A Course in Translation●岩渕デボラ

2013/03/08

岩渕デボラ(いわぶち・でぼら)


日英翻訳者、(有)南向き翻訳事務所経営、群馬県立女子大学講師。米国カリフォルニア州パシフィック大学卒業。在学中に青山学院大学に留学。1978年に英語教師兼協力宣教師として来日し、それ以来群馬県前橋市に在住。著書に『eリーディング英語学習法』『なるほど英語ライティング』(共著、講談社)Diversity in Japan: A Reader(共著、金星堂)、訳書に星野富弘のLove from the Depths─The Story of Tomihiro Hoshino(『愛、深き淵より』、(共訳、立風書房/学習研究社)、高樹のぶ子のTranslucent Tree(『透光の樹』、Vertical Books)、宮部みゆきのThe Devil’s Whisper(『魔術はささやく』)、The Sleeping Dragon(『龍は眠る』、ともに旧講談社インターナショナル)などがある。
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最初に書評のさわりを日本語で要約します。本の詳しい中身と特徴については、英語でお楽しみください。
 
翻訳者は皆「自分のやり方」を確立して仕事をし、日々の作業で原文をどこまで忠実に訳せばよいのかと悩み、一線を超えないぎりぎりのところで足したり引いたりの作業をしています。他の翻訳者と情報交換することもありますが、十分とは言えません。そんなとき、The Routledge Course in Japanese Translation, by Yoko Hasegawaとの出会いが、私の翻訳者としての生活を大きく変えました。著者はカリフォルニアのUCバークレーで教鞭をとるYoko Hasegawa教授です。この本は豊富な例を提示し、詳細かつ学術的に翻訳に関わる多くの問題点と技法を解説しています。この本を読み、長年の翻訳に関する迷いが解消されると同時に、今まで積み重ねてきた自分の知識と理解の裏付けを得ることができました。またより良い翻訳技法や翻訳における問題解決の考 え方を学んだばかりでなく、著者が提案する創造的(creative)な翻訳の可能性にも勇気づけられました。この本は、翻訳を教えるテキストとしてばかりでなく、座右の書として、これから何度も何度も読み返すことになるでしょう。
 

The Routledge Course in Japanese Translation, by Yoko Hasegawa. (London: Routledge, 2012). ISBN 978-0-415-48686-6. Price ¥3,893
 
 
Working on our own, we translators get used to doing things our own way and scrambling for resources. We occasionally communicate with other translators and share notes, but not nearly enough. We worry about what to change, what to leave the same, what to delete, what to add. What does it mean to be “true to the original,” what “crosses the line”?
     Many of these questions have been answered for me in The Routledge Course in Japanese Translation by University of California at Berkeley (UCB) professor Yoko Hasegawa. There are seven chapters in the book: “Kinds of Meaning I and II,” “Discourse Genre,” “Understanding the Source Text,” “Translation Techniques,” “Translation Studies ” (history of translation), and “Translating Projects.” Hasegawa makes detailed explanations using academic terms. It is rather difficult to understand, but there are many examples in Japanese and English to make it all clear. In a word, this book validates what I have been doing all these years and offers many new ways to do a better job, giving multiple suggestions for every contingency along with the encouragement to be creative.
     Rather than diving into “how to translate,” Prof. Hasegawa begins by explaining the value of learning translation as a unique skill, not only to make a living, but also as a way to more fully understand a language. By separating knowledge of a language from the ability to translate it, we can clearly see that knowing English does not equal ability to translate into natural Japanese and vice versa. According to the author, these are the six abilities and skills essential for translation (see p. 22):
1.  Linguistic and sociocultural knowledge of the SL [source language] and comprehension ability in it.
2.  Linguistic and sociocultural knowledge of the TL [target language] and expressive ability in it.
3.  Transfer competence. (Ability to express English in Japanese or Japanese in English)
4.  Knowledge of the topic and related research skills.
5.  Knowledge of text types and their conventions (i.e. academic, for mass media, corporate report, copywriting, emailing, and so on.)
6.  Ability to evaluate and discuss translations objectively.
     Thus it is clear that mere language ability is only part of the job. For the professional translator, having the terminology to identify the skills we are practicing bolsters our confidence in what we are doing and helps us explain it when we need to. Prof. Hasegawa states that “strong interpersonal skills” are a requirement of a good translator, and gives a quote about the need for a “truly empathetic spirit.” 
Once we understand what translation is, we move on to Kinds of Meaning I and II (chapters 2 and 3). In these riveting parts of the book, Hasegawa explains the myriad differences in English and Japanese, and the different possibilities for expression. For example, she devotes eight pages (including exercises) to six ways to deal with proper nouns that may not make sense to someone unfamiliar with the source language. I do recognize these approaches, but I often spend a lot of time trying to decide whether or not to translate a proper noun as it is rather than take one of the other, certainly better, recourses, including (1) translate the meaning literally, (2) explain rather than translate, (3) substitute using another proper noun, (4) omit, (5) add a word or phrase identifying the category or nature of the referent, and (6) substitute a proper noun with a categorical noun. (pp. 30-34).
By the time we have looked at the “Kinds of Meaning” chapters, it is becoming clear just how sticky it can be to translate something, but also how many ways there are to accomplish it, and always with the knowledge that the translation will never be exactly the same as the original.
     As a native English speaking translator, I am deeply indebted to Prof. Hasegawa and those who assisted her in this eight-year project. I also recommend it to native Japanese speaking translators because, not only is it a thorough study of translation theory and practice, but it is well organized and easy to follow. In fact, I encourage anyone with an interest in translation to immediately buy a copy and benefit from the countless points I was unable to discuss here. I intend to keep my already dog-eared copy of The Routledge Course in Japanese Translation close at hand, both for teaching and for my own translation work, for many years to come.
 
