Posts Tagged ‘Translation Days 2022’

One Passage, Seven Translations—Natsuki Koyata

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

On November 19, Day 2 of SCBWI Japan Translation Days 2022, Takami Nieda led participants in a translation workshop using a passage from 望むのは by Natsuki Koyata. This is a YA-appropriate novel that Nieda is translating as The Brief Colorful Year of Being Fifteen; her engaging synopsis and several pages of context for the workshop passage appear here.

Six translators submitted translations of the passage, which were then blinded and discussed in a session open to all participants. Below are the original passage by Koyata, the six submitted translations, and a sample translation by Takami Nieda. The two characters speaking are the teens Koharu (who speaks first) and Ayumu; Ayumu is a ballet dancer.

Original Passage

「それが何? イメージと違ってがっかりって言いたいの?」口をついて出たその言葉は、しかし、その瞬間に小春の胸を貫いた。歩くんが都合のいい弱者でなかったことがどんなに自分を失望させたか、その失望がどんなに醜く、恥ずべきものだったか、小春はその痛みで初めて奥まで理解した。「あんたのイメージなんかどうだっていい」とそれでもなぜだか、自分自身を打ちのめしたくて言葉を継いだ。「これが現実のわたしだもん。あんたのイメージなんか、あんたのイメージする小春なんかぶっ殺してやる」

「殺せないよ。ぼくのイメージは本物だもん」たじろぎもせず、歩くんは返した。「ぼくのイメージはいつだって本物。いつだって現実だよ。脚はどの軌道を通るか、指先はどの高さまで達するか、イメージするからきれいに飛べる。イメージがすべてだ」そこで不意に、小春はぐらりと足元が揺らぐのを感じたが、「ぼくは白鳥だ。ぼくは王子だ」という屈強な宣言が、反対側から跳ね上げて小春を立たせた。「誰が気に入らなくたって、ぼくはイメージし続ける。そうして現実を作り続ける。つまらない幻想に、もうこれ以上振り回されたくないから」 

[Source: Nozomu no wa by Natsuki Koyata (Shinchosha, 2017)]

Translation A

“So, what? Disappointed I wasn’t like you thought?” Koharu spat.

Yet even as the words flew from her mouth, pain lanced across her chest. The hideous disappointment of Ayumu’s revelation, the sharp sting of shame, was like a physical blow.

“Who cares about what you think of me anyway,” she continued, inexplicably, somehow bent on making the situation worse. “This is who I really am. So whoever this imaginary version of Koharu is in your head, it’s time for her to die—bury her. She doesn’t exist.”

“You can’t just erase her,” Ayumu replied, unruffled. “What do you mean ‘not real’? My perception of you is a real thing—imagination is the beginning of reality. I can leap when I dance because I first imagine the arc of my legs, how my arms will extend. Perception is everything.” He paused.

“I become a regal swan. A prince.”

Koharu, who had begun to sag under the weight of his words, startled to attention at this sudden change of direction.

“If someone doesn’t like me,” he continued, “I continue with my image of myself anyway. This is how you create reality. I refuse to waste my time any more being boxed in by what is ‘normal.’”

Translation B

“So what are you getting at? Are you saying that you’re disappointed because I’m not who you thought I was?”

The words flew out of her mouth, but at the same time, they also pierced her heart. She had been disappointed when she realized that Ayumu wasn’t just some wishy-washy wimp, and this pain made her realize for the first time deep inside just how disgusting and disgraceful that disappointment was.

“I don’t care what your image of me is.”

But for some reason, she wanted to find words to continue bashing herself.

“This is the real me. Whatever image you have, I’ll destroy it – I’ll kill your Koharu.”

“You can’t. My images are real.”

Ayumu countered without hesitation.

“My images have always been real. The arc my feet will draw. The height my toes will reach. I can execute a jump well because I envision it. My images are everything.”

A sudden weakness in the legs caught Koharu off guard, but the defiant cries of “I am a swan. I am a prince.” bouncing up from the other side helped her stay on her feet.

