This blog is meant as an open forum where translators of Haruki Murakami can share ideas and discuss solutions to problems encountered in the process of translating his works. It was launched by two translators of Murakami into Norwegian and Polish, Ika Kaminka and Anna Zielinska-Elliott. Some of us have collaborated in the past, and many of us are in touch regularly by e-mail, but the publication of the new novel in 2013 served as a catalyst for the creation of an online translation blog.
Friday, August 2, 2013
An Interview with Philip Gabriel, the Translator of Tsukuru Tazaki into English
The Australian has published an interview with Philip Gabriel, the American translator of Murakami who is currently working on Tsukuru Tazaki. Unfortunately we don't find much information about the translation of the latest novel. Here are some fragments:
WITH obtuse and enigmatic characters, surreal plotlines and even talking animals, the work of celebrated Japanese author Haruki Murakami is no picnic for translators. It took a team of two to produce, in 2011, the English translation of his epic 2009 novel 1Q84.
Murakami, regularly touted as a Nobel prize candidate, is back on the Japanese bestseller lists with a new novel, Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. And the man chosen to produce the English version is one of the duo who worked on 1Q84, J. Philip Gabriel.
In an interview with Review, Gabriel, a professor of East Asian studies at the University of Arizona, says English readers can expect a more tightly focused novel this time. The book, which has sold more than one million copies in Japan since its release in March, follows the journey of a 36-year-old engineer who decides to revisit traumatic events from his past.
(...) Gabriel describes Murakami's new work as sombre but is reluctant to expand on the book while in the middle of the lengthy translation. He is happy, though, to talk about his highly specialised craft and what it's like to render Murakami's words into another language.
"I think you have to love language, have a lot of patience and energy, and be able to live with frustration," he says.
Gabriel, who has met Murakami only once but communicates with him frequently via email, says he translates three pages of the author's original text a day.