- live the dream
- 夢を実現する（後出 realize one's dream も同意）
- 字幕（後出は字幕を入れる、subtitler はここでは字幕屋）
- breakout debut
- bear (→bore)
- break into
- pick through
- embark on ～
- "Apocalypse Now"
- (be) off
- put oneself in someone's shoes
- turning point
- 転機（後出 turn ～は～歳になる）
- like clockwork
- dive into ～
Living the Dream
Forty years after her professional debut, legendary film subtitle translator Toda Natsuko has no doubts about what motivated her to keep going over the years.
"As a subtitler, I hoped everyone could enjoy good movies," she said.
In a recent interview with the Mainichi Weekly, where Toda started a movie translation column six years before her breakout debut, she revealed she has loved movies since her elementary school days, just after the end of World War II. Sitting in the cinema, she felt moved by the Western movies she saw unfolding on screen. Their world seemed completely different from the Japan outside the cinema doors, which still bore the scars of war.
"Kids go through a time when they are always pestering their parents to read them a book," says Toda, adding that for movies, "That time has never ended for me."
Though subtitling was a difficult field to break into, Toda never gave up on realizing her dream, saying, "I want to do work that I love. I can keep on living, even if I have to pick through the garbage."
In 1979, at age 43 and some 20 years after embarking on her mission, she finally got her chance with Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now." And then she was off, translating a movie per week — 50 films per year.
During translation, she puts herself in every actor's shoes to find a suitable translation. "Their lines are alive," she says. "Words come from emotion, not from logic. Emotion is so important in movies, and in all the arts."
Perhaps because of her close connection with movies, Toda cannot hide her concerns about recent films. As digital technology prevails in the film industry, many filmmakers seem to be overly concerned with creating eye-catching images, while lacking depth and emotion in stories. She feels that the year 2000 was a turning point in this trend.
Toda will turn 83 soon, but she still translates a movie a month, and sends in her twice-monthly Weekly column like clockwork. "You can dive into an unknown world with every movie. That's what makes this work so interesting, and I just can't stop," she says with a smile.
(Related story on pages 4 and 5)
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