“I’ll keep creating my images even if people don’t like it. This is how I create my reality. I’m tired of going around chasing some empty fantasy.”

Translation C

“What’s that supposed to mean? Are you saying you’re disappointed that I don’t live up to your image of me?” The words that came rushing out of Koharu’s mouth somehow stabbed her chest in the same moment. The pain caused her to perceive fully for the first time how ugly and shameful her own dismay had been, over Ayumu not being some weakling who could make her own life easier. “What do I care about your image of me?” she added, feeling that she wanted to clobber herself. “This is the real me,” she said. “Your image is nothing. I’ll murder the Koharu in your image!”

“You can’t murder her. My images are real,” Ayumu replied, not even flinching. “My images are always real. They become reality. I can jump because I visualize the arc my legs will trace, the height my fingertips will reach. The mental image is everything.

“I am a swan. I am a prince!”

Koharu felt her legs tremble as she listened to him, but his firm declaration from across the way brought her to her feet.

“No matter who hates it, I am going to keep visualizing,” he told her. “I am going to keep creating reality. I am sick of being tossed around by silly fantasies.”

Translation D

“What’s that all supposed to mean? I’m not like you imagined and now you’re disappointed?” Those were the words that spilled out, and the instant Koharu said them they pierced her soul. She suddenly understood how letdown she was that Ayumu wasn’t some weakling she could walk all over. On top of that she was crushed to realize how malicious that disappointment was—how shameful. And the pain of that shame took the revelation even deeper. “Well, I couldn’t care less how you think of me.” Now she felt like she was lashing out at herself, not Ayumu. “This is me. It’s who I am. I’ll murder that Koharu you think you know. The one in your head.”

“You can’t kill her. My images are the reality,” Ayumu came back without flinching. “Every image I’ve ever had is reality. I know which direction your legs will take you and how high your fingers can reach. You can fly because I’ve imagined it. My images of you are everything.” At that moment Koharu felt her knees buckle, until she heard Ayumu declare, “I’m a swan. I’m a prince!” and the words flew over from him to stand her back up. “It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, I won’t stop creating images, or reality. I’m not going to let myself get sucked in to any more inane illusions.”

Translation E

“So what? Do you want to say that you are disappointed that the picture you had of me is wrong?” These words were pouring out of Koharu’s mouth but, at the same time, they penetrated her heart. For the first time, deep down, Koharu understood how disappointed it had made her that Ayumu is not a pitiful and weak person; how ugly and embarrassing this disappointment is, and the hurt. “I don’t care what picture you have of me,” and still, for some reason, carried on beating herself up. “Because this is the real me. I will kill your picture, the picture you have of me.”

“You can’t kill it. My picture is the real thing,” Ayumu argued without flinching. “My picture is always the real thing. Always reality you know. What trajectory my feet will take; what height my fingertips will reach; because I picture it, I will fly beautifully. Visualisation is everything.” At that point, Koharu suddenly felt her confidence waver. Ayumu made a strong statement, “I am a swan. I am a prince”, which made things clear to Koharu. “Even if someone doesn’t like it, I continue with the visualisation. That way I can create my own reality. Because I don’t want to be affected by a meaningless illusion anymore,” said Ayumu.

Translation F

“And so what? You’re disappointed ’cause I’m not the kinda girl you thought I was, is that it?”

The words flew out of her mouth before she knew it, but at the same time, it sliced through her own heart. As soon as it stung her, Koharu realized deep down just how much she’d been disappointed that Ayumu wasn’t the convenient underdog that she’d imagined him to be, and just how ugly that disappointment was, something to be ashamed of.

“I don’t care what you think of me,” she pressed on, somehow feeling the urge to keep beating herself up. “This is the real me. Who cares how you see me? That Koharu in your head? I’ll just kill her off.”

“You can’t kill her. How I see you is real,” Ayumu answered, without batting an eyelash. “How I see things is always real. It’s always reality. It’s because I visualize it in my head—the arc that my legs will trace, how high my fingertips will reach—it’s because I see all that, that I can do a clean leap.” Koharu’s legs suddenly felt wobbly, but what Ayumu said next, his iron declaration, made her shoot up straight.

