Sunday, March 25, 2018
"Fruit Dropped to the Ground by a Squirrel": Myanmar Translator of Killing Commendatore on Translating Through English
The Myanmar translation of Killing Commendatore came out in January. The translator's name is Ye Mya Lwin. Here is the picture of the cover and of the translator holding the book (Zon Pann/The Myanmar Times).
An article in Myanmar Times published on March 23 tells the story of the translator and of the publication of Japanese literature in Japan. Apparently, the following Murakami books are available in Burmese: Sputnik Sweetheart, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, What I talk about, when I talk about running, Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore, Pinball, 1973 and South of the Border, West of the Sun.
Ye Mya Lwin has translated over 70 books from Japanese, including Soseki's Botchan, books by Kawabata, and Burmese Harp by Michio Tateyama, which apparently became widely known in Myanmar. The article explains that Ye Mya Lwin couldn't find a published for Botchan, so he financed the publication himself in 1995 by selling his wife's gold chain!
He is quoted in the article as saying:
“Books written by Asian writers can’t be perfectly translated by translators from the West because Asian culture totally differs from that of west. ... Direct translation [from Japanese to Burmese] is like eating a fresh fruit on a tree while translating a book already translated in English is like eating a fruit dropped to the ground by a squirrel.”
On this last point, I could not agree more with Mr Ye!
You can read the whole article here.