Why is it important to read books in transation? For many of the same reasons that Grace Lin discussed in The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf. It is one way to build empathy in ourselves and in young readers.
But translating is a balancing act. On the one hand, you are translating books from another language for a reason. You want readers to experience a story that is unlike anything that would be originally told in their own language and culture. You want readers to read this story. When they do, they will see things that they have in common with people from this culture — they like their pets, have family problems or worry about getting their homework done too. But they will also get a feel for this other culture and in some ways it will be very different from their own. And this is where it gets tricky — how different is too different to be accessible?
Check out the Eerdman’s video here for more on this topic.
Check this out for a feel on how editor’s make these decisions.