Clark Bateman wrote:
Just wanted to inject a word about the English translation. The translators, Jaques Payet Sensei and Christopher Watson Sensei, who are "western", but both longtime devotees of Yoshinkan, state at the outset of the book that the translation is not word-for-word, but has instead been enhanced to make it easier for "westerners" to understand. The translation originally began as seperate projects by Payet and Watson, but then became a collaboration. It was done after Shioda Kancho's death, so there was no oversight by him personally, although the translation was endorsed by Kyoichi Inoue Sensei. Like most of you who have posted here, I would be interested to know from native speakers how much liberty was taken with the original wording.
Thank you for your mail.
In this website, as in the AJ website and E-Budo website, there are so many isues where the western translators have to take liberties with the Japanese original that I now always want to to give the original Japanese text, with a litteral tranlation, so that people may judge for themselves both the text and my own translation skills.
In this case, I believe that the translators took liberties with the best of intentions, but I also believe that they themselves may have taken liberties with the concept of "making it easier for westerners to understand" and perhaps 'edited' the text unduly.
In my opinion Japanese native speakers are not in a position to pronounce on the liberties taken with the translation from Japanese into English, unless they are truly bilingual.
So, I myself am in the position of being able to translate Japanese to English and have the sense of an English native speaker of what translation "fits" the English language, but not the other way round.
So I am not attacking the translation here (at least, I do not think so). However, I think that the English translation does not do what Mike Sigman expects from it. For this, I think you would need a critical translation, in the style of the German translations from ancient Greek texts in the 18th century, witrh a full apparatus criticus.
Since I was brought up in such a classical tradition, my instinct is to give the original Japanese text, and a translation, and then leave others tro judge. This is rarely done nowadays on the Internet, especially with the output of M Ueshiba. So we are left with the douka, which Jun always posts at the head of this web site, and the occasional translation from Mr Stevens, which people seem to take as the actual words of the Founder. But when you want to pry more closely into the concept of ki, as Mr Sigman seeks to do (and whose concerns I also share), then you need look much more closely at the original Japanese.