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So, I was playing the Japanese version of Akinator (cf. English version), which basically entails playing a sort of 20 Questions-like game - the basic idea is that you pick a real or fictional person/character, and then the genie asks you questions about the person you've picked so as to figure out who the person you've picked is.

One of the questions asked about my character was this one:


I guess that タイプ is English "type" as in "variety"; 分ける is "to separate / divide / partition"; and パッション is English "passion" (not sure what sense). I have no idea how this fits together to form a coherent sentence, though. What does this question mean?

It strikes me as possible that this might be the result of machine translation from one of the other languages in which Akinator is available - some of the other questions I've seen appear to be of dubious grammaticality, too.

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My guess is that this means "(If you had to choose), would you say that [your character] is the passionate type?". I wouldn't myself use パッション in this spot, I would prefer a 形容詞 or 形容動詞, like 情熱的. However, it's not uncommon that I see loanwords unexpectedly used as 形容動詞. –  dainichi Feb 12 at 1:15
@dainichi Could you point out some constructions in which 分ける is used in the same way as in "タイプを分ける"? I'm having a bit of trouble wrapping my head around this. –  senshin Feb 12 at 4:31
身分を分ける or 種類分け are similar uses, I guess. Definition 2 here: dictionary.goo.ne.jp/leaf/jn2/238010/m0u –  dainichi Feb 12 at 5:21
The weirdest part of 「タイプを分けるとパッション?」 by the native standards would definitely be the particle choice 「を」, not anything else. It would need to be either 「で」 or 「に」 if this phrase were indeed asking the addressee's character type. –  非回答者 Feb 12 at 6:21
@TokyoNagoya, I thought so too, but googling for "タイプを分ける", I see lots of cases where it's used similarly. I guess there can be some confusion between "defining the taxonomy" and "applying the taxonomy". –  dainichi Feb 12 at 9:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

This question based on a video game called アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ. In that game, there are 3 types("タイプ") of idols, which are cute, cool, and passion("パッション"). As dainichi mentioned above, 分ける in this sentence means 分類する. So, it translates as "If you categorize her into 'type', is she passion? (Do you categorize her as a passion-type-idol?)" or something along the line.

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That's probably what the question intends to ask, you're right. Still, it should be タイプで分けると (or ) and it lacks anyway the context for anyone (including people unfamiliar with the game) to understand the question. Maybe it surmises that the reader is familiar with the game already (i.e. Akinator already came to the conclusion that it's a character from this game), and パッションタイプ? might even be just enough a question... –  desseim Feb 17 at 9:14

I sincerely think this doesn't mean anything more than the fact that Akinator's publisher rely on cheap outsourcing to translate its app strings (as is the norm in the app world anyway). Main reasons being:

  • this isn't grammatically correct
    • with 分ける isn't incorrect in itself, as in some a bit more uncommon meanings of the verb such as やめさせる (e.g. 喧嘩を分ける) or as when often completed by a -suffixed entity as in 〇〇を三等分に分ける, but タイプを分ける doesn't seem to match any of these cases. If it was supposed to mean something as separate by type then タイプで分ける should be used anyway, as others pointed out.
    • something's missing at the end. Assuming the 's meaning here is the conditional one (that's the only one I could think of), パッション being a noun doesn't add up. It would have to be an adverb or a verb. パッション on its own here doesn't mean anything, and there's no possible implicit allusion I could think of. It may be "willing to mean" something like タイプ[で言う]と情熱的, but the here would be mandatory to start making sense.
  • it really is the norm in app translation world, it's very often bulk-outsourced and gets back riddled with errors or nonsenses or unnatural expressions (even in languages "closer" to English)

This happens a lot when you start using apps developed by non-Japanese developers / companies in a Japanese language environment. I usually "solve" these by "reverse-engineering" them, i.e. trying to literally back-translate word by word into English to find the original English sentence, but in some cases like this one this reveals itself to be quite challenging...

I would suggest that you switch your phone language to English, answer Akinator the same answers and find out what this sentence is in English, then we'll be sure.

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Unfortunately, the sequence of questions asked by Akinator isn't deterministic, so it isn't possible to follow the same chain of answers to find an equivalent English sentence. Also, there are some questions on Japanese Akinator like "Is your character's name written in katakana?" that don't have English equivalents, so this might be one of those. –  senshin Feb 12 at 21:52
yeah that's what I feared... decompiling wouldn't help either I think questions must be dynamically fetched from the network, and a simple google search didn't give any result for a list of Akinator's questions :-\ That'd be interesting to know what the original question was though. –  desseim Feb 12 at 22:35

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