Japanese to English Science Fiction Translation


Camden Hine




Amanda Weiss (Primary) & Lisa Yaszek (Secondary)

Project Format

Literature Review of Translation Theory and Japanese to English Translation of "The Vocationologist"

Project Description

In the literature review I first described the history of translation theory, including the main issues that it tackles. These include the problem of equivalence, the problem of meaning, and the untranslatability of texts. Next I went over the history of Japanese to English literary translation. Much of the literature on this subject discussed two different approaches to translation, domestication and foreignization. In the science fiction section I discussed how science fiction changed in the last several decades in Japan. The story itself is a novella-length story written by Ogawa Issui. It follows a middle-aged man who has the strange ability to see people's 'vocations', which, in the context of the story, is the profession that will bring that person the most happiness. Ultimately, my goal through this project was to introduce another Japanese science fiction story to an English-speaking audience, as there is a lack of English translations of Japanese science fiction.

Student Quote

"I was certainly happy to be able to gain some experience in literary translation, but the thing that I enjoyed most about this project was reading about translation theory and science fiction. Writing a literature review was a new experience for me, and since I was able to read about a wide variety of topics I feel like I was able to get a lot out of writing it."

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