September 06, 2006

I'm not that kind of cat


Here is another discussion of Japanese-English pronoun problems in translation. The title of Natsume Soseki's famous novel, Wagahai wa Neko de aru (吾輩は猫である), has long been translated as "I am a Cat." Literally correct, yes, but a great deal of meaning gets lost in the process of converting the pompous「吾輩」to the prosaic "I."

My suggestions: "I am Sir Cat," or "Call me Le Chat."

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