Translating hierarchy in Hideo Yokoyama’s Six Four

Lola Sundin, Shani Tobias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Within the framework of world literature, crime fiction can be translated, read, and studied by new target audiences to expand their knowledge of different cultures. The translation of Japanese crime fiction into English poses many challenges, especially regarding the socio-cultural aspects. The representation of Japanese social and organisational hierarchy through socio-linguistic features in the character interactions is particularly complex for readers with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds to understand, and may lead to a reliance on stereotypes. Therefore, a translator needs to give careful consideration to this issue. This paper explores the strategies for translating the hierarchical features of character interactions employed by the translator of 64 (Six Four), a novel by award-winning crime fiction author Hideo Yokoyama. Through this analysis, we propose a guideline to assist translators adopt a conscious approach to translating hierarchy, which will provide readers with a more nuanced understanding of how hierarchy functions in Japanese society. We demonstrate that the translation of crime fiction has the ability to enable readers to overcome barriers resulting from linguistic and cultural differences to gain a new understanding of different societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)934-950
Number of pages17
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • crime fiction
  • Hideo Yokoyama
  • hierarchical interactions
  • Japanese-English literary translation
  • speech styles
  • translation strategies

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