This study takes Japanese culture as setting the conditions for English-Japanese translations and investigates changes in translational norms from the post-WWE years to the present. The transition between what Toury (1995) has referred to as 'adequacy' (source-text-oriented norm) and 'acceptability' (target-text-oriented norm) is the focus of the thesis. Data for the study consist mainly of pubhshed non-literary translations produced for well-educated adult readers.
Since the focus of this thesis is the overall change in translation attitudes over the years, instead of investigating actual translated texts, what is mainly examined in this study are what Toury (1995) calls extratextual sources (e.g., paratexts). The resources used to test the hypothesis are: (1) translators' postscripts of non-fiction translations from the early postwar period of the 1950s to the year 2000, (2) published comments on translation by translation authorities (e.g., well-known translators, critics, editors, translation teachers) and linguists from the early postwar period of the 1950s to the present (2002), and (3) surveys of Japanese readers and business/technical translators on current expectations and attitudes towards translation. By drawing on these diverse sources a fuller picture of translation norms in Japan emerges.
The body of this thesis presents the results of a chronological investigation into Japanese translational norms - Chapter 3: historical background and the early postwar years of the late 1940s, the 1950s & the 1960s, Chapter 4: the 1970s, Chapter 5: the 1980s to the present— based mainly on published comments by translators and translation authorities. This reveals the overall understanding of initial translational norms of 'adequacy' and 'acceptability' as well as changes in attitudes towards translation in Japan over time. In addition to the results from the secondary sources mentioned above, the results of a survey (primary data) on contemporary readers' preferences in translation and interviews with several professional translators are also analysed in Chapter 5 to support the hypothesis examined here.
My hypothesis that the traditional source text-orientation in English-Japanese translations has been largely replaced by a target-orientation in recent years in the field of popular non-fiction translations has generally proven to be correct. The underlying social and cultural setting for this change is: 1) the end of the historical era of enlightenment through importing foreign ideas and concepts via translations, 2) Japan's economic and psychological recovery from World War II and its growing cultural independence, 3) the increase in markets for a variety of general and practical translations brought about by globalisation, and 4) the further popularisation and commercialisation of translations. Jbicreased familiarity with foreign cultures and general competence in foreign languages, especially English, on the part of Japanese readers may also have contributed to this change.