Congratulations to Matt Treyvaud for winning the 2019-2020 Lindsley and Masao Miyoshi Translation Prize awarded by the Donald Keene Center at Columbia University for his translation of textile artist Shimura Fukumi’s book, The Music of Color. Fukumi is not only a master of transforming wild-harvested plants into subtle, luminous natural dyes, but she is also a gifted writer. It was a privilege to have a small role in bringing her work to a Western readership through Matt’s translation (I helped out with the editing). A well deserved award.
I especially love this quote from the book, paraphrasing poet Makoto Ooka (via Matt’s translation…whew, that’s a lot of intermediaries, but somehow the sentiment still comes across with lovely clarity): “Beautiful speech, correct speech, is more than just the vocabulary it contains. When someone speaks, their words carry their whole world. Each fleeting utterance reflects the entire person who utters it.” I have this quote tacked above my desk in the hopes that it will keep me more mindful as I translate dialogue in fiction projects. And maybe inspire me to aspire to more beautiful and expressive speech myself!