In my last blog entry I ran on quite a bit about what I think translation is, or at least should be. I was delighted to find that I am not alone! I was equally delighted to see that some very talented people did a much better job of expressing what I was trying to say.
Once you've figured out what the author really wanted to say (which can be quite a learning experience all in itself), you have to figure out how to say it in translation. Since you (the reader) are probably an English speaker, most of this column will assume you are translating into English. That's quite convenient, because it's what I translate into, which means I have a better chance of actually knowing what I'm talking about.
I've had a few people ask me about what Kurodahan Press is trying to do. Some of them come from technical translation, and seem to have problems understanding that a dictionary and familiarity with field-specific jargon aren't sufficient. Some are monolingual English speakers, and wonder why the author said this instead of the more obvious that. And some just want to read a good story and wonder why I don't translate using Babelfish or whatever. I thought it might be a good time to explain what I think literary translation is.
Some time ago I was speaking to Asamatsu Ken, and he insisted that I read something by a new author, a woman named Takano Fumio (高野史緒), which is a pen-name, of course. He said he'd tell her to get in contact with me. That was fine; I already have a reading list at least a decade long, and adding another book or three to the stack would hardly make much difference.