The art of translation is not exempt from the passion and eloquence that comes with a love for one’s work. Numerous famous translators, such as Haruki Murakami, have published essays that detail the magic and process of translation. However, there are many untold stories that are equally compelling. One such story is shared by Bruce Allen, the translator of Ishimure Michiko’s Lake of Heaven and other Japanese-language stories. In his speech, he speaks of the importance of the spirit of words in translation, known as “kotodama” in Japanese.
In my experience, I have found that regardless of the words used, listeners can sense the love and passion that a translator puts into their work.