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The sentence in question: 取材を進めてみると、あまり結婚式が行われないはずの“平日”を最大限活用しようという、逆転の発想が見えてきました。

For full context: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/business_tokushu/2018_0621.html?utm_int=news_contents_tokushu_004

My attempt at translation: When we move forward with our news, the concept of a change to "let us make maximum use of ordinary days where it is to be expected that almost no marriage ceremony will happen" comes to mind.

I have a lot of problems understanding and translating this sentence. The biggest issue I had was finding a way to implement 最大限活用しよう in a meaningful way, especially when considering the context. In the sentence before, we've heard that the wedding industry is facing adverse circumstances due to the increase of marriages without any celebration, party etc.. So I guess this sentence still refers to the wedding industry, which must make the best of the situation and do something "productive" during those days of the week on which are very unlikely to have any kind of marriage take place at all. I must admit though that I chose this interpretation mostly due to the fact that I couldn't find any other way to get to a halfway meaningful sentence^^ Therefore, I guess it is at the very least partially wrong xD

The second biggest problem I faced was という. I learned on this forum that the pattern "A という B だ" basically can be interpreted as " A is B". I apologize in advance if I'm wrong (again) ^^ With this premise, I interpreted あまり結婚式が行われないはずの“平日”を最大限活用しようという as an attribute to 逆転の発想. I went for the "lets do" interpretation of the volitional form in 最大限活用しよう because that was the only way I could muster a meaningful translation...^^

Well and my third biggest problem stems from the second one. I had a hard time coming up with a comprehensible, syntactically functional translation of the full construct あまり結婚式が行われないはずの“平日”を最大限活用しようという、逆転の発想. First I tried going with a common relative clause starting with "which": "The concept of a change which (says that), "...". This made the sentence very obstructive though so I decided against it. Instead I used the preposition "to" because to me it seemed fit. I then had to use quotation marks though because my translation otherwise would have become even harder to understand. I though that if I really wanted to make this a smooth translation with the understanding of the sentence I had so far, I would have to make huge changes to the english equivalent. Since I still was very skeptical if my basic understanding of the full sentence was correct at all, I decided against it.

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breaking a long sentence like this into smaller chunks can help, but it can be confusing if you don't have a sense of where to break it up to look for meaning...

first, 取材を進めてみると、is a sensible place to start:

取材 literally means interview, report or coverage (as in news coverage), a gathering of information.

進めてみる means to continue or proceed, with みる implying "try" or "attempt" ..

in this case it's just a way of implying that the act of continuing was a process with (at the time) unknowable results, and lastly the と functions as "as" here. So the translation can just be "As the interview/report continued" or possibly "As we continued talking/As I continued talking (to him/her)"

if you then skip to the end of the sentence and look only at "逆転の発想が見えてきました。" you can separate out 逆転の発想, which literally means "a reverse idea" or possibly "a flipped way of thinking" and 見えてきました which means "became able to see" or more colloquially "came to light".

Now we just need to understand the critical mid-portion. What was the "opposite idea" that came to light? の and を particles mark points that it might be useful to isolate, to aid understanding, so looking at the the object and verb on either side of を we have: “平日”を最大限活用しよう which as you thought, means "let's make the most of the "weekday"

as you pointed out, という is used to equate one thing to another, so in this case it's being used to say that this idea of making the most of the weekdays is the "flipped idea" that came to light during the interview.

lastly あまり結婚式が行われないはず with の attached is a descriptor for the weekday, meaning something like "weddings would not likely happen" or "weddings probably wouldn't happen" so the whole sentence becomes something like:

As the interview continued, a reversed way of thinking, of trying to make the best use of the "weekdays" when weddings wouldn't likely happen, came to light.

  • also, sorry for not noticing earlier that you are more experienced here than I am... when I posted my answer I assumed a lower level of Japanese, so I'm sorry if it seems "偉そう” >_<! – ericfromabeno Jul 8 '18 at 12:04

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