of the books Vida Kelly worked on and brought in to show us when she spoke to our class. It’s also one of the Gecko Press books that Julia Marshall spoke about.

I’ve included it here because I found it really interesting when Vida talked about the aspects of fitting the translated text into the speech bubbles. It was originally written in French so obviously had to be translated into English and, once this was done, the new text had to be fitted into the existing speech bubbles. As Julia pointed out, Gecko preserve the original look and feel of the books they publish, changing only endpaper colour and other small details to ensure that the books are high-quality productions. This means that the illustrations need to be kept as are … but with translated text, the translation can often be a lot longer than the original, posing a spacing issue in a book like this.

So, even though Vida had a very specific model to work on (the original book), it didn’t necessarily make the job any easier. She said that it was a really time-consuming process hand-writing out all the new sentences and fitting them into to the speech bubbles in an unobtrusive way.

I think the evidence that this was a success lies in the fact that when you read the book, you don’t notice the text as being ‘out-of-place’. In fact, you don’t notice it at all. Which I think is really something that so many people have pointed out with book design: you don’t necessarily notice good design, because it should fit seamlessly in with the book as a whole.

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