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Analysing the Translation of Tense Variation from Japanese to English in Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Yabu no Naka


  • Emil Hoof

Summary, in English

This thesis discusses the use of tense variation in Japanese, and if there are any methods of translating this into English. Tense variation means the alternation between the two tenses, past and non-past, in Japanese narratives. This alternation can happen even when all the events take place in the past and in chronological order. To find out how tense variation can be translated, the short story Yabu no naka and two of its translations have been analysed.
In the analysis, it was found that there is a connection between the progressive -te i- form in final predicative position and using the non-past tense for past events. The data was then analysed to see if there was a connection between the progressive form in English and translation of tense variation (in the form of the non-past tense being used for past events). However, there was no clear evidence for such a connection.

For the most part, it was hard to identify if the gathered data had anything to do with tense variation. Thus, no clear way of translating tense variation has been found. This could mean that translating tense variation is only a small concern among the difficulties a translator must face.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Benjamin Kirkland Macaulay