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“Strange Characters and Expressions”: Three Japanese Translations of the Book of Mormon
|Title||“Strange Characters and Expressions”: Three Japanese Translations of the Book of Mormon|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2005|
|Authors||Gessel, Van C.|
|Journal||Journal of Book of Mormon Studies|
|Keywords||Culture; Foreign Language Translation; Translation|
The complete Book of Mormon has been translated into Japanese no fewer than three times. The first translation was done by a young American missionary, Alma O. Taylor, the second by Satō Tatsui, the first native Japanese person to undertake the challenge, and the third after World War II by a committee appointed by the First Presidency. The challenges of translating concepts such as God, Spirit, or atonement into a language that shares no linguistic or cultural commonalities with the language of the inspired translation of the Book of Mormon are overwhelming. When attempting to communicate in a culture that does not acknowledge supreme deity or the kinship connection between God and man or life after death, a simple concept such as damnation can be challenging to convey. In addition, dramatic changes have occurred in the Japanese language over past century. The written Japanese language has changed with a rapidity that is unfathomable in English.
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