"suckle" is ok as a word for picture book?

Algernon

Member
Japan, Japanese
Hi everyone

Could I ask you a help?

I was asked to proofread a translation of a picture book, which was about every one being raised thanks to the mum's milk when they were baby.

The draft of the translation at my hand uses the word "suckle". Although it means like the breast feeding, I am not sure if this verb should be used in picture books which target small children aged 5 years or below. The current
translation applies the verb to the picture book in the way like " A squirrel child is no longer a baby, eating acorns. Crunch! Crunch! But look, it suckled from Mom’s breast as a baby. Glug! Glug!"

Do small children generally understand the meaning of "suckle"? Otherwise, is there any better word for picture book as an alternative of "suckle".

Any comment is highly appreciated!
 
  • Algernon

    Member
    Japan, Japanese
    What is the picture that goes with this text? In other words, how graphic is it?
    Many thanks for your post.

    Actually, I don’t have any drawing on this picture book. The texts are what I only received. I guess that various animals are pictured about the gap between when they were a baby, drinking mum's milk and after grew up to eat something by themselves. Maybe, the context of the picture book is to teach
    small children the fact that everyone was brought up thanks to the mum's milk, not grew up by themselves.

    I hope it will help you make a suggestion for me.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    If they're actually suckling at Mum's breast, then you have two choices: use "suckle" or avoid it entirely.

    1. "This young squirrel is no longer a baby, so it eats acorns. Crunch! Crunch! But look, it suckled at Mom’s breast as a baby. Glug! Glug!"

    2. "This young squirrel is no longer a baby, so it eats acorns. Crunch! Crunch! But look, it drank Mom's milk as a baby. Glug! Glug!" (The presumption is that we see an illustration of a baby squirrel suckling – and other animal babies doing the same.)

    If the draft included "suckle," then it's probably wise to use it – but I don't know how knowledgeable five-year-olds are these days, or what we would like to teach them at what age. Whenever I'm in doubt, I give the client two versions and let them choose. It doesn't take much longer – and whatever you use can become a template for other animal babies: you don't have to give them two versions for every animal.

    One last thing: this sounds like a children's book put out by a milk producer or a nutritionist. If the major focus is "milk," that lends more weight to my second suggestion, which avoids "suckle" and "breast," while specifically naming "milk" in order to emphasize it.
     

    Algernon

    Member
    Japan, Japanese
    If they're actually suckling at Mum's breast, then you have two choices: use "suckle" or avoid it entirely.


    1. "This young squirrel is no longer a baby, so it eats acorns. Crunch! Crunch! But look, it suckled at Mom’s breast as a baby. Glug! Glug!"

    2. "This young squirrel is no longer a baby, so it eats acorns. Crunch! Crunch! But look, it drank Mom's milk as a baby. Glug! Glug!" (The presumption is that we see an illustration of a baby squirrel suckling – and other animal babies doing the same.)

    If the draft included "suckle," then it's probably wise to use it – but I don't know how knowledgeable five-year-olds are these days, or what we would like to teach them at what age. Whenever I'm in doubt, I give the client two versions and let them choose. It doesn't take much longer – and whatever you use can become a template for other animal babies: you don't have to give them two versions for every animal.

    One last thing: this sounds like a children's book put out by a milk producer or a nutritionist. If the major focus is "milk," that lends more weight to my second suggestion, which avoids "suckle" and "breast," while specifically naming "milk" in order to emphasize it.
    RE:
    Wow!

    Thank you very much for the detailed explanation and the professional-wise suggestion. You really helped me. I will follow what you told me here to complete my task. Especially it is an useful advice to present our clients the two choices of translation so that they can pick up what they feel better. I would like to make the most of this way from now on.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Actually, I don’t have any drawing on this picture book. The texts are what I only received. I guess that various animals are pictured about the gap between when they were a baby, drinking mum's milk and after grew up to eat something by themselves.

    Maybe, the context of the picture book is to teach small children the fact that everyone was brought up thanks to the mum's milk, not grew up by themselves.
    Just as new forum members sometimes ask questions without offering context – thinking it's unimportant – so clients often do the same by dealing with images and words separately. They talk to the art directors and the copywriters/translators, but never let both see the entire project.

    In the future, it would be good if you can ask the client for low-resolutions images – or even sketches, if the art director is still working on the final drawings/photos. Those will give you a real feel for what's being done and will help you create the best translation for your client. Sometimes we have to insist on things for the benefit of the person we're working for. :)
     
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