Translators

Birnbaum

Rubin

Mysteries of Translation

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Translators
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:

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."

Birnbaum:

"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."