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Ran across a very, let's say "interesting" sentence in a translation I'm working on that I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around. Context is basically this: little sister is the most beautiful person in existence (otaku pandering-wise and lore-wise) and they're currently at a Christmas Eve party in their school uniforms.

「お兄様、何か気掛かりなことでも?」
 制服なのに艶やかにドレスアップしているような華をふりまく妹に、達也は「何でもないよ」と首を振った。

I'll preface this by saying I kind of get the gist of it--he's saying his sister looks good even in her school uniform, and there's some kind of flower imagery to go along with it. Sure, makes sense. What doesn't make sense to me is the structure of the sentence and all the other stuff going on.

華を振りまく is, as far as I can surmise, "strewing flowers." The kind of thing a flower girl at a wedding might do. The usage of 華 instead of 花 is odd, but whatever, I'll put it down to ~poetry~.

Evidently, however, the rest of the ~ような part of the sentence is /not/ applying to 華, but rather to 妹. This makes me think that 華を振りまく is an expression with a different meaning I'm not aware of.

But even if it /is/, I can't put together the rest of this sentence from a grammatical standpoint. If we take 制服なのに艶やかにドレスアップしているような...妹 on its own--well, how do you even translate that using English grammar? How can she only /appear/ to be dressed up charmingly/attractively/what have you?

My working TL for that part of the sentence is this:

...his flower-strewing little sister who, despite being in her school uniform, it was as though she was dressed up charmingly...

Obviously this is pretty incoherent. Does anyone have any tips as to how this sentence looks and sounds to Japanese eyes and ears? Thanks!

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「華」 vs. 「花」

「華{はな}をふりまく」 ≠ 「花{はな}をふりまく」

The sister is not strewing flowers. That is what the latter phrase means with 「花」.

Try looking up 「華」 in a monolingual dictionary if you are already reading Japanese novels (if this is from a novel).

All it means is that she is a natural beauty, simply gorgeous and perhaps flamboyant as well. She has an attractive aura. It has absolutely nothing to do with actual "flowers". The more common phrase we use to describe such a person is 「華のある人」.

If a girl has that, she does not need to be dressed up to look attractive. A wrinkled plain ol' school uniform would make her shine through.

This should be enough for you to fix your TL now.

  • Thank you for your answer. I was aware 華 could mean regular "beauty," (はなやかさ) but was confused over the meaning of 華を振りまく as a whole. I see it means literally "spread," so more like "emanate," like an aura. This also clears up what the ような clause is modifying. – Andrew Prowse Feb 2 '18 at 18:34

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