Translation and Translation Studies in the Japanese Context

Nana Sato-Rossberg & Judy Wakabayashi 2014

E-Book: 240 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

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Japan is often regarded as a ‘culture of translation’. Oral and written translation has played a vital role in Japan over the centuries and led to a formidable body of thinking and research. This is rooted in a context about which little information has been available outside of Japan in the past.

The chapters examine the current state of translation studies as an academic discipline in Japan and a range of historical aspects (for example, translation of Chinese vernacular novels in early modern times, the role of translation in Japan’s modernization, changes in stylistic norms in Meiji-period translations, ‘thick translation’ of indigenous Ainu place names), as well as creative aspects of translation in modern and postwar Japan. Other chapters explore contemporary phenomena such as the intralingual translation of Japanese expressions embedded in English texts emanating from diasporic contexts, the practice of pre-translation or writing for an international audience from the outset, the innovative practice of reverse localization of Japanese video games back into Japanese, and community interpreting practices and research.


With its unique history and cultural make-up, Japan challenges Western preconceptions about such things as translation, script, identity, modernity and cross-lingual interpretation. In turn, the Japanese case both enriches and broadens international translation studies. This collection testifies to a wealth of material and ideas that are only just beginning to be explored. It will be of interest not only to specialists in translation and interpreting but also to students of literature, anthropology, education, intellectual and disciplinary history, migrant writing and computing.
— Professor Theo Hermans, University College London, UK

About the Author

Nana Sato-Rossberg is Lecturer in the School of Languages and Communication Studies at University of East Anglia, UK

Judy Wakabayashi is Professor in Japanese Translation, Kent State University, USA.