Self-Back-Translation by Haruki Murakami: A Self-Translator’s Perspective



self-translation, back-translation, Haruki Murakami, intralingual and interlingual translation, translator’s invisibility, originality and translation


Self-back-translation is an uncommon practice in which a bilingual author retranslates the already translated text of their writing back into the original source language. A good example of self-back-translation comes from one of the short stories by Haruki Murakami, a renowned Japanese author and translator, who back-translated the English translation of his short story “Rēdāhōzen [Lederhosen]” into Japanese and published it as a new version. This peculiar practise of self-back-translation has led a handful of translation researchers to probe into some of the ongoing debates in translation studies from new perspectives—e.g., to examine the relationship between intralingual and interlingual translation, the originality and translation, the translator’s (in)visibility, and more. Asking questions such as these, this paper examines the nature and purpose of self-back-translation and the role of translation in general, particularly from a self-translator’s perspective, by Murakami’s self-back-translation with another example by a self-translator. The study has found that much could get lost while going through the filtration process of self-back-translation, but much could be gained. Whether it is interlingual or intralingual translation, the end-product of this process could be an improvement from the source text—i.e., the translation sometimes exceeds the original. This is why some writers self-(back)-translate.


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How to Cite

Takahashi, T. (2022). Self-Back-Translation by Haruki Murakami: A Self-Translator’s Perspective. Journal of Translation and Language Studies, 3(2), 1–15.