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Vol.7, Issue 1, 2021, pp. 87-96 Full text

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Web of Science: 000658797400007

Boris Naimushin

Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures, New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria

This paper revisits the issue of the importance of context and critical thinking in translation and translation training by examining the linguistic controversy over the translation of the word mokusatsu in the statement of Japan's Prime Minister Suzuki in response to the Potsdam Declaration. There is a widespread belief that the bombing of Hiroshima in August of 1945 was caused by a translation mistake. The author sides with the opposing view, i.e. that such an approach takes one word of the statement out of context in order to shift the focus of the problem from politics to linguistics. The message of the statement is unambiguous when analyzed in its entirety. As a result, it is obvious there was no translation mistake and the bomb was dropped for reasons other than translation quality. Sadly enough, the myth lives on as a textbook example of 'the worst translation mistake in history' whereas it should be taught as an example of probably 'the worst translation myth in history'.

Keywords: translation mistake, translator responsibility, context, mistranslation, myth

Article history:
Submitted: 25 February 2021;
Reviewed: 16 March 2021;
Revised: 14 May 2021;
Accepted: 16 May 2021;
Published: 1 June 2021

Citation (APA):
Naimushin, B. (2021). Hiroshima, Mokusatsu and Alleged Mistranslations. English Studies at NBU, 7(1), 87-96.

Copyright © 2021 Boris Naimushin

This open access article is published and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0), which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. If you want to use the work commercially, you must first get the authors' permission.

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1. Reviewer's name: Undisclosed
Review Content: Undisclosed
Review Verified on Publons

2. Reviewer's name: Rick Broadaway, Prof., Kanazawa Seiryo University, Japan
Review Content: Undisclosed
Review Verified on Publons

Handling Editor: Stan Bogdanov
Verified Editor Record on Publons

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