Toshiki Okada’s ‘Breakfast’ seems as though it ought to provide plenty of material for a discussion of the challenges with which it confronts a translator. Here is one candidate: its punctuation. The punctuation is decidedly non-English. How does one translate a comma from Japanese into Englis…
Recommended Reads | Back to School
‘These students only learn about Mauritius through our country’s literature; they are taught little to no Mauritian history.’
Ariel Saramandi visits a lycée in Mauritius.
‘The next editor of the university newspaper was chosen each year by a panel.’
A short story by Frances Leviston, set in the cut-throat world of student journalism.
‘He began to feel less like he was delivering a speech and more like a speech was delivering him.’
An extract from Ben Lerner’s latest novel, The Topeka School.
‘I thought she was the prettiest girl in our school. No one else seemed to think so.’
A short story about a high school friendship, by Che Yeun.
‘After my first day of clown school I tried to drop out.’
Nuar Alsadir goes to clown school at Yale.
Translated by Michael Emmerich
Michael Emmerich is Professor of Japanese literature at the University of California, Los Angeles and Director of the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities. He is the author of The Tale of Genji: Translation, Canonization, and World Literature and Tentekomai: bungaku wa hi kurete michi tōshi, the editor of Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories by Contemporary Writers and New Penguin Parallel Texts: Short Stories in Japanese, and the translator of numerous works of premodern to contemporary Japanese literature by authors ranging from Kawabata Yasunari and Inoue Yasushi to Yoshimoto Banana and Takahashi Gen’ichirō.More about the translator →