Quote of the Day

Image result for lost in translation

“For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.”

― Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Easily one of my favourite scenes from one of my favouritest movies, as it captures, well, the title of the movie.

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TRANSLATOR: He say, “More intensheety.”

BILL BABY: That’s it? That’s all he said?

If I’m to use a more serious quote to capture today’s theme, I’d use this one from the German philosopher Walter Benjamin.

“It is the task of the translator to release in his own language that pure language that is under the spell of another, to liberate the language imprisoned in a work in his re-creation of that work.”

― Walter Benjamin Illuminations: Essays and Reflections

As it were, I’m working on two translations right now, one inbound (into my native language) and one outbound (into my second language). They’re both challenging, of course, if in different ways. Hence, I’ve been thinking a lot about the art of translation lately.

I plan on doing a post on the nuts and bolts of translation in the near future, specifically from a far-out language like Korean (which, comparatively speaking, is very similar to Japanese), but if you have a chance to read an author like Murakami Haruki in English, it’s interesting to see the different styles his main translators have employed over the years, from Alfred Birnbaum to Jay Rubin to Philip Gabriel.

Finally, one more quote on “translation” from a literary point of view and from none other than the great American author of books like White Noise and Underworld:

“When I work, I’m just translating the world around me in what seems to be straightforward terms. For my readers, this is sometimes a vision that’s not familiar. But I’m not trying to manipulate reality. This is just what I see and hear.”

― Don DeLillo 

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