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This question is asked of a huge shape-shifter dragon that is currently in human form and in a human bathroom:

体洗うのにその体の方がやりやすいんじゃないの

The translation that came with my Anki deck note is: "For the purpose of washing your body: Isn't that [other][sic] body easier?"

(Edit: From 小林さんちのメイドラゴン Miss Kobayashi`s Dragon Maid episode 3 9:05 minutes in. The official subtitles here are different and do not include the "[other][sic]" part.)

But I thought that その referred to something close to the listener, and I would have thought that their current shape would be considered closer to them, so I would have expected the translation to be: "For the purpose of washing your body: Isn't that [current-human] body easier?"

I also find it strange that the speaker, given the context, would consider the huge dragon body easier to clean.

Which interpretation is correct?

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    The 'other' and 'current-human' should be referring to the same thing in that context ('other' because it is originally a dragon). It's an English problem that inserting 'other' there is odd .
    – sundowner
    Sep 14, 2023 at 22:38
  • I don't understand what you mean. In the translations, other refers to a dragon body as large as a house while current refers to a human body. I don't understand how these would be the same thing. Sep 14, 2023 at 22:44
  • I assume 'that (other) body' is given by someone other than yourself. What the translator meant should be that 'other' with respect to the dragon body. Either way, the given translation means the same as yours.
    – sundowner
    Sep 14, 2023 at 22:54
  • What you should pay attention to is simply 'that', which can only refer to the human body here ('that body you are in'). So yes 'Isn't that [current-human] body easier?' is correct. But I don't think 'other' in the other translation refers to dragon body (at least that's not the translator's intention). That is what I mean.
    – sundowner
    Sep 14, 2023 at 23:08
  • Ah, I see. Thank you @sundowner :) Sep 14, 2023 at 23:13

1 Answer 1

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その体 and "that other body" both refer to the same thing, the human body.

The English phrase "other body" might mean either "a body different from the current one" or "a body different from the basic one" depending on the context. In this situation, "that other body" refers to the latter. Since this character is basically a dragon, "the other body" is referring to the non-dragon form regardless of the current form. (As a non-native English speaker, that's how I interpreted it. Even if this sounds unnatural in English, it's an issue with the English language, not with the Japanese interpretation.)

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  • Thank you very much :) Just for context, the original translator is not Japanese, nor fluent in Japanese. While usually pretty accurate, I have found quite a few mistakes in their translations. I might be wrong, but I believe this to be one such. Sep 15, 2023 at 2:26
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    @MagnusLidbom Even a translator with somewhat low skills wouldn't misunderstand the meaning of その体. It's either that the translator wrote a confusing English phrase, or that you misread the correct translation. Whichever is the case, it's not an issue with the interpretation of the Japanese language itself.
    – naruto
    Sep 15, 2023 at 5:24

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