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Book group?

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Re: Book group?

Postby MMM » Mon 11.10.2008 4:22 am

becki_kanou wrote:Also, this type of discrepancy is probably very uncommon, but a student of mine really loved the book "Scarlett" (the sequel to "Gone with the Wind" so she decided she would try to read at least the last chapter in English. It was completely different from the last chapter she remembered from reading the Japanese version, so she asked me to check them to make sure it wasn't just her lack of English knowledge. Reading the last few pages in both versions, they were completely different, to an extant that simply could not be explained by loose/natural translation. They actually portrayed different scenes! Not a real worry for any books we might read, but I just wanted to throw this out there.

MMM, as a professional translator are you aware of other translators doing anything like this?

Also a suggestion from me; would anyone be interested in reading some of Edogawa Rampo's short stories?


This probably isn't the place to go too deep into this topic, but I sort of feared I might open a can of worms with the question.

The short answer to your question, Becki, is no. These kinds of changes usually do no occur in translation, but happen in editing. I know of edits that have been made of my work, post-translation, by request of the Japanese publisher. There were minor changes made to one title I worked on out of a copyright fear (which was pretty paranoid, in my eyes, but didn't change the enjoyment of the story). To have a final chapter be complete different is something I haven't heard of...but at the same time I have read 100 different translations of Basho's most famous haiku.

Hell, maybe that could add to the discussion.
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Re: Book group?

Postby becki_kanou » Mon 11.10.2008 4:32 am

spin13 wrote:I thought I had heard something like that, too, but upon a little digging it turns out I was thinking of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (which I have not, however, read yet). It appears that not only is Jay Rubin's English version cut, but Murakami himself made cuts from the hardcover to paperback in Japanese as well. Read about it here from the translators' perspective.


Thanks for the link; that was some interesting reading. And now that I think about it, it was "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" rather than "Hardboiled Wonderland". I actally translated the first few pages of "Afterdark" as an excercise for myself a few years back, before the translation came out and I think Murakami's style is pretty easy for someone just beginning to read Japanese novels, since it seems much more Americanized than other authors I've read.
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