Haruki Murakami And The Art Of Japanese Translations

Perhaps the best-known Japanese author outside Japan. Perhaps he is the only contemporary Japanese writer anyone outside of Japan knew.

According to him, he doesn’t read his works in English. It would lose its original meaning and to him, it’s essential that his works be understood in the native Japanese. The translator here, therefore, plays a critical role in shaping how the novel would be like. Translation is no easy feat. To translate a novel requires delicate finesse and meticulous attention to the smallest details.

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

It’s suffice to say we are reading Murakami through the words and mind of the translator. That doesn’t mean it’s less interesting, but to really grasp the prose of the author, it’s important to read them in the intended language.

While I caught the film “The Great Gatsby” in cinema recently, I’ve yet reach for the novel. Murakami cited The Great Gatsby as the inspiration behind his works and that alone warrants a tick in my growing to-read list.

(via The New Yorker)