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18:00 - 19:30 5 February 2015

Translating culture thickly - Mashiho Chiri and translation of Ainu oral tradition


Archaeology Lecture Theatre G6 | UCL Institute of Archaeology (link Map)
31–34 Gordon Square | London | WC1 | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential

Speaker information

Dr Nana Sato-Rossberg, is a lecturer in Translation Studies and Japanese at SOAS, University of London. Her research interests include translating cultures, translation of oral narratives, and the history of Translation Studies in Japan. Among her recent publications are Translating Culture (2011 Sapporodo), the edited volume Translation Studies (2012 Mizudu), and the co-edited volume with Judy Wakabayashi Translation and Translation Studies in the Japanese Context (2012 Continuum).

The Ainu, a people of Japan, are since 2009 finally recognized as a ‘first nation’. Because Japan enforced a strict colonization policy at the beginning of the Meiji period, the Ainu mostly lost their own language, culture and identity. Mashiho Chiri (1909-1961) was born an Ainu and became a linguist/ethnographer. He left various Ainu-Japanese dictionaries and Japanese translations of Ainu oral narratives.

This presentation focuses on the Japanese translations of Ainu oral tradition by Chiri. Dr Sato-Rossberg will discuss the problem of source texts in oral tradition, and propose that Chiri's translation of culture was a case of ‘thick translation’.


Dr Geraldine Brodie
+44 (0)20 3108 1317 | g.brodie@ucl.ac.uk