Haruki Murakami fans discussion

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Who's your favourite Murakami translator?

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message 1: by Darren (new)

Darren C | 4 comments The ones I'm aware of are Jay Rubin, Phillip Gabriel and Alfred Birnbaum.

I'm reading The Elephant Vanishes at the moment and I've noticed I prefer the writing in the stories translated by Rubin. I feel like Birnbaum's phrasing can at times be slightly awkward.

I'm interested in peoples' opinions about who's da best, or if anyone knows the actual differences in the approaches of these translators. Especially if someone here has read the original Japanese as well as English translations.


message 2: by Mark (new)

Mark Jay Rubin


message 3: by J (last edited Mar 29, 2011 08:27PM) (new)

J | 13 comments Most of the Murakami stories that I really enjoyed were translated by Alfred Birnbaum, though I haven't really noticed too big a difference in translating styles.


message 4: by Ranee (new)

Ranee | 67 comments i've read somewhere that Birnbaum translates the more dramatic novels/lovestories as compared to Rubin who is in charge of the magical ones


message 5: by E (new)

E | 20 comments The most direct comparison possible would be the two translations of _Norwegian Wood_. Birnbaum did the older version, which I think was only published in Japan; Rubin did the subsequent version, which was the one published in the U.S. and U.K. I haven't read both, so I can't comment, but I think that others in the group may have.


message 6: by Ranee (new)

Ranee | 67 comments interesting E! haven't read the two too.


message 7: by Darren (new)

Darren C | 4 comments apparently the story "The Wind-up Bird And Tuesday's Women" from The Elephant Vanishes, which is the first chapter of Wind-up Bird Chronicle, was done by a different translator & is different to the version in the book. that would be an interesting comparison


message 8: by Erdem (new)

Erdem (secerd) Jay Rubin


message 9: by M.L. (last edited Jan 08, 2012 05:27PM) (new)

M.L. | 39 comments I think for 1Q84 books 1 & 2 were translated by Jay Rubin and book 3 by Philip Gabriel. I didn't notice a difference - wasn't looking for it either - but thought the 3 books as 1 were seamless.

What's interesting too is that in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running Murakami mentions his own translations, i.e., Fitzgerald and Chandler, into Japanese.


message 10: by E (new)

E | 20 comments Murakami is apparently very closely involved in the English-language translations of his novels and stories, to the point of rewriting and truncating parts of them. (I don't know about the translations into any other languages, as I don't know about Murakami's literacy in them. I only know of his work as Japanese translator for English-language works.)

I would be fairly surprised if he, Rubin, and Gabriel weren't in frequent contact about the translation of 1Q84, and I wouldn't be surprised if Murakami didn't have some manner of editorial control over the final product or the drafts. (There's some more discussion of this on other threads on this group.)


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