Chie Asada - Translator of the Month

Our Translator of the Month for April is Chie Asada from Japan. She studied Swedish at Osaka University of Foreign studies in Japan, and she then learned Norwegian when spending a year in the South of Norway, attending a folk high school (“folkehøgskole”). At present, Chie is collaborating with a Norwegian colleague on translating works by Tarjei Vesaas. She is also teaching Norwegian at Osaka University part-time.

Asada, chie
Chie Asada. Photo: Private

In our interview, we asked her, among other things:

“You have translated books in various genres. What is the most valuable advice you have received along the way from more experienced colleagues?”

I translate Vesaas together with Anne Lande Peters who is originally from Setesdal in Norway and grown up in Kyoto, Japan. Working with her has taught me so much, not only about Nynorsk but also about how to improve the text. She usually translates theatre plays, such as Ibsen, into Japanese. She always reads the whole translated text aloud to feel the rhythm and check if it sounds good and that it is not too complicated to understand. In theatre, we only get one chance of hearing what what the actors say. Therefore it is very important that the play is written so that we can understand what is being said right away, Anne often says. Following her advice, I always correct my texts.

Do you have a special Norwegian book that is close to your heart? If so, why is it special to you?

There are two such books for me: Tormod Haugen’s Night Bird (1975) and Joakim (1979). I read them when I was a second-year student at Osaka University of Foreign Studies in the mid-90s, and they are still central to me. Haugen was a Norwegian author for children and young adults, and he wrote about vulnerable children and adults who eventually find peace of mind. Not in the form of great happiness in life, but as small steps forward that make things a little better every day. That is exactly what I myself want even today.

Read more

Learn more about Chie on Books from Norway.

Those of you who understand Norwegian can read her interview in full here.

Other translators interviewed in the Translator of the Month series.