Here comes Pipi Langshtrimp!

Here comes Pipi Langshtrimp!

She’s the daughter of a sailor lost at sea. She lives alone with a monkey and a horse. She might be the strongest girl in the world — she’s able to lift her horse with one hand! And being Swedish, she speaks one of the country’s official languages: Yiddish!

Yes, meet Pipi Langshtrimp, star of the latest translation project from Teaneck-born Arun Schaechter Viswanath and Swedish publisher Olniansky Tekst Farlag.

The translator and publisher made headlines in 2020 with their best-selling (at least by Yiddish standards) volume, “Harry Potter un der Filosofisher Shteyn.”

According to Schaechter Viswanath, translating Astrid Lindgren’s 1945 classic offered a different set of challenges than the Harry Potter book did. There was no need, after all, to translate original words like “muggles.”

What there was, he said, “was a really interesting balance of making sure I (and my Swedish publisher!) fully understood the nuances of certain turns of phrase, and then putting that into a Yiddish that is not a complete departure from the old-school children’s book style of the original but also reads modern.”

One specific challenge was to replicate Pippi’s poor spelling and penmanship — she did not, after all, attend school like an ordinary girl — when adapting Ingrid Vang Nyman’s illustrations for the Yiddish edition.

“In the original, the letters are mixed between uppercase and lowercase, words are spelled more as they are pronounced than they are written (due to Pippi’s lack of school), etc.,” Schaechter Viswanath said. “Whereas ‘poor writing’ in Yiddish is quite different.”

To write the childish letters in the illustrations, the team brought on board an 8-year-old Yiddish speaker — Psakhye Eliezer Conway, Schaechter Viswanath’s nephew.

“We had him write half in Ukrainian dialect (reflected in the vowels), misspell a loshn-koydesh word (הכמיס instead of החמש‭)‬, and generally write on the slightly sloppy side,” Schaechter Viswanath said.

You can pre-order it at


read more: