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Eighth installment of Stanford University–J. F. Oberlin University Commemorative Lecture Series to be held on May 14

“Conundrums of Literary Translation”

The eighth lecture in the Stanford University–J. F. Oberlin University Commemorative Lecture Series will be held from 16:10 to 17:40 on Thursday, May 14, in room 6H in Sūteikan, on Machida Campus. The lecturer will be Professor Juliet Winters Carpenter of Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts, and the title of her lecture will be “Conundrums of Literary Translation.” All students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend.

What is translation, and what is a literary translation? Are they somehow different? How does a translator recreate an author’s voice in another language? What does it mean to be “faithful”? After a half century of translating, Professor Juliet Winters Carpenter is still looking for answers to these and other questions, but she will share with us her insights gleaned from translating authors as diverse as Abe Kōbō, Enchi Fumiko, Watanabe Jun’ichi, Tawara Machi, and Shiba Ryōtarō, with particular emphasis on her recent prize-winning English renditions of one of the most provocative and brilliant writers on the scene today, Mizumura Minae. She crafted those translations—of A True Novel (Other Press, 2013) and The Fall of Language in the Age of English (Columbia University Press, 2015)—in full collaboration with the author.

SpeakerJuliet Winters Carpenter, Translator and Professor,
Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts
Date and timeThursday, May 14, 2015, from 16:10 to 17:40
LanguageEnglish (Q & A may be in Japanese)
PlaceRoom 6H, Sūteikan, Machida Campus


Professor Carpenter began studying Japanese while in high school in the 1960s and continued at the University of Michigan, earning B.A. and M.A. degrees in Japanese language and literature under the direction of the brilliant translator Edward G. Seidensticker; she completed the 10-month program at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in 1970. She is a two-time winner of the prestigious Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature: in 1980 for Secret Rendezvous, her translation of Abe Kōbō’s Mikkai, and in 2015 for A True Novel, her English rendition of Mizumura Minae’s Honkaku shōsetsu.


This lecture series was established within the framework of an Agreement of Academic Cooperation between J. F. Oberlin University and Stanford University. Speakers in the series are prominent non-Japanese scholars who studied, earlier in their careers, at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies (IUC). Founded in 1963 and administered by Stanford University on behalf of sixteen U. S. and Canadian universities, the IUC is located in the Minato Mirai district of Yokohama.

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