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One of the learning apps I'm using has this translated as "wheat gluten handiwork." Another app (and my online dictionary) translate this as "sugar sculpture." Given the meaning of the individual kanji and the results from an internet image search, "sugar sculpture," is obviously a good translation, but is there a secondary meaning somehow related to wheat gluten, or is this just a total mistranslation?

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  • Perhaps someone confused 飴細工 and 細工麩?
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 17 at 18:27
  • It's hard for me to imagine a secondary meaning like that, given the relative lack of cultural importance of wheat gluten. Mar 18 at 1:55

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飴細工 (see, e.g. wikipedia) is definitely sugar sculpture / candy craft, 飴 being candy and 細工 being intricate craft / craftsmanship. There is no second meaning or other usage for the word. It's just a total mistranslation.

As @aguijonazo points out in the comment, the closest I can come up with from "wheat gluten handiwork" is 麩, especially 細工麩 (google image search). 麩 (wikipedia) is a kind of food made from wheat gluten, usually not sweetened, that is sometimes delightfully coloured. But whatever it may have been meant to mean, the phrase "wheat gluten handiwork" doesn't seem to be used commonly, so my guess is that it comes from nowhere (some individual's mind).

Interestingly, EDR日英対訳辞書 seems to have some confusion where it translates wheat gluten as あめ (seen from weblio) but I wasn't able to track down any further.

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