 
 
Interview:
 
店主:デボラさんの日本との関わりを教えてください。

Deborah:  I first came to Japan when I was 17 as a part of a sister-city program. I was determined to go abroad, and going to Japan was my first opportunity. In college I came again for a one-year program—and that’s where I met Kazuko Enda! I graduated from college in the US in 1978 in the middle of a recession when jobs were difficult to find. Once again, I came to Japan. I got a job teaching English at a girls high school in Maebashi. It was not long before I married a “local boy” and settled down in Maebashi permanently. Now I’ve lived here more than half my life. It is my home, and I don’t think I could live anywhere else.
 
 
店主翻訳の仕事は何が魅力でしょうか?

Deborah:  I began translation when my younger daughter was two. I have always loved writing in English and studying Japanese. Translation combined my two favorite things. It also took care of a personal problem I had. Raising children in Japan, living with my mother-in-law, and teaching at school turned out to be very stressful. There was noise and chaos 24 hours a day. One great benefit of translation was spending time alone in silence. I was also lucky to begin about the time fax machines and word processors made it possible to work from home. It was the perfect career for me. I loved what I did, had a good income, was home for my family, and maintained my sanity. I have never wanted to do anything else.

 

店主実務翻訳以外に、高樹のぶ子、渡辺淳一、宮部みゆきの文学作品の英訳もされていますね?文化の違いがより濃く反映される、文学作品の場合はどのように英訳するのですか?
 
Deborah:  Business translations must be plain and easy to understand. Achieving that takes a certain set of skills. Literature, though, must be art, and that requires a different skill set. You can’t just tell a story. A reader must enjoy the way a story is told as well as the story itself. The original writer has managed to do that. The translator must interpret that art in a way readers of another language can appreciate and still be true to the original. It’s much more difficult than people realize. I try to create a voice for each of the characters in a book. I get images of the character and then try to create a voice that would make sense for that character if that character were an English speaker. For example, Japanese tends to translate into very formal English. But if the character in a novel is a teenage boy, you have to rethink the way a teenage boy would say the same thing—if he were Japanese but spoke English. I find it difficult to get into a translation until I have developed these voices.
 
We translators do everything we can to translate a book well, but, unfortunately, we will always be mired in the original to a certain degree. Some people think that a translation can be accepted as it is, straight from the translator. That’s ridiculous. I believe editors are vital. The translator needs the assistance of someone who can help develop the characters and settings to keep the English-reading audience engaged. A translator and editor working together can keep a book true to the original but make it much more interesting to read. 


 
 
Translucent Tree『透光の樹』高樹のぶ子
 

Beyond the Blossoming Fields『花埋み』渡辺淳一
 

Devil’s Whisper 『魔術はささやく』宮部みゆき
 
 
イ ンタビューで判明したと思いますが、実は岩渕デボラさんは店主の長年にわたる親友です。彼女はインタビューで深いところに触れています。日本語に訳そうと 試みたのですが、本人を良く知っているだけに、訳すとsomething lost in translationの感がぬぐえず、原文のまま掲載しました。


 

コラムオーナー

遠田 和子
(えんだ かずこ)

 
日英翻訳の傍ら翻訳学校での講師、またプレゼン研修の講師をしています。著書に、「英語なるほどライティング」、「Google英文ライティング」、「eリーディング英語学習法」、「あいさつ・あいづち・あいきょうで3倍話せる英会話」(講談社)があります。趣味は読書・映画・旅行です。また英語スピーチの練習、バレエのレッスンを続けています。それぞれ少しでも上手くなるため、地道に努力しています。

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