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Thread: TWO VOICES: Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel on Translating Murakami

  1. #1
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    Default TWO VOICES: Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel on Translating Murakami


    http://catranslation.org/blogpost/jay-rubin-j-philip-gabriel-translating-murakami



    This is an interesting article and more interesting podcast. Our group's translators will certainly empathise more with the speakers but I'm sure everyone who's ever read a book in translation will begin to give more credit to translators.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: TWO VOICES: Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel on Translating Murakami

    Thanks Stiffelio, I haven't read any Murakami yet, can you recommend him?

    Reading a new Don Quixote in translation recently I noticed how accomplished the translator's job actually is/was. A few of the details which stood out for me were the use of English slang, and even quotes from Shakespeare, but only as fragments in the case of the latter. This plays on the familar, provides a kind of equivalent vibe to the Spanish. It gave the prose an earthy feel, rendered it modern and understandable, and at times very funny.
    "Man cannot do without beauty, and this is what our era pretends to want to disregard"
    Myth of Sysyphus ~ Albert Camus

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    Default Re: TWO VOICES: Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel on Translating Murakami

    As someone who translates books myself, I am thankful that the Center for the Art of Literary Translation has once again highlighted our profession (not pastime, hobby, sport, etc.) of translating books into English so that Americans and Brits can read them.

    I didn't honestly have the patience to listen to a whole hour on the subject of translating Murakami, but as you both suggest, listening to two translators talking about they way they do things is usually stimulating.

    One small problem with such discussions is that probably 99% of us listening to the talk would not be able to read the original Japanese, so what is being discussed here is two versions of a text we cannot access directly. But the translators try their best to present the problems involved.

    An interesting thing about Murakami is that he has been influenced by the American novel (including crime novel), from what I can gather. Another, that he plays with the sounds of the names of letters, and so on in Japanese. It's valuable to understand the dilemmas facing a translator, in the same way as any translator of "Finnegans Wake" would have problems with the multi-puns, portmanteau words, and so on.

    The Two Voices idea has been picked up in Britain, where they also have "duels" between two translators of the same work or excerpt. I'm really hoping that the UK will start a larger Centre for the Art of Literary translation too, with the same scope and frequent events, to help raise the visibility of the literary translator. We already have the BCLT in Norwich, but maybe something bigger and London-based is needed as well. We are not conjurors, merely people who face the challenge of making foreign words, expressions, and scenes comprehensible to English-speakers.

    While the Center will tend to focus partly on Latin American literature, any British Centre could focus on the many cultures and languages of Europe. The Center even has a bookshop. A Translation Bookshop in the UK would be welcome in the interim period before translations are accepted as normal in Britain and stocked in more conventional bookshops. You can buy books in translation online, but you can't really browse there.

    Anyway, I hope those of you that do listen to the whole Murakami programme get something out of it.

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