“I’m a swan. I’m a prince.”

He went on, “No matter what anyone says, I’ll keep envisioning things. And that’s how I’ll create the reality. I’m tired of getting pushed around by useless illusions.”

Sample Translation by Takami Nieda

“What? You’re disappointed I wasn’t who you imagined, is that it?” she shot back.

As the words tumbled out of her mouth, something pricked her heart. It was the shameful sting of having assumed Ayumu was a pushover who needed protecting.

“Who cares what you think anyway?” She continued in spite of herself, “This is who I am, Ayumu. So that precious illusion of Koharu you have in your head has to die.”

“You can’t kill her. My perception is real,” he said, without batting an eye. “When I’m dancing, I just have to imagine the arc of my legs, the shape of my arms all the way down to my fingertips—that’s how I can land a perfect jump. It all starts with perception.”

Raising his arms, he continued, “I can be a swan. I can be a prince!”

Just as her legs wobbled beneath her, Koharu felt herself being propped up by his confident declaration.

“I don’t care what anyone thinks about me,” he said. “I’m going to keep on imagining and making my own reality. I’m tired of getting yanked around by people’s assumptions.”

Announcing SCBWI Japan Translation Days 2022

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators presents

SCBWI Japan Translation Days 2022

Two days of online presentations, workshopping, and conversation for published and pre-published translators of Japanese children’s and young adult literature into English.

Dates: Saturday, November 12, 2022, and Saturday, November 19, 2022

Time: Meeting Room Opens 8:30 a.m. Sessions 9:00 a.m. – 1 p.m. JST

Place: Remote via Zoom

Fee: 3,500 yen for current SCBWI members; 5,000 yen for nonmembers. One fee covers both days. 

Translations of text for workshop with Takami Nieda due by November 5, 2022. Fee payments due by November 9, 2022.

Registration: To reserve your place and receive event details, send an email to japan (at) scbwi.org.

Recordings will be available to registered participants until the end of November 2022.

This event will be in English and Japanese. All dates and times are Japan Standard Time (JST). 

Schedule

Kathleen Merz

DAY 1: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12

8:30 Meeting Room Opens

8:50 Opening Remarks

9:00-9:45 A Conversation with Editor Kathleen Merz

At Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, half (or more) of the titles published each year are translations. Editorial Director Kathleen Merz responds to questions in a live interview about what it takes to publish children’s books in English translation.

Jocelyne Allen

9:45-10:00 Break

10:00-10:15 Speed Share

Participants join a lightly structured “speed share” of their current projects.

10:15-11:00 Jocelyne Allen on Translating Colorful by Eto Mori

As the translator of Colorful by Eto Mori—a YA novel known in many languages and the basis of multiple films—Jocelyne Allen shares about the process and issues involved in bringing this iconic work to life in a US English-language edition.

11:00-11:15 Break

11:15-12:45 Presentation and Discussion of Japan Foundation Grant Funding

Aya Tamura

The Japan Foundation’s Support Programs for Translation and Publishing, and its recent Lifelong Favorites initiative, promise to increase the visibility and viability of publishing Japanese children’s literature in English translation. Avery Fischer Udagawa introduces the role Japan Foundation funding played in the publication of her translation of Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba (11:15-11:30). Then, Aya Tamura of the Japan Foundation presents about its programs (11:30-12:15). Finally, participants in Translation Days have the opportunity to discuss how such support might connect to their projects (12:15-12:45).

12:45-1:00 Closing Remarks for Day 1

Marilyn Brigham

DAY 2: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19 

8:30 Meeting Room Opens

8:50 Opening Remarks

9:00-9:45 A Conversation with Editor Marilyn Brigham

Amazon Crossing Kids is an imprint focused on global literature for children. Marilyn Brigham, senior editor of Two Lions and Amazon Crossing Kids, responds to questions in a live interview about what it takes to publish children’s books in English translation.

