Not thinking about the translator when reading a book originating
in another language can be considered the biggest sign of acknowledgment
of his/her work.
Transfering the athmosphere, style and background of a book originally
written in Japanese is very demanding and needs full and deep knowledge
of both cultures.
Nothing illustrates the importance of the translator better than
the following example. It's the opening sentence of Wind-up Bird
Chronicle translated by A. Birnbaum and J. Rubin:
"When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti
and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini's
The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking
pasta. "I wanted to ignore the phone, not only because the spaghetti
was nearly done, but because Claudio Abbado was bringing the London
Symphony to its musical climax."
"I'm in the kitchen cooking spaghetti when the woman calls. Another
moment until the spaghetti is done; there I am, whistling the prelude
to Rossini's La Gazza Ladra along with the FM radio. Perfect spaghetti-cooking
music. "I hear the telephone ring but tell myself, Ignore it. Let
the spaghetti finish cooking. It's almost done, and besides, Claudio
Abbado and the London Symphony Orchestra are coming to a crescendo."