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Leader's Handbook Italian Translation

Sheri Khan
Rome, Italy
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 35 No. 3, June-July 1999, p. 68

Can you imagine being a Leader who is totally dependent upon someone else's interpretation of LLL procedures and policies? Can you picture yourself trying to do the work of a Leader without the LEADER’S HANDBOOK?

LLL Italy has been in existence for 20 years. Various attempts have been made in the past to translate and write articles explaining the Leader role in our Area Leaders' Letter, Latte e Miele (Milk and Honey), including entire chapters (2 and 6) of the 1989 edition of the LEADER’S HANDBOOK. It became clear when we had almost 60 leaders, over 70% of whom did not understand English, that if we were to do our jobs well, we needed this vital text in our own language.

Three or four years ago, the impetus to translate the LEADER’S HANDBOOK was provided by Raffaella Intrito, our Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (CLA) at the time. She felt strongly that if we were to help Applicants prepare well for leadership, we needed the handbook. In the absence of funds, as well as doubt that we would be able to cover our costs through sale of the handbook, it was decided that our Translations Coordinator, Elise Arnone, would coordinate an all voluntary effort.

The pitfalls were many in a situation like this! Differences in translation styles, terminology and quality from chapter to chapter were obvious and difficult to avoid. At this point, Lucia Zoccali, professional translator and mother-in-law of one of our Leaders in Rome, came to our aid. She corrected-practically rewrote-the whole text. The quality of her work was superior, but due to family problems, the latest edition (1998) of the LEADER’S HANDBOOK was published before she was able to finish translating. We wondered what we should do. Was it worth printing something that was already out of date? Should we take the plunge and pay for an up-to-date translation? We could not afford to wait much longer. We needed the handbook urgently.

Mothers who visit LLLI's Web site often volunteer to translate information. One day I received an offer of help translating the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) into Italian from Raffaella Brignardello, a professional translator and mother who had contacted the Milan Group for breastfeeding information. Thanks to her, LLL Italy created a page of Italian information for the LLLI Web site and we stayed in touch. Raffaella started to attend Series Meetings regularly and she continued to translate FAQs and articles.

LLL translations are special!. Not only does a translator need to know her own language and colloquial American English well, she needs to understand both the scientific and nonscientific terminology that we in LLL use and the way we choose our words. With a short translation, it is not difficult go over it word by word, first with a Leader whose native tongue is English, then with an Italian Leader. With a longer publication this is almost impossible. After years as Area Publications Administrator, I am well aware that people capable of doing such a translation are hard to find, even if they are paid! When LLL Italy’s Administrative Council decided to fund a paid translation of the 1998 edition of the LEADER’S HANDBOOK, I immediately thought of Raffaella. We asker her if she would consider translating the handbook and to our delight she accepted.

Raffaella started translating in September 1998. At the time of this writing (February 1999) the handbook has been proofread by another mother in the Milan Group who is a professional proofreader and by our former CLA, Raffaella Intrito. The layout and index are almost complete.

Woking with our Translator was easy. She sent questions chapter by chapter to me by email. I answered the questions I could and passed on the ones I didn't know to people who could help with the answers. Raffaella’s ability to make cultural adaptations was excellent. For example, one of the pages we agonized about was the one on Series Meeting theme ideas (page 85)-full of Americanisms which just don't translate! Raffaella was able to incorporate information specific to our situation into the text. In addition our finances are run differently. Most Leaders order Italian materials from our warehouse in Brescia, but others order additional information from LLLI.

When we decided on the layout we reduced the margin size and saved some pages since many Leaders here recoil in horror at the idea of writing in the margin of a book. Since the handbook will be in loose-leaf format, those who wish can insert blank sheets to write on

We decided that we wanted to keep all the cartoons from the 1989 edition of the LEADER’S HANDBOOK and incorporate another series of cartoons by one of our Leaders, Antonella Sangone, into the title page for each chapter. Since only 90-100 copies of the handbook were needed at the moment, we have decided that we will not print it but only issue numbered photocopies which Leaders will be expected to put into ring binders. Photographs do not photocopy well, hence the decision to use cartoons instead of the photographs used in the English version.

The Appendix of the handbook will include LLL Italy's Constitution and bylaws, plus full-sized copies of materials such as meeting notices and telephone logs. Since it will be simple to remove the pages from the loose-leaf format, these can be photocopied easily.

The Italian translation of the LEADER ’S HANDBOOK was officially distributed to Leaders at LLL Italy's annual Area Conference on April 14-16, 1999, in Bellaria near Rimini on the Adriatric coast. A special conference session on using the handbook was offered. We have great hopes that the translation of the 1998 LEADER ’S HANDBOOK will simplify our work and be a useful point of reference for all of us.

Ed. Note: The LEADER’S HANDBOOK is an LLLI copyrighted book. A licensing agreement with LLLI is needed before a translated edition can be published.

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