Thursday, February 4, 2016

Norwegian Translation of "Men Without Women" and Dialect in "Yesterday"

The Norwegian translation of Onna no inai otokotachi just came out from Pax. The translator is Yngve Johan Larsen and the title is Menn ten kvinner, with "men" and "women" both in plural. (For more on different translations of this title see the post of March 30, 2015.) 

I wrote to Yngve to ask how he handled the dialect in the story "Yesterday." To my surprise, I learned that the solution used in Norwegian is somewhat similar to the solution used in Polish, in that a dialect from the Western part of the country was chosen to represent Osaka-ben. In the Norwegian case, however, the process was slightly different: after a number of solutions suggested by the translator, the editor decided to seek outside help. 

Here is a quote from Yngve's e-mail explaining what happened: 

The decision on the dialect was left to the very end. We tried several dialects, and also the other written language in Norway, nynorsk (new Norwegian), but in the end my editor asked a quite famous Norwegian writer to translate my lines into his own dialect. His name is Frode Grytten:
He previously wrote the foreword to my translation of "Hashiru koto ni tsuite kataru toki ni, boku no kataru koto", and he's a Murakami fan.

His dialect is from the western part of Norway, and it is very far from written Norwegian. It's not a city dialect like Osaka-ben, but it can be considered "hearty" and "melodic." There is, as I am sure you remember, a description of Kansai-ben at the beginning of "Yesterday," and Grytten's dialect fits this nicely. There has only been one review so far as I know, and the critic commented positively on the choice to use Grytten.

Thank you, Yngve!

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