Sunday, October 16, 2005

Getting better all the time

Excerpts from an article by Michael Janairo in the Albany Times Union:
The publication of a new translation of Natsume Soseki's Botchan (Kodansha International; [...] translated by J. Cohn) offers the perfect opportunity to enter the fascinating world of modern Japanese literature.

In Japan, Botchan is regarded as a classic (it was originally published in 1906) and remains one of the most widely read books.

[T]he translation itself is masterful, generous and precise, making the novel a highly enjoyable read.
Just watch how the first sentence improves over the years:

From a 1919 translation: "Because of an hereditary recklessness, I have been playing always a losing game since my childhood."

From 1972: "Ever since I was a child, my inherent recklessness has brought me nothing but trouble."

And from 2005: "From the time I was a boy the reckless streak that runs in my family has brought me nothing but trouble."


Match that, machine translation systems!

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