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ALC 205: Introduction to East Asian Literature: Finding Translations

Places to Start

Start with tertiary sources, which will often provide bibliographic details for and sometimes even evaluations of translations.

Finding the Translation

Depending on the amount of information that you have, you'll need to use one or more of these pathways to actually get ahold of the translation you seek.

Option A:  Known-item Searching

If you have the full or nearly bibliographic information, such as author, title in English, name of translator, publisher, and year of publication, then you can run an advanced search in Primo to locate the material. Remember to sign in so that you'll be able to request materials from SUMMIT.

For example, suppose you've discovered, via searching the Literature Resource Center, that "The hut on the roof," by Hiromi Kawakami, has been translated by Lucy Fraser and appears in the anthology The Book of Tokyo: A City in Fiction (Manchester: Comma, 2015).  By searching Primo for the title of either the anthology (Book of Tokyo) or the short story, "The Hut on the Roof," and the author name, you'll find that you can request the anthology from a Summit library.

Option B:  Author searching

If you only know the author's name, there are two ways to try to search Primo:

  1. In advanced search, run an author search (last name, first name), then limit the results to English.
     
  2. In basic search, run a keyword search with the author's name in quotation marks, then limit the results to English.  You'll still need to sort out articles/books about the author, but this method can sometimes pick up translations that don't show up via different searches.
     

Option C:  Searching Anthologies, Collections, and Literary Magazines

Translations of works, especially poems and short stories, that appear in anthologies are not always discoverable via author and/or title searching in Primo.  Try searching Google Books to see if you can get the bibliographic information, and then search Primo again with the new information. If that also fails to yield results, then you may need to browse through anthologies, using one or more of these methods:

  1. Search Library of Congress Subject Headings that typically are used to catalog anthologies of literary works:

Chinese literature -- Translations into English

China -- Literary collections  (then limit results to English)

Short stories, Chinese -- Translations into English 

Chinese fiction -- Translations into English

Japanese literature -- Translations into English

Short stories, Japanese -- Translations into English

Japan -- Literary collections (then limit results to English only)

Japanese fiction -- Translations into English

Korean literature -- To 1900 -- Translations into English

Korean literature -- Translations into English

Korean fiction -- Translations into English

Korea -- Literary collections (then limit results to English)

Short stories, Korean -- Translations into English

       2.  Search literary magazines that publish translations into English:

Words without Borders

World Literature Today