4

Here are two sentences containing the し particle:

このアパートは綺麗だし、安い。
This apartment is clean and what's more it's inexpensive.

今日はお客さんも来るし、夕食も作らなくてはいけないし、エアロビクスにいけません。
I've got visitors today and I have to cook dinner so I can't go to aerobics.

(Not sure if there are other types of し sentences but this is two that I know of.)

I feel that these two sentences aren't translated in the same way. For instance if I were to translate the first sentence like the second sentence was it would become "This apartment is clean so it's cheap". Of course this doesn't even make sense, but do you see what I mean?

This brings me to the question I'm hoping someone can answer for me:

How do you know which way し sentences should be translated? Is there any way to know how a sentence with し will be translated without trying both ways and seeing which makes sense?

6

Think about it in terms of context.

If you are in a space without any language, what are the traits and qualities you want to convey?

Read the Japanese and try and emulate the context, then from the context go to English.

Trying to find one-to-one corollaries is interesting and good for word-by-word translating, but for conveying meaning correctly, we must strive for a common cultural context from which to express our human situation in words.

し can be translated many ways. In general, it's like a comma for situational lists. し is very poetic in this way -- it can string together many related events to depict a scene.

In English, however, there is no true in the same way for flexibility and versatility of use in one letter, character, word, or term. So we must make some compromises:

し can be rendered as

  • additionally,
  • what's more (like above)
  • on top of that,
  • and
  • but that's not all,
  • this and also this

You'll have to consider the tone of a message before translating し, as that will largely impact which direction is chosen for contextual-transposition that is culturally aware.

Happy translating!

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