Amelia De Vaal

Amelia De Vaal - Translator

Portland, OR, USA

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I'm a translator and editor with almost 15 years' experience in the book industry. I especially love translation (Dutch, German and French into English and Afrikaans) – but as a highly-skilled editor and manuscript developer, I can also offer insight and expertise for all stages of book development.

During my in-house career as editor and translator for Protea Book House (South Africa's largest independent publishing house) and Penguin Books South Africa, I worked on a wide variety of publications, ranging from translations of bestselling children's literature from around the world as well as editing adult fiction and non-fiction. After moving to Portland, Oregon in 2011, I continued my relationship with Protea Book House – and since 2018, have been freelancing for Protea Book House, Penguin South Africa and Christian Art International.

Some of the books that I'm the most proud of, include my translations of the Dutch classics Het Leven en Werken van Kabouters, Jip & Janneke, Pluk van de Petteflet and Wiplala as well as my editorial work on the translations of Arnon Grunberg's Tirza, Frank Westerman's El Negro en ik, and the charming young adult novels Negen open armen and De Hemel van Heivisj by Benny Lindelauf.

Other significant fiction works include editing the Afrikaans translations of the entire Narnia-series; editing translations of J.R.R. Tolkien's The hobbit and The Lord of the Rings-trilogy and translating the whole German Hexe Lilli-series (a very successful middle grade series that was also made into a movie and a television series) into Afrikaans. I also loved translating German author Lilli Thal's extraordinary titles Joran Nordwind and Mimus into Afrikaans, as well as working with the classic Ottfried Preussler titles Die Kleine Hexe, Das Kleine Gespenst and Der Räuber Hotzenplotz.

Significant non-fiction titles include the Afrikaans translation of The Periodic Table Book (DK) and numerous titles from Usborne's "The story of"-series (The story of painting, The story of exploration, The story of invention, The story of astronomy and space).

How would I describe my work style and ethic? As a keen amateur pianist and choral singer – and with almost a decade's experience working from home – I can assure future clients of my diligence and discipline. Just like no pianist will start playing a piece and stop mid-phrase ... I simply have to finish a "melody" before setting it aside. And just like a musician works at finding just the right tone; just the right phrasing ... I believe that I can make your translation "sing" when my linguistic expertise meets your creative energy!

Book Translation
Translation Assessment
French to English
German to English
Children's - Non-fiction
Contemporary Fiction
Middle Grade
Picture Books
Young Adult


  • Elsabe Steenberg Prize (2012)

Work experience


Christian Art International
August, 2018 – April, 2020 (over 1 year)

Translation of children's Bibles, Christian fiction and devotionals – most recently working on a new family devotional by Joanna Teigen.

Editor, Translator and Proofreader

Protea Book House
May, 2007 – April, 2011 (almost 4 years)

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