‘Bell Mountain’ in Japanese

Vintage Novels: The Bell Mountain Series 1-4 by Lee Duigon

Our friend Joshua and his mother have finished their work of translating my book, Bell Mountain, into Japanese.

It’s also been translated into Portuguese.

This was a lot of work and it took quite a while. Now the trick is to get it published. Joshua has some ideas about that.

I guess because I’ve watched too many Toshiro Mifune movies I expected the Japanese title of my book to sound like something in a movie–Suzo-no-Yama (“Yama” means mountain, one of the few Japanese words I know). But it only turned out to be Belu Maontehn (and I think the U is silent). Oh, well. We can’t all be in a Zatoichi (“The Blind Swordsman”) story.

I’m humbled that Joshua thought so highly of my book that he wished to do all that work on it, all of which he volunteered. But that also tells me I’ve created something worthwhile, by the grace of God.

Mifune would’ve made a great Helki the Rod.

31 comments on “‘Bell Mountain’ in Japanese

  1. Good work, Joshua! And here’s to the new Japanese best-seller, Lee! 🙂

    Joshua, did you have to make any adjustments to clarify for or adapt to Japanese cultural assumptions? I’m really interested in how you went about your work.

    1. I tried to keep it as close to the original English as possible, but a few changes had to be made to make it easier for the Japanese people to understand, but not big ones. The whole story is basically the same as the English. Mom had to fix a whole lot of Japanese mistakes I made, and it took a long time editing them. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next, but I’m leaving it in the Lord’s hands.

    2. Some parts were pretty hard to translate, but we translated it to the nearest meaning as possible. We took great care not to stray from the original story.

    3. Can you give me an example of that? I’m very curious about it! Don’t worry, I won’t try to override any of your work. Heaven forbid.

    4. You have the right to know. We thought that “Chief Councilor” won’t ring a bell for the Japanese, so we changed it to “Village Chief Roshay Bault.” Is that okay? Roshay is the head of Ninneburky, right?

    5. Now I wonder if they had to do anything like that when they translated Eiji Yoshikawa’s novels from Japanese into English. The translations were good enough that I enjoyed the books and learned some valuable things from reading them.
      But translation can be tricky. I’ll never forget reading “Don Quijote” in the original Spanish, when I was in college. Wow! The translation I read in high school didn’t begin to do it justice.

    6. I’m not expert in the subject, but what little I know about languages is that the structure is far different between some languages. It’s not like you can line up words and translate one word for another, directly. Even among English speaking people, sometimes meaning is lost with regard to regional expressions.

      I work work British and Australian people, and usually it’s pretty clear, but sometimes I have to ask for clarification, because their expressions and syntax are a bit different.

      I once was in a three way chat with a Canadian and a person in Milton Keynes. The Brit and I had to use the Canadian as a translator. 🙂

    7. Wow! It’s amazing that you can read Spanish! I once started studying Spanish, but later took a “break.” The idioms were the hardest to translate. The names of the characters were fun and easy to translate.

    8. I had four years of it in high school. Our teacher, Dr. Fernandez, had been a college classmate of Fidel Castro’s. She didn’t have much use for him!

    9. That’s fascinating, Joshua. Some day when you have time (and energy!), it would be really interesting to have a description of all the adjustments you made and why you made them. It would even help people of both cultures to understand and appreciate each other more.

    10. We made only a few adjustments as possible, to avoid diverting from the story, but one example is that we changed “Chief Councilor Roshay Bault” to “Village Chief Roshay Bault.” Village Chief in Japanese is “Soncho.” Most of the Japanese is the same as the English.

    11. I translated the names just as they are and just as they sound. “Abombalbap” is pronounced “Abanborubappu” in Japanese. I think it’s a cool name!

    12. The names you make up in the Bell Mountain series are very unique and fitting for each character! I really love the names you give to your characters.

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