I'm trying to understand the meaning of this sentence:


My best guess is "Please allow me to be late (sending?) this essay that I submitted as my thesis."

I think where I'm getting tripped up is that I sense there is a verb lacking in this sentence, and I think it might just be because I'm not understanding something that is maybe insinuated in the original Japanese? The person who wrote this sentence is asking for permission to do something late regarding this essay, and I'm not sure if I'm just mistranslating something or am not understanding something else.

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    「送らせて頂きます」と書こうとしたのでは・・ – Chocolate Oct 17 '15 at 4:54
  • Yup, this is an extremely common typo (漢字変換 error) in emails. – mirka Oct 17 '15 at 6:39

I realized that whether this is a typo is irrelevant to your question, because 論文を遅らせて頂きます is a grammatically valid sentence and your question still stands.

遅らせる is the verb — the act of making later. It translates to verbs like postpone or delay, or more broadly, to push back to a later date or time. This is different from “to be late” (= 遅れる). So the meaning is:

Please allow me to [push back to a later date] the essay that I submitted as my Master's thesis.

Yes, it's probably talking about postponing the submission of the essay. But the sentence is not “lacking” a verb. You can certainly add in more verbs though, like how レッスンを遅らせる (push back the lesson) can become レッスンを始めるのを遅らせる (push back the starting of a lesson), or 食事を遅らせる (push back the meal) can become 食事をとるのを遅らせる (push back the taking of a meal).

I see how the 〜させて頂きます is confusing. Here is how they correspond:

  • 送る → 送らせて頂きます (allow me to send)
  • 遅らせる → 遅らせて頂きます (allow me to postpone)
  • 遅れる → 遅れさせて頂きます (allow me to be late)
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  • 遅らせていただく raises the person who does 遅らせる, just as 書いていただく raises the person who does 書く. Therefore it is incorrect to use in this context. As Shoko commented on the question, it is much more likely that 遅らせて in the question is a typo for 送らせて. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 17 '15 at 23:59
  • @TsuyoshiIto Hm, I think you're right. Just like 書く→書かせる→書かせていただく, it should be 遅らせる→遅らさせる→遅らせていただく. Can't believe I didn't notice that! But I can find a lot of the “wrong” uses (e.g. 本日は開店時間を遅らせていただきます) on Google, so I guess that's a somewhat common error too? I'll find a way to edit the answer when I get home, thanks! – mirka Oct 18 '15 at 5:26

Either it's a typo like the comments said, or if it's not a typo, then perhaps "I've submitted it as a Master degree thesis. As for the paper/journal, pardon me but it'll be late", something like that. Maybe the person is saying that for the thesis it's ok, he had already sent it; but for journal paper maybe it'll need more work and time to revise. I don't know if this is sent by your supervisor or directly have any connection to you, but if that's so, I suggest you to ask the person directly, because this sounds like an important matter to you.

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