The Maniac Collector's Inbox
Sherlocking in Japanese
Earlier this week, my friend and Japanese Sherlockian, Takahiko Endo sent me a package of books. This not such an unusual event since Takahiko has been sending me packages of Japanese translations for more than a decade now. In my collections, I have 217 different Japanese translations of the Canon and would be willing to bet he has sent 200 of them. I am so indebted to Takahiko that I will never be able to pay him back.
As with every package of book, there is a slip of paper inside each book that gives the four-letter abbreviation of which stories are included in the book. This is always an appreciated gesture and Takahiko has also offered to provide me with all of the bibliographic information of each book but so far I have resisted. I get pleasure from delving into each and every foreign translation I buy, especially those books written in something other than the Roman alphabet.
I have several other Japanese Sherlockians whom I could ask for help if I get stumped. These days, however, it is much less likely that I will get stumped. During recent dealings with Valentina from Chile, she mentioned she spoke little English but she was able to use iGoogle's translator section with little or no difficulty at all. This piqued my interest and soon visited iGoogle for the first time.
I am not a linguist so I don't know if the translations are perfect and without error. What I do know is iGoogle works great for a foreign language collector of the Canon. I used it to perfection with one of the books in the package that Takahiko Endo sent to me this week.
The first thing I did was an Internet search of the book's ISBN, International Standard Book Number. There were a number of hits, all in Japanese. This is where the iGoogle part came into play. I was able to copy the Kanji symbols and paste it into iGoogle translator; going from Japanese to English. I was able to get the publisher's name and the translator's name by doing these few steps. Next, I went to the website of UNESCO's translation index. Here, I found the book and the Japanese title was spelled phonetically. The book was no longer a mystery, well technically it still is, and I was able to add it The Galactic Sherlock Holmes.
I am never shy to use all of the tools available. They make my job much easier. I can't help to think about Ronald B. De Waal compiling The World Bibliography of Sherlock Holmes. The task he undertook was phenomenal. Ron should be made a Sherlockian Saint. I feel very lucky to be a collector at this point in time with everything I need right at my fingertips.
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