Characterisation in two translations of "I am a cat"

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to examine if the characterization in different translations of Natsume Sôseki’s I Am a Cat correspond to the trends in translation studies at the time of publication. Yoko Hasegawa (2012) provides an overview of the history of the discipline of Translation Studies. Satoshi Kinsui (2003) details the history of shoseikotoba, and what defines it. Grestle (2000) details what defines Tokyo Downtown/Shitamachi dialect. The dialogue between the protagonist and the character Kuro/Blacky has been singled out across a Japanese version and two English translations and compared through the focus of characterization. The characterization in the 1972 translation is much more visible than in the 1961 version, where it is almost non-existent. This does coincide with the trend difference in translation theory, as the focus shifted toward being understood in the target language.

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