Another translator in the discussion, however, was of the opinion that if you're translating Japanese text, you should have the ability to discern the quality of the writing. The implication, whether intended or not, was that you can't be a good translator if you don't know the difference between good and bad Japanese writing. We felt our honor was besmirched, and I spent a good deal of the afternoon thinking about how our cred has likely gone down among the translators in that forum...or rather, thinking about what I could say to prove the other translator wrong and restore our honor.
...But then we played a bunch of Animal Crossing, and I realized it was silly and we know we're good translators and hopefully our editors know we're good translators, and that's what's important.
I will point out a metaphor that Athena came up with that I thought was pretty good. We may have already compared translating to acting here...and whether or not I've written about it, Athena and I have been comparing translation to acting for years. In both, you have to get into the characters' heads and "talk" the way they would. Now, we're not actors, so we couldn't say for sure, but we think that an actor can still do a good job without having to judge whether or not the script is any good. They're job is not to judge the writing--it's to understand the meaning and the tone of their dialogue and deliver the lines accordingly. Similarly, a translator's job is to understand the meaning and the tone of the text and write target-language versions accordingly. ...At least, that's our thinking on the matter.
Today I'm thankful for catching a golden stag (still no giraffe stag), Gulliver visiting our island today, reminders that I'm good at what I do regardless of other people's philosophies, getting an email about the new SuperGroupies products, and sleep.