On the Translation of Old Japanese Records into English 古文書の英訳に関する一考察

I spent my Thanksgiving in Japan giving a talk at Kōgakkan University 皇學館大学 about some interesting aspects of translating old Japanese documents into English.

I was a little worried that no one would come, because I don’t know how appealing old documents (komonjo 古文書) sound to people outside of the history department. However, there was a large turnout, and I was pleased to see that several people from the community attended as well.

I began by speaking about freelance translation of technical materials and literature in order to introduce useful resources and strategies. Then, we looked at the work that the Yale Professor Asakawa Kan’ichi 朝河貫一 did in his translations of documents in the early twentieth century. Next, we read through some of the documents I used in my dissertation. Finally, I talked about some kinds of materials that students could translate into English and reach a wider audience; for example, I am working with some students on translating videos made by the Kōgakkan University Television Studio 皇學館大学TV about culture and history in Mie Prefecture (we should begin uploading them in a month or two).

Below is an outline of the talk (in Japanese):

 ❶ 翻訳の仕事について
 ❷ 翻訳者の書籍
(一) 実務翻訳
 ❶ 5つの「力」
 ❷ 契約書のサイトラ
(二) 出版翻訳
 ❶ 4つの「力」
 ❷ 吉本ばななのサイトラ
(三) 史料翻訳
 ❶ 5つの「力」
 ❷ 歴史家の書籍
 ❸ 先行研究:朝河貫一(入来院家文書)
 ❹ 大友文書:田原親家の起請文
 ❺ 龍造寺家文書:大村純忠の起請文