"Translation expands our ability to explore through literature the thoughts and feelings of people from another society or another time. It permits us to savor the transformation of the foreign into the familiar and for a brief time to live outside our own skins, our own preconceptions and misconceptions. It expands and deepens our world, our consciousness, in countless indescribable ways."
from Why Translation Matters, by Edith Grossman. Yale University Press, 2010. A paperback edition comes out next month.
The American Library Association sponsors a prize that honors translation (into English) in children's literature. The 2011 Mildred A. Batchelder Award went to the publisher of A Time of Miracles, written by Anne-Laure Bondoux and translated from the French by Y. Maudet. Honors were awarded to the publishers of Departure Time, written by Truus Matti and translated from the Dutch by Nancy Forest-Flier, and Nothing, written by Janne Teller and translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken.
The most recent kids' works in translation that we've read are probably the middle-grade novels of Cornelia Funke's Ghosthunters series. In very small type on the copyright pages you'll see that Helena Ragg-Kirkby translated the books from the German. I noted a while back that the Ghosthunter books are good read-alouds, and I'm now more aware, after reading Why Translation Matters, that part of the credit, at the minimum, must go to Ragg-Kirkby. Edith Grossman points out, "[w]hat should never be forgotten or overlooked is the obvious fact that what we read in a translation is the translator's writing."