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Scholars Day: April 7, 2010

Weaknesses of Translation: Himiko and Her Lost Self

Often when translating a novel from its original language to English there are some important words omitted or changed. On a small scale these words can seem insignificant but when compared to other themes or characters a few omitted words can completely change the perspective a specific aspect of a novel is viewed. This paper deals with the issues surrounding translated works by focusing on the version of the novel A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Oe, translated by John Nathan. By focusing on a specific passage and retranslating it from the original version in Japanese a few key points stand out. The passage deals with the introduction of a character, Himiko, in which the word “lost” is excluded from the English translation. Through close reading, this omitted word becomes an integral part of understanding Himiko, giving a clear example of the flaws inherent in translated novels.

Presenter: Erica Sampson (Undergraduate Student)
Location: 219 Hartwell
Time: 10:45 am (Session II)