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In the fall 2001 semester I launched the course entitled “Translation: Theory and Practice” at the University of California, Berkeley. This book is a compilation of results of my research into translation and teaching materials I gathered and developed for the course. With no model available, the course was created from scratch and took shape gradually, as I learned requisite tactics by trial and error.

Nineteen students enrolled in the first semester. I had not anticipated the heterogeneous composition of native speakers of English, native speakers of Japanese, and native speakers of other languages. It was necessary to adjust class activities and homework assignments continuously to accommodate the differing needs of those groups. Initially, I provided everyone with the same assignments; however, errors made by non-native speakers are very different in nature from those made by native speakers. Having learned that correcting the former type was not what I intended to do in the course, I, therefore, eliminated translation into one's non-native language by preparing two sets of exercises and homework assignments. Also in the first semester, I was not aware how time consuming it is to grade translations, so that I carelessly assigned a final project in which everyone submitted more than 10 single-spaced pages of translation of a text of one's own choice. Grading 19 different projects in a short period of time was formidable. I was barely able to meet the course-grades submission deadline. Slowly but steadily I gained insights in improving the course design.

I originally used Mona Baker's In Other Words as the main textbook. It is arguably the most versatile translation textbook, deriving examples not only from European languages, but also from Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and many others. She organizes various issues pertaining to the art and craft of translation according to the tradition of Structural Linguistics, i.e., starting with equivalence at a smaller unit (words) and expanding its scope to phrase, clause, sentence, and discourse levels. While this organization works nicely when translating between genetically related or typologically similar languages, it is not very suggestive when we are to discuss translation between Japanese and English with their drastically different linguistic structures and lack of parallelism when comparing at each level.

Nevertheless, Baker's construction of chapters is so logical, intuitive, and elegant that it took me years to come up with a different method to present relevant materials. I commenced writing the manuscript of this book in 2004. That early version organized chapters following Baker's system. Eventually, the manuscript evolved to the current, semantically (vis-à-vis formally/structurally) oriented arrangement. I am now able to discuss issues freely without hindrance of matching the levels of expressions between the two languages.

Writing this book was a pleasure. In fact, when completion neared, I felt uneasy, as if parting with an old friend. For most topics, I have provided exercises to enhance understanding. Because I wanted to avoid as much as possible artificially constructed sentences, I looked into my old books and Internet resources and searched for appropriate texts. Each time I found something fascinating and started reading it. That is why it took me so many years to complete this book. But what fun it has been!

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