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I'll be taking a written test in a few weeks to become a part-time translator for an automotive client; they sent me some practice documents in the meantime.

I am having issues at the moment, since I just don't understand the context well enough for my intuition to kick in. It's an uphill battle but I must improve to the point where I can impress said client enough to get hired.

This is taken from a document the client sent, which features material similar to what I would be working with:

制御が値を下げることによって、Vehicle挙動を急変させないこと

I made an attempt at translating it:

"The control must not suddenly change vehicle behavior due to its lowering the value"

によって is one of my weak points when it comes to Japanese - I always get it wrong! Also, the が is stymieing me for some reason... I am not sure whether the "control" itself is lowering the value or not. (I think it is)

Can someone please explain how the が is functioning in relation to the "value," and also can someone explain the proper way to translate this によって if I have it wrong?

P.S. This is my first question on here - よろしくお願いします^^

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    This is ambiguous and non-intuitive. If your client sent this without any context, I think you can complain about the lack of context. If this is a part of a longer paragraph, please share the entire context. – naruto Dec 5 '18 at 3:52
  • Thanks for the comment. This phrase is part of a "safety requirements checklist" related to control systems, and is not part of any paragraph. I spoke with my friend who is a professional translator; apparently much of the original Japanese in said document is shoddy. – AspiringTranslator Dec 5 '18 at 13:47
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    I think your translation is accurate. I work in the translation field in Japan and often see this kind of sentence. Note that my opinion of your translation expressing the intent of the sentence is more based on knowledge of the content than breaking down the grammar. – By137 Dec 5 '18 at 15:41
  • Thanks for your comment By137, this gives me some relief. I can feel myself getting better as I work through the document! (I still hate によって though) – AspiringTranslator Dec 5 '18 at 22:48
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制御が値を下げることによって、Vehicle挙動を急変させないこと

As for the "が", that particle is often used when a phrase is part of a larger sentence (such as in this case where the term ことによって is used. (See meaning #6 in this article of mine)

I think in this case "制御” (control) is simply acting as the subject of 下げる. So it is doing the lowering.

The phrase ”...ことによって” often means that "As a result of..." or simply "by".

Finally, こと can refer to a warning, I have seen this before on things written on car parts. However, without knowing the context I cannot say how this factors in for sure.

The other tricky part about translating this is the is the させない verb, which can mean 'allow', but because it is in the negative I think it can be more smoothly translated as "prevent".

So a quick attempt at a translation would be:

The control system prevents sudden changes in vehicle behavior by lowering the value.

However, without the context of what the value is and other related information, I cannot have much confidence in this translation. If I was translating for a job this I might look for the phrase "挙動を急変” online (and other words) and confirm my understanding of those phrases.

I hope that helps!

UPDATE: One thing that my translation doesn't factor in directly is the ”こと" part. I see that the original poster translated that as "must" in a translation attempt. Depending on the context, that could be a reasonable way to render it. Either way, I don't think the function of が or によって changes, though.

  • Thanks for your detailed explanation, Locksleyu! (are comments like this generally permitted? It says below that they're just used to ask for clarification or point out problems. I'm still learning the ins and outs of the etiquette for this site) – AspiringTranslator Dec 5 '18 at 22:49
  • Sure, glad to be of help. Yes, comments are fine for this purpose. Once you have decided that my answer is the best one, feel free to mark it as such (though to be fair you might want to wait another day or so). Welcome to the site! – Locksleyu Dec 5 '18 at 23:25

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