The Highbrow Struggles of Translating Modern Children’s Books Into Latin
Tunberg, who specializes in neo-Latin, or the use of Latin after the Romans were dead and gone, never planned on translating kids’ books, but was contacted by prominent Classics textbook publisher Bolchazy-Carducci, who had purchased the rights to some of Dr. Seuss’s works. Given his background with the language, and his interest in how Latin evolved after Rome, the prospect of translating these modern works was right up his alley. Of course, the real reasons for the project didn’t escape him.
“As a textbook publisher, they’re out to make money. They caught on to the idea that if they have very young children’s stories in Latin along with the regular books by Caesar and Cicero and all these other people, it would be a draw. And they were right. I still get royalties,” says Tunberg.