Some one pointed out that this was mistranslation, because “Norwegian Wood” means Norwegian wood furniture. Basically I agree with it.
I looked up the word “wood” in a dictionary.
1 [uncountable and countable] the material that trees are made of
Put some more wood on the fire.
a polished wood floor
soft/hard woodPine is a soft wood.
Her house was made of wood.
a piece of wood
2 [countable] also the woods a small forest:
a walk in the woodsThe word “Wood” in “Norwegian Wood” isn’t plural, so it doesn’t mean the second definition “a small forest” but the first definition “the material that trees are made of.”
And let’s read the lyrics of "Norwegian Wood."
She showed me her roomIsn't it good Norwegian wood?No one might think that there was a small forest in her room. It is obvious that this “Norwegian wood” is Norwegian wood furniture.
Haruki Murakami named his novel “ノルウェイの森 (noruei no mori)” after the Beatles’ song. He wrote about this problem in his essay.
I, as one of a translator, want to say that the right interpretation of the word “Norwegian Wood” is just “Norwegian Wood.” The other interpretations might be more or less mistranslation. If you look at the context of the lyrics, it is clear that the ambiguous tone of these words dominates this song and lyrics. It is difficult to definite these words as one special meaning. It is not different between in Japanese and English. If you wanted to catch it, you would lose it. Of course, one of images that these words contain might be “Norwegian wood furniture” = “Nordic furniture.” But it isn’t the only meaning of them. If you insisted that they meant just “Nordic furniture,” the narrow way of assertion would detract the deepness of this song that the ambiguity (this deepness is the point of this song). It is just to miss the forest for the trees. “Norwegian Wood” might not be “ノルウェイの森 (noruei no mori),” but at the same time it isn’t “Norwegian wood furniture,” I think.
翻訳者のはしくれとして一言いわせてもらえるなら、Norwegian Woodということばの正しい解釈はあくまでもHonestly, this passage is inarticulate.
であって、それ以外の解釈はみんな多かれ少なかれ間違っているのではないか。歌詞のコンテクストを検証してみれば、Norwegian Woodということばのアンビギュアスな（規定不能な）響きがこの曲と詞を支配していることは明白だし、それをなにかひとつにはっきりと規定するという行為はいささか無理があるからだ。それは日本語においても英語においても、変わりはない。捕まえようとすれば、逃げてしまう。もちろんそのことば自体として含むイメージのひとつとして、ノルウェイ製の家具＝北欧家具、という可能性はある。でもそれがすべてでない。もしそれがすべてだと主張する人がいたら、そういう狭義な決めつけ方は、この曲のアンビギュイティーがリスナーに与えている不思議な奥の深さ（その深さこそがこの曲の生命なのだ）を致命的に損なってしまうのではないだろうか。それこそ「木を見て森を見ず」ではないか。Norwegian Woodは正確には「ノルウェイの森」ではないかもしれない。しかし同様に「ノルウェイ製の家具」でもないというのが僕の個人的見解である。(村上春樹「雑文集」)
If he was right, no one could translate the words “Norwegian Wood” in Japanese. There is no perfect translation, but translators seek better translation. In this case, it is clear that “ノルウェイの森 (noruei no mori)” isn’t relatively adequate.
I’d like to know how native English speakers think about the words “Norwegian Wood.”