|Gili Bar-Hillel Semo|
1974 (age 39–40)
|Notable work(s)||Harry Potter|
|Notable award(s)||See Awards|
|Relative(s)||Yehoshua Bar-Hillel (grandfather)|
Bar-Hillel is the daughter of Maya Bar-Hillel, a professor of psychology at the Hebrew University, and the granddaughter of philosopher and linguist Yehoshua Bar-Hillel. Her mother frequently lectured in the United States and as a result she spent a lot of time there as a child, learning to read English before Hebrew.
Bar-Hillel studied at Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, and Harvard University, and received a Bachelor of Arts in dramatic writing and dramaturgy. She lives and works in Tel Aviv, and is married with three children.
Before translating the Harry Potter series, Bar-Hillel was editor of children's books for the Israeli publishing house Keter, worked for the major Israeli newspaper Haaretz, directed plays, and produced radio programs. She is a member of the International Wizard of Oz Club and has been from before she translated the Harry Potter series. She has also translated books by Jacqueline Wilson, Diana Wynne Jones and Noel Streatfeild, and adapted an annotated edition of The Wizard of Oz for Hebrew readers. As well, she also reviewed picture books for the Israeli women's weekly LaIsha for several years. She is currently editor of Children and YA books for Graff Publishing in Israel.
Harry Potter series
Bar-Hillel began translating the series in 1999, starting with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Since the success of the series, Bar-Hillel has been described as a "bona fide Israeli celebrity" with a "nationwide" reputation. Because of the enormous popularity of Harry Potter, her work has come under close scrutiny by the Israeli public, especially for any deviations from the original text. The translation process was made more difficult by not knowing how the plot would develop in later books, the gender of certain characters, and the problem of how to translate various issues that are not necessarily cross-cultural, such as references to food and religion.
At the Jerusalem International Book Fair in 2007, a large audience gathered to hear her talk about the translation process, with fans elbowing their way in for autographs and photos. She told reporters: "It's ridiculous, this is something that never happens to translators. The attention I've received is because I'm translating Harry Potter. It's Harry, not me".
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (A part of the Harry Potter series)
- Quidditch Through the Ages (A part of the Harry Potter series)
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard (A part of the Harry Potter series)
Other books (partial list):
- Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
- Midnight by Jacqueline Wilson
- Secrets by Jacqueline Wilson
- Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
- Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
- White Boots by Noel Streatfeild
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (annotated edition)
- Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (annotated edition)
- Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
- Best Translation of a SF&F book (2008): Gili Bar-Hillel Semo for Translating the book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, published by Yedioth Books.
As well J. K. Rowling won for best translated book for the same novel (accepted by Bar-Hillel):
- Best Translated YA or Children SF&F Book (2008): Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling, translated by Gili Bar-Hillel, published by Yedioth Books.
- When Harry’ met Hebrew, Cleveland Jewish News, Sarah Bronson, October 18, 2007
- The Child and the Book 2007, Boğaziçi University
- Gili Bar-Hillel, Greenmanreview.com
- Graff Tsa'ir - A series of books for young people (Hebrew)
- Harry Potter is here, Yedioth Ahronoth, Reuven Weiss, July 9, 2007
- The Magic Continues, Jerusalem Post, Molly Nixon, July 19, 2007
- Harry Potter fans give a warm welcome to Hebrew translator, Associated Press, March 2, 2007
- The Geffen Award, 2008, Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasty