Not Lost in Translation: Yoko Ogawa's "The Housekeeper and the Professor"


Thursday, February 17, 6:30 to 8:00 pm, Lawrence Memorial Library, Bristol

The translator's role as a bridge for "carrying across" values between cultures has been discussed for hundreds if not thousands of years. Perhaps more art than science, translation of literary works such as novels and poetry is considered a literary pursuit in its own right.



Middlebury College Professor Steve Snyder translated Yoko Ogawa’s popular book The Housekeeper and the Professor into English. He will discuss the challenge of translating the Japanese language and the novel’s sometimes arcane subject matter - including higher mathematics, baseball and memory loss—and the history of Ogawa’s career in English translation.


Yoko Ogawa is among the most highly regarded contemporary
Japanese novelists, and her novel The Housekeeper and the Professor is her most beloved book to date. Ogawa tells the story of a once-famous mathematician whose short term memory is damaged in a car accident. Although he can only remember for 80 minutes at a time, math is the language that penetrates his mind and allows him to connect with those around him.


Steve Snyder teaches Japanese language and literature at Middlebury College. He has translated works by Ogawa Yoko, Kirino Natsuo, Yu Miri, Murakami Ryu, Oe Kenzaburo, and Nagai Kafu, among others. His translation of Isaka Kotaro’s Gorudan Suranba will appear in March. He is currently studying the effects of translation and globalization on Japanese fiction and is translating a novel by Maijo Otaro.


For more information call 453-4147

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Elin Melchior,
Feb 3, 2011, 7:09 PM
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