Saturday, 8 January 2011

Some writers are potatoes

Interesting to see this clip of Paul Auster answer a question about how well different writers translate. Most readers read many books in translation – its part of how I got interested in Japan, via the books of Yukio Mishima. (Mishima worked closely with translators, turning Gogo no Eiko – The Afternoon Towing – into The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea, for example.)  And I have seen many a movie with subtitles. (Though I once showed the Nic Roeg movie Don't Look Now on DVD to Japanese friends who complained of the ordinary conversation between the characters: but then Donald Sutherland's character's response to a point by Julie Christie, "Nothing is what it seems", was translated as "Obviously", the exact opposite of its meaning and the set-up such lines play! That, however, was simply careless translation.)

You can watch the whole Paul Auster/Motoyuki Shibata presentation about translation online. But though I would have gone to the actual presentation, the internet can't hold my attention for that long…

No comments: