Dan Luffey, translator of Edogawa Ranpo’s famous children’s detective story The Fiend with Twenty Faces 江戸川乱歩『怪人二十面相』, has published a short online article online about translating Ranpo’s work into English. There he writes the following.
There’s one quote about translation I’ve always tried to keep in my mind. I can’t remember who first told it to me, but it goes something like this: “The goal of any good translation is to give the reader in the target language a similar experience to that of a reader in the source language.” In other words, translation isn’t merely re-stacking items from one shelf to another. A good translation unpacks the product, examines it, and decides how best to rearrange and display things for the target audience.
I wonder if the quote was based on a conversation I once had with him soon before this book was published…. I often say this sort of thing when talking about translating.
In any case, congrats to Luffey for a translation well done! Here is to more new Ranpo translations!