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  • Subject



    Hi everyone,

    I am translating/editing a text about the presentation of gender within Japanese art and I wonder if someone could let me know their thoughts on my translation below, and if you think I have missed something here?

    I am assuming that Frauendarsteller refers to Onnagata,

    By the way, I have artistic license here so it doesn't have to be an exact translation, the focus is on a good English text.


    Im Zentrum dieser Wechselpräsentation ... steht ein Rollbild eines Hofmalers aus dem Kyoto des 18. Jahrhunderts, das einen traditionellen jungen Mann in der Rolle einer weiblichen Tänzerin zeigt. Inzwischen mehreren sich die Stimmen, die fragen, ob es sich bei der Tänzer*in nicht um eine Frau handeln könnte, die sich an den modischen Idealen der ‚Frauendarsteller‘ orientierte.

    At the centre of this temporary presentation... is a scroll painting by a court painter from 18th-century Kyoto that shows a traditional young man in the role of a female dancer. Meanwhile, several voices appear to ask whether the dancer could perhaps be a woman who has taken fashion inspiration from the (male) “female impersonators” that were common within kabuki theatre.

    Authorsteve_hicks_tefl (1327046) 28 Jun 22, 12:56
    Ergebnisse aus dem Wörterbuch
    boy actors [THEA.]Frauendarsteller im elisabethanischen Theater
    Ergebnisse aus dem Forum

    Mir ist nur "several voices appear" zu wörtlich übersetzt.

    Was die "modischen Ideale" genau sein sollen, verstehe ich auch nicht.

    #1Authoreastworld (238866) 28 Jun 22, 13:02

    I agree with #1; also, 'meanwhile' doesn't work here, methinks.

    How about something like "Recently, it has been suggested that the dancer may actually be ..."?

    Not great, I know; I'm sure this can be put more elegantly. But I'd definitely lose the "meanwhile."

    Edit, re: #1: "take fashion inspiration" works for me as a translation for "sich an modischen Idealen orientieren"; to my mind, it's no more or less precise than the German version.

    #2Authorredcranes (766941)  28 Jun 22, 13:26

    Hast wahrscheinlich recht. Ich dachte, es könnte auch "die Ideale, die damals in Mode waren" gemeint sein, aber wohl eher nicht.

    #3Authoreastworld (238866) 28 Jun 22, 14:14

    Evtl eine Alternative, aber umständlicher: male actors who performed the roles of women

    #4Authorskinnyelephant (971902) 28 Jun 22, 14:31

    A very small gripe: it just occurred to me that, as far as I know (not much :-), there were no female actors in kabuki at the time; all the roles were played by men.

    If that's actually the case, you may want to tweak the phrase “female impersonators” that were common within kabuki theatre."

    #5Authorredcranes (766941)  28 Jun 22, 14:43

     that were common within kabuki theatre

    Guter Vorschlag!

    #6Authorwienergriessler (925617) 28 Jun 22, 14:52

    Edit: I see now, the hairstyle or other costume details indicate a traditional young man?

    Regardless, I'd be tempted to introduce onnagata in the first sentence, and then write:

    More and more researchers have speculated that the figure might actually represent a woman attempting to reproduce the onnagata ideals, which were fashionable at the time. Or onnagata fashion ideals if the NS think that is more likely.

    #7AuthorAE procrastinator (1268904)  28 Jun 22, 15:58

    @ #7: I'm too brain-fried to delve into your argument re: onnagata, but I do like "More and more researchers have speculated that the figure..." It takes care of the point raised by eastworld in #2 and is much better than my own suggestion in #3.

    #8Authorredcranes (766941) 28 Jun 22, 16:09

    I have totally confused myself with the onnagata thing.

    I thought if the figure looked like a "young man playing a female role" it would be hard to identify him as a "traditional young man", and that perhaps the traditional was supposed to refer to the whole concept of young-man-who-played-female-roles. But then I saw that kabuki actors sometimes did mix their sartorial gender messages, and figured maybe one could tell.

    #9AuthorAE procrastinator (1268904) 28 Jun 22, 16:14

    @ #9:

    You’ve certainly managed to confuse me. :-)

    The argument, as I understand it, goes something like this:

    • People used to think this figure was a man impersonating a woman.
    • More recently, some people have begun to think that maybe it’s a woman taking her fashion cues from a man impersonating a woman.

    In which case steve_hicks has done a perfectly good job of translating it, barring the few quibbles mentioned above. No? :-)

    #10Authorredcranes (766941) 28 Jun 22, 16:27

    Sure. But

    People used to think the figure represented a traditional young man.


    People used to think the figure represented a traditional onnagata.

    are not quite the same thing. It seems clear to me that the author wrote the first, though I am not 100% convinced that they meant to do so. No criticism of the OP translation in that respect was intended.

    #11AuthorAE procrastinator (1268904) 28 Jun 22, 17:08

    Der Text lautet doch: einen traditionellen jungen Mann in der Rolle einer weiblichen Tänzerin.

    #12Authoreastworld (238866) 28 Jun 22, 17:12


    #13AuthorAE procrastinator (1268904) 28 Jun 22, 17:13

    This is a classic case of the translator/s dedicating more time and energy to dissecting a passage than the prospective reader will ever dedicate to reading it. More power to us. :-)

    I think AE procrastinator has a point. I also think that it's not essential to the main argument, which is (I think): a) was though to be a man; b) but maybe isn't.

    Signing off now. Schönen Feierabend zusammen.

    #14Authorredcranes (766941) 28 Jun 22, 17:26

    True. Well, you don't become a translator (or don't remain one anyway) if you don't like to get it right. At least, I doubt there are many of us who are in it for the money...

    I'm off too, pleasant evening all around...

    #15AuthorAE procrastinator (1268904)  28 Jun 22, 17:38

    FWIW, aus dem Wiki-Link im OP :

     Onnagata (女形/女方, lit. "female role") (also oyama (女形)) are male actors who play female roles in kabuki theatre.[1]


      The modern all-male kabuki was originally known as yarō kabuki ("male kabuki") to distinguish it from earlier forms. In the early 17th century, shortly after the emergence of the genre, many kabuki theaters had an all-female cast (onna kabuki), with women playing men's roles as necessary. Wakashū kabuki ("adolescent-boy kabuki"), with a cast composed entirely of attractive young men playing both male and female roles, and frequently dealing in erotic themes, originated circa 1612.[2]: 90 

    Both onnagata and wakashū (or wakashū-gata), actors specializing in adolescent female roles (and usually adolescents themselves), were the subject of much appreciation by both male and female patrons, and were often prostitutes. All-male casts became the norm after 1629, when women were banned from appearing in kabuki due to the prevalent prostitution of actresses and violent quarrels among patrons for the actresses' favors.[2]: 90–91 This ban failed to stop the problems, since the young male (wakashū) actors were also fervently pursued by patrons. ...

    #16Authorno me bré (700807) 28 Jun 22, 18:07

     that were common within kabuki theatre

    Guter Vorschlag! (#6)

    ? Es geht doch darum, dass der vom OP gemachte Vorschlag (eben der Satz oben) NICHT wirklich gut ist und redcranes anregt, ihn zu ändern. Mir ist jetzt nicht klar, ob du den Originalsatz unterstützt (und #5 also widersprichst).

    #17AuthorGibson (418762) 28 Jun 22, 19:07

    Thank you everyone. This is really useful feedback!!

    #18Authorsteve_hicks_tefl (1327046) 29 Jun 22, 11:54
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