What Is the “Original” in Cultural Translation?

Date: 23/05/2013

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Location: Centre for Translation, DLB 601, David C. Lam Building, Shaw Campus, Hong Kong Baptist University, Renfrew Road, Kowloon Tong

Speaker: Dr Nana Sato-Rossberg

Translation Seminar Series


Those with an interest in Ainu oral narratives will soon come across the name of Mashiho Chiri (1909 – 1961), who today would be called a ‘native anthropologist’.
Mashiho’s translation style is strongly influenced by the work of his well-known sister, Yukie Chiri (1903 – 1922). Regrettably, most translations of Mashiho appeared only with the Japanese text. Only one of the original Aynu texts used by Mashiho has remained (Japanese title: ‘Ainu Shinyou Gin no shizuku fure fure mawari ni, ‘Fukurou shin ga jibun wo utatta uta’).
In this paper, I compare the Ainu original text of this myth and its translations by Yukie and Mashiho based on their personal backgrounds, recalling discussions about “originals” in ethnographical texts by Kate Sturge and others. So analyzing what is tradition and what is creation, I will explore what Mashiho understood as the original he was to translate.

About the Speaker:

Dr Nana Sato-Rossberg is a lecturer at the School of Language and Communication Studies, University of East Anglia. Her recent publications include Translating Culture – Creative Translations of Ainu Chanted-Myths by Mashiho Chiri (2011 Sapporodo), Translation and Translation Studies in the Japanese Context (2012 Continuum Publishing, London, co-edited with Judy Wakabayashi), and “Conflict and dialogue: Bronisław Piłsudski’s ethnography and translation of Ainu oral narratives”, Translation Studies, 5(1), 2012.

What Is the “Original” in Cultural Translation?
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