Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Asymptote - October 2013

The October 2013 issues of the quarterly literary translation journal, Asymptote, was released this week featuring a collection of contemporary translations from around the world. One of the feature articles is a short story by Yoko Tawada (多和田葉子), translated into English by Sim Yee Chiang.

In translating Soulflight (飛魂) Sim Yee Chiang has used the ambiguous nature inherent in the reading of Japanese kanji, deliberately employed by Tawada, and has used the Mandarin Chinese reading of characters names to highlight the foreignness and ambiguity that Japanese readers would face in the original text. Introducing an addition foreignness into the English translation to provoke a similar response in the reader. It makes the translator a visible part of the translation, which I know is frowned upon in some circles, but I personally welcome Sim Yee Chiang's personal intrusion into the translation.

I applaud Asymptote for providing the original Japanese text in parallel with the translation, and also a recorded reading of the original Japanese.

Yoko Tawada writes in both Japanese and German and has received numerous awards including the 1993 Akutagawa Prize for The Bridgegroom was a Dog (犬嫁入り). An English translation by Margaret Mitsutani was released in 2003.

Asymptote October 2013 Issuse: http://www.asymptotejournal.com/

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