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Asian Festival of Children’s Content

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What makes us chuckle in one language might not in another, and this poses a major challenge to translation. Hear from our speakers how they identify the humour in the source text and make sure that it does not get lost in the translation process.

Humour Translation

Emily Balistrieri

Emily Balistrieri (US/Japan)

Emily was born in 1985 in Wisconsin and is now based in Tokyo. His published translations include Shaw Kuzki's Soul Lanterns, Eiko Kadono’s Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Takuji Ichikawa’s The Refugees’ Daughter. He has also translated fiction by Tomihiko Morimi, Ao Omae, Mikoto Mashita, Kugane Maruyama, Carlo Zen, and many others. He has also done the English subtitles for Takahide Hori’s film Junk Head and translated Cocosola’s mobile game The Witch’s Isle. Follow him on Twitter: @tiger.

Julia Marshall

Julia Marshall (New Zealand)

Julia is the founder and publisher of Gecko Press, a small-by-choice independent publisher based in New Zealand of curiously good books for children since 2005. Gecko Press publishes a curated list of books in translation from some of the best writers and illustrators in the world for ages 0 to 12 (sometimes infinity). Gecko Press books celebrate unsameness. They offer different—sometimes challenging, often funny, thoughtful, inquisitive—ways of seeing the world. Gecko Press books are sold in English-speaking countries worldwide. Julia also translates children's books from Swedish to English.

Photo by Johnny Hendrikus

Yang Shu Hung

Yang Shu Hung (Singapore)

Blessed with the opportunity of having been through a bilingual education system, Shu Hung is passionate in both English and Chinese literature. She became a teacher after she graduated from NUS Chinese Studies, firmly believing that the two languages are not mutually exclusive. She went on to pursue Masters in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language in Taiwan, where she also took a certification course to become an EL/CL interpreter. She is currently still working as a teacher, hoping to instill the same love for languages and literature in her students as her teachers had.

Holly Thompson

Moderator Holly Thompson (US/Japan)

Holly ( is a longtime resident of Japan and author of the verse novels Falling into the Dragon’s MouthThe Language Inside and Orchards; the novel Ash; and picture books Twilight ChantOne Wave at a TimeThe Wakame Gatherers, and the forthcoming Listening to Trees: George Nakashima, Woodworker. A graduate of the NYU Creative Writing Program, she writes for children, teens and adults, and teaches creative writing and literature at Yokohama City University. 

Photo by Carter Hasegawa 

All programme dates and times are subject to change and existing COVID measures.

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