Friday, August 2, 2013

Visualizing translation #3

Anna Zielinska-Elliott writes:

In Chapter 15 of the novel, Tsukuru Tazaki travels to Finland and visits the small town of Hämmenlinna. Normally I would not have felt the urge to see the images of a town before translating its description, but there was sentence that I struggled with a bit.  The protagonist is in a town square and sees a church on the other side of it. The church is described as 丸い緑の屋根を持ったずんぐりとした教会. (p. 266) Later, black birds appear and are busily flying 屋根から屋根へ --> from roof to roof? How many roofs could a single church have? Puzzled by this, I decided to look at at map of Hämmenlinna on Google Maps and see if I could locate a church near the main square. I am well aware, of course, that descriptions like this can be purely fictional, but still thought it might be worth a try. After finding a church (Hämeenlinnan kirrko) that bordered on the main town square, I changed to a street view mode. Here is the result:

From the picture, it does appear that Murakami is describing an actual church. Perhaps he has visited Hāmeenlinna himself? Looking at the photograph, it is in fact very easy to see how the birds could have been moving from one part of the roof to another part, i.e., "from rooftop to rooftop." Here is a bird's eye view:

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