Bilingual is Better

The third movie based on the wildly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series comes to theaters everywhere on August 3, 2012. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS, follows Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) – as he “hatches a plan to pretend he has a job at a ritzy country club – which fails to keep him away from the season’s dog days, including embarrassing mishaps at a public pool and a camping trip that goes horribly wrong.” Co-stars Robert Capron, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, and Steve Zahn are also back for more in this hilarious PG-rated summer movie which is perfect for the whole family.

Last week I got a chance to chat with author, Jeff Kinney about the worldwide success of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Check out the trailer for Dog Days (with Spanish subtitles) and then the interview below! (BONUS: the Diario de Greg website in Spanish is a lot of fun!)

Interview with Jeff Kinney

Author Jeff Kinney with Diary of a Wimpy Kid character, Greg Heffley

SB: Hi, Jeff! I’m Tracy López on behalf of Spanglishbaby.com. I got my hands on the Spanish version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid – And as a parent raising bilingual children, I was really happy to see that the humor had been translated very well. How did you ensure that difficult to translate jokes and phrases in the book weren’t lost in translation?

That’s a great question. It is actually something that I actually have no control over, no real knowledge of because the books have been translated into 40 languages. There have been languages that the book’s been translated into that I didn’t even know existed, for example Catalan. It’s sort of a leap of faith where you hope that the translator is getting it right. For example, I wanted to write something where Roderick tells Greg that two dollar bills are not real money and that Greg’s two dollar bill collection is just, you know, it’s just basically play money. I had to really think about whether or not I want to put it in my book because that wouldn’t really translate into other languages because other countries probably don’t have rare two dollar bills. So, those are the considerations I’ve been making since it’s been translated.

SB: Jeff, you mentioned that the book’s been translated into 40 languages, and I was just wondering how you feel about that. Are you surprised at the book’s massive success?

Oh, yes, definitely. Everything that’s happened past 2007 has been like the Truman Show for me. I’m actually sitting with my editor today, and we were just reflecting on all this, and I can’t believe the book was ever published to begin with. I just thought the format was too unusual. For the series to be in all these different places all over the world, and to have the opportunity to meet kids in places like Australia and Scotland, it just blows my mind that kids have taken to these books. I thought they were too distinctly American, but it seems like they really enjoy the narrative, and that’s been one of the real surprises to me.

SB: I understand that Zachary Gordon, who plays the character Greg in the movie, is also the voice of San-San on Ni-Hao Kai-Lan. I was wondering if you had ever heard Zachary speak Mandarin?

Yes, I think we’ve made him do the voice from time to time. But, I believe, and I could be wrong, that the change in his voice made it impossible for him to continue that job.

***

Here’s some more exciting information for fans of the series – Jeff says “One of the things we’re doing that I’m very interested in is taking these stories into animation. For example I am really interested in doing a holiday special.” Jeff also promises that he is planning on continuing the series. “I’m literally illustrating book number seven as we speak,” he said, “And…I hope to keep writing for as long as I have good ideas.”

Ready for the giveaway? Here’s what you need to do!

The Giveaway

We’re giving away one Diary of a Wimpy Kid gift pack to one lucky winner. The gift pack includes:

· Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (book)
· The past two movies on DVD (Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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