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新しい道路標識には、外国人が車を運転して起こす事故を少なくするため、日本語だけではなくて英語も書いてあります。
On the new road signs, in order to reduce the number of incidents caused by foreigners driving cars, rather than just Japanese, English will also be written.

I had a little trouble parsing the part in bold. On first reading I saw "foreigners driving cars and !!!!" and then suddenly it stopped making sense.

In the end I decided that 外国人 must be the subject of 起こす rather than 運転しる. Then I treated 車を運転して as a kind of "by means of" clause in the same way that 歩いて seems to work. So this clause is "Incidents that foreigners cause by means of driving cars".

Is this the correct way to analyse this grammar? Is there an alternative way that might enlighten me further?

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外国人 is the subject of 運転する and 事故を起こす. Essentially, "Foreigners are driving and causing accidents". In context, I would translate it as "accidents caused by foreign drivers" (technically, "foreigners driving cars").

For the entire sentence, I'd translate it as

The new highway signs will be written in not just Japanese, but also English in order to minimize accidents caused by foreign drivers.

I've taken a number of liberties here. The biggest liberty is that I've translated 書いてあります as though it were a passive to make the English sound more natural, and I've treated 道路標識 as if it were the subject. To be more faithful to the Japanese grammar will just result in clunky English (or perhaps shows my weakness as a translator)

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  • I think you've ga bit haywire. 事故を少なくするため – Graham Healey Jul 3 '17 at 20:12
  • @GrahamHealey I just noticed I missed seeing する. Rather embarrassing. Somehow, I manage to parse it as 少なくない – A.Ellett Jul 3 '17 at 20:13
  • Having realised you'd made the correction, I've been trying to delete my comment. Looks as though I failed. Please ignore. Regards. – Graham Healey Jul 3 '17 at 20:18
  • @A.Ellett: For 書いてあります, however, I'd say are written rather than will be written, because that construction suggests the new signs with both Japanese and English are already made. However, as a translator myself, I think setting 道路標識 as the subject of the English sentence is the most natural way to do it. As an though exercise, another possibility would be: "Both Japanese and English are written on the new highway signs to reduce the number of accidents caused by foreign drivers." I still prefer your version, though! – Philippe Jul 4 '17 at 11:43

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