View Full Version : Experienced in major translations...?!?

Alex Miller
21st June 2000, 23:28
I was wondering if anybody out there has any experience in translating philosophical texts from their particular MA? By which I mean translating for the first time published works from the Japanese into English, ie general books written in Japanese concerning Judo/Karate/Aikido/whatever, or something deriving from the MA organisation itself.

I ask as my particular MA is Shorinji Kempo, and as part of my university options within studying Japanese is the option of translating 15,000 words of a hitherto untranslated work - most students end up dong modern/classical literature, but I was thinking that it would be an interesting challenge (!) to tackle something more MA-orientated.

Your thoughts, comments, ideas, and suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Yours sincerely,


Earl Hartman
22nd June 2000, 00:01
Dear Alex:

I have done a lot of translating and interpreting as part of my job over the last decade or two, and I have translated some MA texts (as a matter of fact, I'm in the process of translating a text by a Japanese professor of religion regarding kyudo and Eugen Herrigel, the author of "Zen in the Art of Archery"), although not professionally.

The only advice I have is to start swotting the books. You need good, solid Japanese language skills in addition to experience in your MA so that you can understand the real meaning of what it is you are translating. This is same for translation in any specialised field. Word-for-word, literal translations are no good. A good translator will translate the real meaning of the words as opposed to just what is on the page. This takes familiarity with the field, good Japanese skills, and a lot of experience and practice. And, of course, the only way to get experience is to start doing it.

Good luck.