Omitted Emotions: Miyuki Miyabe’s “Kasha” (Original) and “All She Was Worth” (English Translation)

By Christie Lee Barber.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

An essential component of readers’ experiences is their emotional involvement with a work and its characters, often invoked by emotive or descriptive language. In translation it is important that this relationship between the reader and the work created by language is maintained so that the reader is still able to experience the work as the original author intended. With the increase in English translation of Japanese contemporary fiction comes the requirement to examine the reception of these works. To do so, this paper will compare Miyuki Miyabe’s “Kasha” (the Japanese text) with the English translation “All She Was Worth”. In this novel, Miyabe seeks to realistically convey the dangers of personal debt and the frailty of privacy and identity in contemporary Japan. The reader is asked to understand the tragedy of this moralistic story by empathizing with the emotional motivations of the characters. The usually subtle yet engaging language of the text is used to invoke the reader’s emotional response and plays a critical role in this cautionary novel’s impact. However, many emotive, metaphoric or descriptive phrases were omitted in the translation. The combined effect of these omissions is to prevent the English translation from effectively communicating a pivotal aspect of the original text. This paper will analyse the effect this omission has on both the English-language work as a whole and the reader’s response to the translation.

Keywords: Translation, Equivalence, Japanese Contemporary Fiction, Miyabe

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.113-122. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 939.429KB).

Christie Lee Barber

Honours Student, The Department of Asian Languages, Division of Humanities, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Christie Barber is an Honours Student at Macquarie University, Australia. Christie's background includes time as a resident of rural Japan and as an employee of Japanese government organisations. Research interests: translation of Japanese literature, concepts of Japan and Japaneseness, the cultural role of literature.

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