Typological Aspects of Translating Literary Japanese into German, II
Syntax and Narrative Technique
Japanese has a colourful variety of linguistic means for presenting voices in the dialogue of a novel and distinguishing them from the narration. In German translations, this is generally reduced to a uniform way of formulating sentences. Point of view, however, which finds linguistic expression in Japanese as well as in Western languages, is respected in German translations. The present article takes up some linguistic indications of point of view in Japanese, most of the examples being drawn from Kawabata's Yukiguni and Benl's German translation of it. A consistent finding is that the German translation tends toward a more objectivating way of narration alongside greater linguistic explicitness. This may be related to the linguistic signalling of personhood in Japanese and the role of personhood in Japanese culture. Thus, the present article puts forward the hypothesis that German translations of Japanese novels may tend to deflect traits of Japanese culture in the direction of the receiving culture.
Published online: 01 January 1990
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