Explaining translation

Each person who loves what they are doing is capable of beautiful and eloquent descriptions of their work. Translators are not an exception. Many well-known translators, like Haruki Murakami, publish essays in which they describe the process of translation and the magic of translation.

Yet not all stories can be found in essays, many unpublished stories are as good. This one is by Bruce Allen a translator of Ishimure Michiko’s Lake of Heaven and many other Japanese-language stories. In his speech, he appeals to the spirit of words in translation or kotodama in Japanese. 

I myself use a slightly different description. No matter what words you choose, everyone who listens will notice your love and passion for translation.

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