Translations – Japanese Poetry

AKA, the post where I spill my feelings on Japanese poetry in translation. You’ve been warned. 🙂

I’ve been thinking a lot about translations recently, probably because I’m once again working on a long-term translation project I started a couple years ago.

My language skills are definitely not amazing, especially since I’ve graduated and stopped practicing as much as I should be, and I don’t know enough kanji to make reading in Japanese possible without keeping a dictionary or two close at hand, but there’s still something about the beauty of the original language that makes me want to read in the original language.
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The Perfect Reader and the Ideal Reader

I went to hear a lecture on translation recently where the topic of a perfect reader came up.  After all, how do you translate the ambiguities in a text?  Are you reading too much into something, seeing what you want to see?  Or are you not seeing enough because you’re too different from the author, you’re not the targeted audience, or you’re not a specific subset of the audience who is being targeted with subtext (or thinks they’re being targeted/baited)?

But my question is: can there be such a thing as a perfect reader?

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