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Two Japanese-fluent characters in an English novel I'm reading are talking about a specific heart problem one character concealed from medical exams. That character is requesting the second character keep this secret, lest they be kicked off the mission.

The second character drops briefly into Japanese:

"Watakushi no doryo wa, wakarimasu," Nicole said kindly, changing into Japanese to show sympathy for her colleague's anguish.

Both characters are fluent, and I believe the writer was as well.

One of the problems here is whether "doryo" should be written どりょ or どりょう - this would help with translation. However, none of the translation services I've tried actually seem to translate this in any way which makes sense. The closest I've gotten from Google has been "magnanimity" - but I don't think this makes contextual sense.

What is the meaning of this statement, and how should "doryo" be written in hiragana?

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4  
I don't think the edit to the title ("doryo" -> "douryou") is appropriate here. "doryo" is the spelling in the quoted fragment and it should be preserved. –  Szymon Apr 9 at 20:58
1  
I don't think this author is fluent. The sentence is far too formal compared to the situation, and looks like a 'borrowed from a textbook for beginners' one to me. I suspect the author actually has little knowledge about Japanese... And anyway, I can't make sense out of it. Doryo might possibly be either [度量]{どりょう} or [同僚]{どうりょう}, but neither seems to make the sentence understandable. –  isayamag yesterday

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

It is likely [同僚]{どう・りょう} which means "colleague"/"coworker".

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You can see the Turkish(?!) version of this online here: https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=xbzji0dHTHcC&pg=PA65&lpg=PA65&dq=Watakushi+no+doryo+wa,+wakarimasu,&source=bl&ots=0RCiBfH12e&sig=laPoZJTXNBqwDkwM8Ap9LPbBLz8&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=fIqWVLi-GoKtmAWU5YHQCw&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

Lo and behold, it's written dôryô with circumflex (perhaps because the Turkish printers didn't have macrons).

I can't find any evidence that Arthur C Clarke spoke Japanese. I don't think it is profitable to try to understand this in Japanese, you have to think what the English would be that he was trying to translate, so I think this is just:

"My colleague, I understand"

I ought to have a stab at translating it into Japanese. Something like this perhaps?

Yoku wakatteiru, yo, Hakamatsu-san.

(Not sure if this is the right name of the person she is talking to.)

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I'm reading Rama II and just came to this. Asked my wife about it. The word doryo means "magnitude, weight," or in this case "capacity, caliber." She had difficulty explaining the meaning of this phrase. She says it sounds very "old" and the meaning doesn't really fit the circumstance of the passage.

But what it seems she is saying is something like: "I know my own capacity and cannot change how I will respond." Basically a humble way of saying that she can only be who she is, so she cannot overlook his health issue even though going to Rama means everything to him.

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1  
Sounds more like 度量 to me. –  l'électeur yesterday

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