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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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村上春樹と翻訳

 
NHKラジオの『英語で読む村上春樹』を聴いている方には特に興味深い記事がニューヨーカーにありました。柴田元幸さんが日本での英文学受容の変遷にも触れています。

MAY 9, 2013
LOST IN TRANSLATION?
POSTED BY ROLAND KELTS

Last month, Haruki Murakami published a new novel in Japan. Before anyone could read it, the novel broke the country’s Internet pre-order sales record, its publisher announced an advance print run of half a million copies, and Tokyo bookstores opened at midnight to welcome lines of customers, some of whom read the book slumped in corners of nearby cafés straight after purchase. But this time, the mania was déjà vu in Japan—a near-replica of the reception that greeted Murakami’s last novel, “1Q84,” three years ago. The response was news to nearly no one. Except, maybe, Haruki Murakami.

“The fact that I have been able to become a professional working novelist is, even now, a great surprise to me,” Murakami wrote in an e-mail three days before the release of “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.” He added: “In fact, each and every thing that has happened over the past 34 years has been a sequence of utter surprise.” The real surprise, perhaps, is that Murakami’s novels now incite a similar degree of anticipation and hunger outside of Japan, even though they are written in a language spoken and read by a relatively small population on a distant and parochial archipelago in the North Pacific.

Murakami is a writer not only found in translation (in forty-plus languages, at the moment) but one who found himself in translation. He wrote the opening pages of his first novel, “Hear the Wind Sing,” in English, then translated those pages into Japanese, he said, “just to hear how they sounded.” And he has translated several other American writers into Japanese, most notably Raymond Carver, John Irving, J. D. Salinger, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose “The Great Gatsby” Murakami credits as the inspiration behind his entire career.

先ほどご紹介したMonkey Businessのシンポジウムは以下の部分を読んで知りました。英文学の受容のみならず、日本文学の紹介にも活躍されている柴田元幸さんはすごいです。

To fill that gap of understanding, Shibata and his friend Ted Goossen, a translator of Japanese literature and professor at Toronto’s York University, have for three years been publishing an annual English-language literary magazine called Monkey Business International: New Writing from Japan. (I am a contributing editor.) The project was born out of frustration: Why was Haruki Murakami the only contemporary Japanese writer anybody outside of Japan knew? Goossen urged Shibata to cull material from his own Japanese-language literary quarterly, the original Monkey Business. Murakami is a contributor, of course, but his writing takes on new colors alongside stories and poems by his Japanese contemporaries (younger and older), classic Japanese literature, and even Japanese manga.


村上春樹自身も翻訳にも注意を払っているようで、そのエピソードも紹介してくれています。

Still, I can’t help but wonder if the translation of literature, where the strengths and even personality of the original are embedded in the language, is futile, however heroic. “When you read Haruki Murakami, you’re reading me, at least ninety-five per cent of the time,” Jay Rubin, one of Murakami’s longtime translators, told me in Tokyo last month, explaining what he says to American readers, most of whom prefer to believe otherwise. “Murakami wrote the names and locations, but the English words are mine.” Murakami once told me that he never reads his books in translation because he doesn’t need to. While he can speak and read English with great sensitivity, reading his own work in another language could be disappointing—or worse. “My books exist in their original Japanese. That’s what’s most important, because that’s how I wrote them.”

But he clearly pays attention during the process of translation. Rubin said that the first time he translated a Murakami novel, “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,” he phoned the author several times a day to nail word choices and correct inconsistencies. “In one scene, a character had black-framed glasses. In another, the frames were brown. I asked him: Which one is it?” I found Rubin’s anecdote revealing. The Japanese language acquires much of its beauty and strength from indirectness—or what English-speakers call vagueness, obscurity, or implied meaning. Subjects are often left unmentioned in Japanese sentences, and onomatopoeia, with vernacular sounds suggesting meaning, is a virtue often difficult if not impossible to replicate in English.


村上春樹の翻訳についてのエッセイはリンク先で読めますが、彼はThe Great Gatsbyを訳しているんですよね。日本の映画上映は来月なので、原書と村上訳を読んでみたいなと思います。

Murakami would likely agree. In a recently published essay on his decision to render “The Great Gatsby” in Japanese, the sixty-four-year-old author reveals that it became something of a lifelong mission. He told others about his ambition in his thirties, and believed then that he’d be ready to undertake the challenge when he reached sixty. But he couldn’t wait. Like an overeager child unwrapping his presents, he translated “Gatsby” three years ahead of schedule. Translation, he writes, is similar to language and our relationship with our world. It, too, needs to be refreshed:

Translation is a matter of linguistic technique… which naturally ages as the particulars of a language change. While there are no undying works, on principle there can be no undying translations. It is therefore imperative that new versions appear periodically in the same way that computer programs are updated. At the very least this provides a broader spectrum of choices, which can only benefit readers.
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