9:45-10:00 Break

10:00-10:15 Submission Opportunities

Participants learn about submission opportunities for those who join in this event, from interested publishers.

Takami Nieda

10:15-11:00 Takami Nieda on Translating The Color of the Sky is the Shape of the Heart by Chesil

As translator of The Color of the Sky is the Shape of the Heart by Chesil, Takami Nieda describes facilitating the English-language debut of a third-generation Korean born in Japan, whose writing raises key questions about identity and justice.

11:00-11:15 Break

11:15-12:45 Takami Nieda: Translation Workshop

Takami Nieda critiques participants’ translations of an excerpt from 『望むのは』, a title by Natsuki Koyata as yet unpublished in English.

Participants interested in receiving feedback during this workshop must submit their translations of the workshop text by November 5, 2022.

Names will be removed. Participants are not required to submit translations in order to join the workshop.

12:45-1:00 Closing Remarks for Day 2

Speakers

Jocelyne Allen (she/they) is a Japanese translator and interpreter, and has translated hundreds of short stories, novels, and manga, including the beloved Japanese classic Colorful by Eto Mori and the Eisner Award-winning Lovesickness by Junji Ito. As an interpreter, she has worked with Japan’s most celebrated authors and artists, including Sayaka Murata, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Hideo Furukawa, and Akane Torikai. @brainvsbook 

Marilyn Brigham (she/her) is senior editor of Two Lions and Amazon Crossing Kids, the two children’s book imprints at Amazon Publishing. Her noteworthy titles include the upcoming picture book Ruby & Lonely by bestselling author Patrice Karst and illustrated by Kayla Harren; the It’s Not a Fairy Tale series by popular author Josh Funk, illustrated by Edwardian Taylor; and What If Everybody Said That? by Ellen Javernick, illustrated by Colleen Madden, the sequel to the Amazon bestseller What If Everybody Did That?. Prior to joining Amazon Publishing in 2012, Marilyn was at Marshall Cavendish, where she began as an intern and worked her way up to editor. There she edited books for kids of all ages, including popular title Goodnight, Little Monster by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by Bonnie Leick. Marilyn is the author of the board book Swim!, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, and the educational title Dik-Dik (Even Weirder and Cuter Series). When not editing or writing, Marilyn can be found at the beach.

Kathleen Merz (she/her) is the Editorial Director at Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. She has worked on a number of award-winning titles, including books that have won the Caldecott Honor, the Batchelder Award for translation, the Sibert Medal, and other honors. She studied English and linguistics, and especially enjoys working on translated books and nonfiction picture books. She is always looking for original picture books, narrative nonfiction, and middle grade stories—particularly books that tackle contemporary social issues and celebrate diversity or multiculturalism, and stories that have well-crafted voice and strong characters. Kathleen lives in Michigan, and when she’s not at work editing she can usually be found outdoors biking or kayaking.

Takami Nieda (she/her) was born in New York City and has degrees in English from Stanford University and Georgetown University. She has translated and edited more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction from Japanese into English and has received numerous grants in support of her translations, including the PEN/Heim Translation Fund for the translation of Kazuki Kaneshiro’s GO, which went on to earn a Freeman Book Award for Young Adult/High School Literature from the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia. Her translations have also appeared in Words Without Borders, Asymptote, and PEN America. Formerly an assistant professor of translation at Sophia University in Tokyo, she currently teaches writing and literature at Seattle Central College in Washington State, US. @TNieda

Aya Tamura (she/her) joined the Japan Foundation in 2003. After working in the General Affairs Department and at the Japan Cultural Institute in Paris (Maison de la culture du Japon à Paris), she joined the Arts and Culture Department’s Planning and Coordination / Literary Arts Section in 2021. Support Programs for Translation and Publishing 

Avery Fischer Udagawa (she/her) serves as Translator Coordinator and Japan Translator Coordinator in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her translations include the Mildred L. Batchelder Award-winning novel Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba, illustrated by Miho Satake, published by Restless Books. @AveryUdagawa

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